Erica's Blog

The Try Something New Everyday experiment

Today I ran

Don’t get too impressed…it was only a little…probably more technically a wee bit.  But I ran…and nothing was chasing me or anything!

thReader tip: Click the blue highlighted items! : )  They are links that help tell the story! : )

Today I’ve done a ton of running…errands that is.  Came home and mowed the yard (no stings! Yah!) And then did household chores…I won’t bore you with a blow by blow.   I was on my own for dinner tonight so I just snacked on some hummus and tortilla chips.  Even those few chips made me feel drained.  By this point (7:30 ish) I looked at my Fitbit…1 1/2 lights…equivalent to 3k steps…very far from my 10k goal.

I figured I could skip a day…I’ve cranked out 13k steps for the last two days…surly I deserve a rest day.

That was my plan.  Skip a day.  Gonna snuggle in to watch some Monk and finish my tatted bookmark.  Maybe even indulge in some wine. :)

But I felt uneasy about a skip day.  Like, I was fine with it one moment and the next I felt it wasn’t the right answer.  And to boot…that little band on my wrist seems like a constant reminder that I didn’t get to my goal.

My question I ask myself is am I gonna regret tomorrow not working toward my goal today.  Honestly, some days life gets in the way and my goals/getting my steps in doesn’t seem to make the to-do list.  But when it’s within my control, I try to stay committed.

Tonight, I could control getting my steps in…tiredness or not.


Reluctantly, at 8 pm, I put my shoes on and headed out to walk the driveway/yard.  I’ve determined my driveway is just over 150 steps long, each way….so if I have 7k steps more to walk…that’ll be…(mental math calculation in progress)…quite a lot of laps.

My goal was not my goal.  Well, let me rephrase…I wasn’t gonna hold myself to the 10k steps.  I figured I could walk until dark (about 30 mins) and be happy with myself.

Or if I saw ONE bug and/or it tried to TAKE ME OUT, that was it…I was going IN!!!

Those were my conditions…

So I’m bee-bopping along, got my headphones on, listening to some lectures on YouTube until Mr. Moon appeared.  Funny when you’re outside, as the sun sets, your eyes don’t realize how dark it’s getting until you can’t see.  And on my country road, you really can’t see.  So I used the screen on my phone to light my way…UNTIL some bugs decided I was holding the sun and they must…go…toward…the…light.

ACK!!!  I retire my phone so as to not attract bugs and continue walking.

Thirty minutes pass and I check my fitbit.  I had reached the 4th light blinking once (just over 6k steps).  So…at this point you’d expect that I head back in to resume my Monk/tatting/wine night…

Welllll….I said I was cool with this but now that I’m so close to my goal…I just cannot give up.

So I keep on keeping on.

And then an idea struck.

I’ve been researching this couch to 5k program and been thinking about implementing it.  First day is something like walk 5 minutes, run 30 seconds.

That sounds doable…

That’s what my head was saying…”You can do it!”

…but my body was more like “Ummm….hello?!  It’s night time and there’s something called a bed…it’s great…we should go check it out!”

I decide I can do this…maybe…well we’ll see…no expectations of distance or time or form.  Good thing it was pitch black outside so I didn’t have to care about what I looked like!  I figured once I walk to the end of my driveway, I’ll run to the other end and then reevaluate.

I got to the end of the driveway and began to run…in my head I was like, I cannot believe I’m running!  But only got half way and had to stop to catch my breath.

I realized I was holding my breath as I ran!!!  Kinda counterproductive!

I walked a few more laps to re-oxygenate and decided to do it again.  This time, I only planned to run halfway.  And I did it!!!  I made sure to breath and it seemed easier than the first try.

Must be the ol’ oxygen thing…

Suddenly, that tired feeling escaped me.  And was replaced by sheer determination!

So I continued to walk a lap and then run half the driveway.  The more I did it, the easier it seemed to be.

Alright, after a walking lap I decided to go for broke…and run the whole driveway.

And I did it!! :)  I breathed and everything!! I did a few walk laps to cool down and wouldn’t ya know, my fitbit buzzes to say I’ve reached 10k steps.

Aww shucks…I felt like a kid being called in from playing outside.  I was just getting warmed up!!  So I added in another run the length of the driveway…just for fun…

Woah!  Wait!!  Who just said that?!  Did you hear that?!  Run…for…fun?!  There must be some crack in this country air tonight.

So I did it…and now it’s midnight and I’m wound up, blogging to you awesome peeps and can’t seem to get my eyes to close.

I know my one whole minute combined of running is absolutely nothing really…but I think I might be on a runner high!!! ( lol )

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Today I floor planned

I’m working on a project and I have to say…I’m sooo excited that I’m having a hard time keeping my feet on the ground.  Really…I’m floating…like my new address is 678 Cloud 9 Ave.

I’m a crafter…I knit, tat (make lace by hand…not ink bodies), crochet, cross stitch, card making, and quilling.  I have aspirations to do bobbin lace, basket weaving, quilting, paint, pottery, glass blowing and I’m sure a ton more crafts that I just don’t even know about.  As I collect more craft hobbies, I need more supplies and as such, need more space.

Years ago, I had this idea for a shed/building that would be dedicated to my crafts.  I would just love a space all my own in which I could escape to create.  It would have a comfy couch to be able to spend hours knitting or tatting.  A table for ample work space.  Shelves/cabinets so all my supplies could be beautifully organized and within reach.  A mini fridge cause a crafter has gotta stay hydrated (and have wine storage)!  And of course it would have ac/heat!! I haven’t completely decided about internet access or TV or a possible Tivo.   Anyhoo, I could invite friends/fellow crafters to come stitch a bit and gab or possibly hold a class to teach tatting.  And best of all…I’ve already decided a name (drumroll please….)… it’s gonna be called The Tatty Shack!!! :)

Presently, my house isn’t set up for crafting.  I think it’s just me and my OCD quirks but I have to have all my crafting supplies organized before I feel comfortable enough to be creative.  I tried to make due by installing some cabinets in the laundry room with a nice, long counter.  Unfortunately, I love crafts…a lot of them…and the cabinetry couldn’t handle the load.  My crafts then overflowed into the spare bedroom and well, right now guests get the honor of sleeping on an air mattresss in the living room.  You know, nothing but the best for my guests!  Air mattress sleeping is a delicate balance of sleeping but yet staying in the center because rolling too close to the edge and *thud* you kiss the floor.  The Oatmeal has a hilarious comic about this.

Also, I’m really getting into performing the aromatouch technique.  I would love to have a studio to invite clients.  Sometimes their house is just too noisy and they want their relaxing experience somewhere away from the demands of their life.  With 4 pups, the solice isn’t at my house…but with this building I could invite them there and truly offer them a wonderful experience.

So, back to my dream and the glorious Tatty Shack.  It’s time to make this dream real!!  Remeber that song from the 80s that went something like “get out of my dreams…get into my car”?  Well, I’m singing “get out of my dreams…get onto my yard!”

I’ve been shopping and I have a decision to make.  One place offers a 12′ x 28′ building.  They build it in their factory and deliver it to the house for installation.  I like this company…it’s a local business, high quality construction and…probably the best feature…they paint the building for free!  (Tatty shack will be red with white trim and a black shingled roof.)  Another place offers a 16′ x 28′ building.  I love the idea of a wider building and let’s face it…I don’t think that extra space will go to waste!  The cons though is I cannot see an example of the quality of the building, many of the extras that I want (windows,  lockable door, etc) cost extra, unlike the other company and…oh my gosh…I still have to paint it….or con invite friends over for a painting/pizza party.

One of my lovely flaws is I’m spacially challenged.  In my world, a hummer could totally fit in a motorcyle parking spot…you just need to fold in the mirrors!!  I’m totally a visual person too so I have to see the space to know what I’m working with.  Needlesstosay I’ve visited the building shop quite a lot….really a lot…I’ve gotten in good with the guys and they are thinking of naming their 12′ x 28′ model building The Erica.

I’ve thought of bringing cardboard cut outs of the furniture and items I want in the building to the building shop and play with the floor plan.  Thing is…I cannot in good conscience use that much cardboard…I’m so freakin green!!  But I do have graph paper and I feel better about only trashing 1.5 pieces of paper.  And, I could accomplish the same task in the comfort of my ac. (Those model buildings are not summer friendly!)


Bam! :)  I put together a floor plan.  Now I can play with the space to see what I could do with the space.

First,  I drew the building on the paper and (3 blocks x 7 blocks) then determined how many inches were in each little square (each block represents 4 feet and there’s 10 little blocks in a big block so 48 inches/10 inches comes to 4.8=one little block).  Next, I measured all the items I want to include, drew their space on another piece of graph paper and then cut them out.


Now I can determine how significant that extra space will be.  Honestly,  the 16′ x 28′ would be so nice but I could make do with the 12′ x 28′.  So, yep….no closer to a decision…

But this little floor plan adds even more to my excitement!!  It’s right there…on paper!! :)

Singing “get out of my dreams…get onto my yard!!” :)

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Today I got stung

Today I decided to mow.

We have been having some pretty rainy days and today I figured I could get out there between rain storms to cut the grass.

I suited up and got to work.

There I was bee-booping along, riding the mower, running through my housework to do list in my head and figuring how I can squeeze some tatting into my schedule…

when I felt this sharp pain in my left hand…

And here’s my mental dialogue:

“What the heck?!  I’m in an open area..I haven’t run into any brush or anything…What the heck?!”

I looked down and saw so strange bug sitting on my gloved hand right where the pain was

“OH my GOSH!!  OH my GOSH!!  What is THAT?!  Is it a bee?!  Is it a wasp?! I don’t see wings. OWWW!!!  The PAIN!!! Stay focused… Is it a BROWN RECLUSE SPIDER?!  I just heard on the news about an uptick in spider bites this year.  I don’t see any long legs…aren’t they lethal?!  OWWW!!! The PAIN!!!  Stay focused…try to remember as many details about the insect for identification later…Oh, I cannot look at it!  THE PAIN!!!  Oh lordie…I am home alone and I’m..GONNA..DIE!!!!  They’ll find me out in the yard and will have no clue.”

I stop the mower and yank off the glove in one movement.  Whatever the bugger was, it stayed on the glove as it landed on the ground.  I didn’t stick around to ask it questions or it’s pedigree.

I looked down at my hand…I see a small red hole in my pinkie finger.

“OWWW!!!  The PAIN!!!  THE PAIN!!!  I’m GONNA DIE!!!”

Now…let’s discuss the pain…let me try to explain…it’s a hot, pressure, stabbing pain.  It’s throbby and stabby.  It penetrates and grows with every breath.  It comes in waves…constant but in waves also…It spreads…up my finger, down my finger.  And I think, ok…that’s the worse and in the next moment it will feel better…but it just gets worse.  And moving my finger?!  Out of the question…Just causes all the pain, throbbing, stabbing to rise exponentially.

“I need to get in the house.  I could run to the house.  Oh wait…I’m on the mower…I could just ride to the house.  OWW!!! THE PAIN!!!”

I turn the mower around and point it towards the house.

“Oh no…I feel it swelling…it’s getting redder…I feel the venom going up the side of my hand…You call it venom, right?  I mean…I know it wasn’t a snake that bit me but is a bug’s poison called venom too?  Oh my gosh, why is this so freakin painful?!?!  I was minding my own business…I was almost done with the mowing!!  How did this happen?!”

“TREE!!!…don’t hit the tree…focus on driving….OWWW!!!  The PAIN!!!  Ok…what am I gonna do once I’m in the house?  I have benadryl…I hate benadryl…It knocks me out and there goes my productive day and tatting.  Oh crap!!  CAT!!  Don’t hit the cat!!!  ok…I have my oils but for the life of me cannot remember what I would use…Peppermint?!  Breathe?!  Serenity?!  By golly yes…I need some serenity…but not for this sting…Lavendar?!  Lavendar works for everything!  But I would have to research…Oh this pain is kicking my bootie!!!  I need relief now!!”

I manage to get the mower to the house and leave it outside the gate.  I ran into the house and by passed all the dogs.  Every step was a renewed stabbing pain.  I headed straight for the kitchen.  I dumped a cup of salt into a bowl and added some water then dunked my hand in it.

“Come on salt…draw that mess out.  Oh my gosh I have some insects bodily fluids IN ME!!!  This is gross…nature is gross…and NOW I’m gross!!!  Get out of me!!!”

I had envisioned once the sting met the salt I would feel some relief…not so much.  But I’m patient so I leave it in there.

“Maybe I need more salt.  I don’t know where this 3 lb box of salt came from but sure am glad it’s here.  Thank you Sam’s Club…lifetime supply of stuff, cheap.”

I dumped more salt in.  I lift my hand and pour the salt on the spot directly and then return my hand to the water.

“Mental note…add salt to the Sam’s Club list.”

“Do I benadryl?  Oh man…I don’t wanna take benadryl!  I need to research oils.  I’ve seen pictures of people having allergic reactions and then apply oils and in a short time return to normal…I need that kind of response…I need to be returned to normal…like NOW!”

I remove my hand from the salt water mixture, dump some fresh salt on to the wound and head to the computer.  I search insect bite essential oil on Yahoo! and find a link to  My favorite, trusted resource.   The first page shows a picture of a Brown Recluse Spider…Ok, now I can eliminate him from my list of suspects.  The bug didn’t look like that!  Of course it has a list of what things have bitten you and suggested oils for those bites.   I don’t know what bit me…it’s a bug!!  A general bug…an intrusive bug who is trying to ruin my day!!!  What oil do you use for that?!

I decide to follow the suggestion for bees, wasps…even though I had ruled them out.  The only oils from the suggested list I have are On Guard and Lavender.  See, lavender is good for anything!

I washed off the salt.

I took a picture…do you know how hard it is to take a flattering picture of your hand, with just one hand.

I applied the oils.  First, On Guard and then lavender.

After an hour here are the results:

It’s now been three hours since the incident.  My finger has returned to normal size.  There is still muscle pain when I bend my finger but I can tell it covers a smaller area.

Phew…I think I’m gonna live.


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Today I walked in a neighborhood

A month ago, I discovered there will be a Zombie Run in October in my hometown.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?!  Running a 5k all the while avoid getting nabbed by the undead?!  I signed up the instant I found the race.

Then the thought crossed my mind…I ran/walked my last fun race over a year ago…I’m not ready (i.e. I couldn’t survive) a fun race right now!   I’d just be lunch for those zombies!

Time to hit the pavement and train!

I  don’t live in a neighborhood.  I live out in the country…well, it’s kinda country.  Rural, maybe?  I mean I’m 5 minutes away from a Wal-Mart so I’m not that far from civilization…but walking down my twisting, turning, winding country road would probably lead to me becoming a pancake.

I like pancakes….don’t wanna be one.

But where am I to get my walk on?  I reviewed my options:

  • I could go to the local park.  But considering this bright idea of beginning my training TODAY arrived to me at 7:00 pm, I bet by the time I drove the 20 minutes to get there, they’d boot me out.   They’d be like “Ma’am, parks close at sundown” and I’d be like “But you don’t understand!!!  The zombie will get me!!!”
  • I could just walk around my yard.  I’m blessed to live on 6 acres and that should be more than enough space.  But then again, I haven’t mowed yet so who knows what could be lurking in the grass…snakes…bugs…frogs…vampires…
  • If only I lived in a neighborhood…oh wait! **light bulb** I live AROUND neighborhoods…I could just drive there, use their roads, and then come home!!!

Normally to workout I wear my 1994 REM Monster tour t-shirt and faded but oh so comfy yoga pants.  Unfortunately, considering it’s now 7:05 pm and I’m fastly losing daylight, I just go as I am.  Jeans, my housework t-shirt and flip flops…oh wait, no cannot do the flip flops…I then grab a pair of sneakers…my Sketcher Shape Ups.


Are you familiar with Sketcher Shape Up shoes?  They were all the rage a few years ago.  The advertisements led you to believe if you wore these funny looking tennis shoes with a rounded sole you’d double your workout.  These shoes were said to tone your bootie, strengthen your legs, work your core, balance your checkbook, and may…just may…land you the guy of your dreams.

Yep, I bought a pair.

In all honesty, they do work more parts of your body than a regular tennis shoe.  When I got them, it took me a week or so to work through the new soreness I had from just walking in them on a normal day.  With constant use, I noticed my legs toned up, especially around my knees and, yah the shoes did some nice things for my tushy.  But the weather changed and I reverted back to my flip flops and then fell out of habit of wearing them.  Fast forward to last year, when I decided to do my first color run.  I opted to wear the Shape Ups, thinking I’m out to burn calories and work my muscles during this run…I’ll wear the Shape Ups (that I haven’t worn in several months) to bump up my work out.

And…let me tell you how that went…ouch ouch ouch!

They certainly added more intensity to the 3+ mile walk/run through the uneven terrain of a local farm.  But really WAY too much…my legs screamed for days!  After the race, the shoes promptly were returned to their dark corner of my closet and I purchased some other tennis shoes.  Unfortunately, the new shoes ended up getting ruined during a color run where the color didn’t wash out…at all.  So today, when I’m deciding what shoes to wear, my choices are the Shape Ups or tie dyed colorful stained shoes.

Well, you know…I am out to burn calories and work my muscles during this walk so maybe the Shape Ups (that I haven’t worn in a year) will bump up my work out…

I drove 3 minutes down the road to a beautiful neighborhood.  I have total house lust over the homes in my area.  They are these beautiful, two story, monster houses…12 million bedrooms, 11.5 million baths (.5 cause every house always has to have a half bath!), kitchens the size of Rhode Island, pools out the wazzoo, mother-in-law suites that could house one whole side of the family tree…They are stunning!!!  I’m normally not one to snap photos of other people’s homes but I had to show you this one, exceptionally beautiful home:

See…don’t you have house lust too?!

The weather was gorgeous!  It had been a hot summer day but the evening coolness was settling in.  The skies were clear and the sun was setting.  And walking on the pavement was a dream…I even had a few spectators looking on as I exercised. They cheered me on and I got 2 hooves up.

That was the first 5 minutes…

Then, I began to regret my shoe choice…owie, owie, owie.  But I’m determined to get my fitbit to read 10k steps so I press on.

Then I regretted my pants choice…jeans?!  Really?  What was I thinking?!  Start mixing sweat with the summertime humidity and suddenly my loose fitting bootcuts are shrinking right on my body, converting to skinny jeans…heavy, wet skinny jeans.  Now, I’m checking my fitbit every 2 minutes just praying to see the 5 little lights!

About that time, BMW convertible drives past me and waves.  I wave back but inside I’m mortified because I just know I look a hot mess.

I keep walking and keep tapping my fitbit obsessively just dying to see the 5 little lights.

Within about twenty minutes, my wristband vibrates and starts partying, indicating I have reached 10k steps.

Oh thank goodness!!!

I’m dripping with sweat, my clothes sticking to me and I still have to walk back to my vehicle…but I feel victorious!

Walking in the neighborhood worked out great!  I could see myself doing this everyday…sans the jeans and Shape Ups of course! : )




Today I met a miniature Zebu

Who knew there was such a thing?!

I had to go to the local tractor supply store this morning.  I’m in search of some super dooper vinegar.  Supposedly there is 20% (???) vinegar where as the grocery store vinegar is 3-5%.

Why do I need such powerful vinegar you ask?  Well, I’m having a time with ivy…specifically poison ivy…and poison oak.  The poisonous junk has crawled on my precious 250 year old oak tree, on the garage, on my precious pecan trees, along a fence, outside my back door.  And that’s just the stuff around the house!!  Needlesstosay…I need some powerful ammo to kill this beast!!

At the store, they invite local farms to bring their animals on Saturday mornings for free love (pettings…not 60s free love) from the customers.  I popped into the store, found out they know nothing about this uber vinegar and decided to console myself petting some livestock.

One lady had guinea quail.  Not necessarily the most petable animal but they were cute.  Another couple brought their 3 month old goat and 2 zebu.   The goat was solid white and stood knee high.  His horns were just budding and maybe 3/4″ long.  I think the goat had a crush on me…he butted me once in the leg but then stood on his hind legs and gave me a hug…twice.  He also kept walking around me to keep me tied in his leash.  Yah, I wanted to bring him home :)

What are zebus you ask?  You are full of some great questions today! :)   Zebus are a breed of cows but the one I met today is a miniature zebu!   The owners said they grow to about 3 feet tall and maybe 300 pounds.  They were so sweet and would have stood all day for some scratches behind their hump.  Yah, I would have taken him home too!! :)



Today I visited my hometown Farmer’s Market

A few months back…when old man winter still had us chiled to the bone…I stopped in at a local permanent Farmer’s Market.  I think I just craved local veggies but really, I was a few months too soon.  Today though I was able to stop in at my hometown Farmer’s Market!!

Our city hosts local farmers at our city park from April through November. About 7 vendors had their fresh veggies, fruits, jams and eggs on display.  Oh they had tons of tomatoes!!  Various sizes and varieties including heirloom!!  One lady even had sunflowers!!  I sooo wanted some to brighten up my dining room but I passed.  $5 for flowers or $5 for watermelon?!  Yah…the watermelon’s gonna win out every time!!  Even my cactus lady had her table filled with succulents and unusual plants.  I stayed strong and didn’t bring home any new adoptees!!


I shopped each vendor and tried to spread my purchases out among them. I couldn’t believe how reasonable the prices were.  I purchased a watermelon, 2 cantalopes, 2 green peppers and 2 eggplants…all for $13!!


The picture is of the McDaniels fresh offerings.  I could have just scooped up all their beautiful veggies!!  The sales lady was extremely knowledgeable about all the produce and even helped me pick out a fresh cantalope.  She said you smell the stem hole and pick a sweet smelling one.  I felt weird but I sniffed every cantalope stem hole until I found 2 perfect ones.

The haul:


This is definitely gonna be my Wednesday thing!!

Support local :)  Buy local :)

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Oscar’s Story

Hello! : )

I’ve been absent for a while.  I’ve had good reason…I promise.

Blog warning:  This is a long post.  I’m sorry…there wasn’t any other way to write it.  You may want to make sure you have your favorite beverage, maybe a snack, on hand now before you get into it.

My oldest dog, Oscar, has needed a lot of extra attention.

Oscar is my 10 year old Lhasa Apso.  I’ve had family dogs that I grew up with but Oscar is my first pup who’s solely mine.  I adopted Oscar when he was 2 months old so we’ve been together for quite some time. That cute little ball of fur snagged my heart and hasn’t let go since.  He’s always been big for his breed, right now he’s 32 lbs, so I affectionately call him “lots a Lhasa”.

I have hundreds of cute Oscar stories I could recount but I will just share one.  When I first picked up Oscar, his mom’s mom told me they worked on house training a little bit but he hadn’t really figured it out.  So that evening I lined my house with newspaper…a triple layer of newspaper…and underneath the newspaper were puppy pads…and I had them everywhere!  I was prepared!  I took him out and then we settled in to play and watch some TV.  At first he questioned the paper, like he walked on it gingerly.  Then next, he thought it was a toy…anything is a toy to a puppy.   But after an hour of play and cuddles he wiggled out of my lap, sashayed to the front door, sat his little tushy down and looked back at me giving me the signal.  Man, this puppy mommy thing is a synch!! He never made a mess in the house…not once.

Oscar has always been my medical pup.  During his early puppy appointments, they noted that he walks oddly with his back legs.  He had a slight sway to his back end, shuffled his back feet a bit and sometimes had a hard time jumping.  They attributed it to his lazy knee caps (luxating patellas) where his knee caps floated in and out of place.  No biggie…just something to be aware of as he aged.

By the time he was 2 years old, the vet thought it may be something more and referred us to NC State Vet Hospital in Raleigh, NC (4 hours away).  There they discovered a subarachnoid cyst on his spine at T7-8.  This cyst puts pressure on his spinal cord and limits the neurological signals his back end receives.  They performed surgery on his spine and we had 2 months of home recovery.  Oscar didn’t do well with recovery.  He came to the point he loathed his crate.  It was hard to keep contained and quiet a 3 year old bundle of energy.  The surgery worked miraculously though and I really thought we had solved his problem!  Post recovery he could run and jump like any normal young pup.

Unfortunately, within 9 months his walking and activity had begun to decline again.  I took him back to NC State for evaluation and the scans showed the cyst had returned…larger.  Of course, surgery was the only option but they couldn’t guarantee any better of an outcome.  As much as I hate to say this, I opted not to put him through another surgery and recovery.  He could get around just fine.  He just wasn’t as stable as other pups his age.  And rather than jumping on a couch, he had to be lifted.  All manageable actions to keep him from further hurting himself.  And other than his slight wobbles, he acted like a normal pup.  The vets agreed with my choice but did explain that as Oscar aged, his body would fail him.  They couldn’t exactly project what we would encounter but they estimated a life expectancy to be 5-8 years.

Well, he’s gonna be 11 this year so boo-yah!! :)

Over the years we have encountered some normal Lhasa issues: reoccurring eye infections, ear infections, allergies, food allergies, etc.  In my medicine cabinet, Oscar has more meds than I do.  We are frequent customers of the family vet, emergency vet and ophthalmologist.  Also, his mobility has slowly declined.  Like, his back legs no longer cooperated to climb up steps so he stands with his front paws on the bottom steps and waits for assistance with his back legs.  Our house no longer has carpeting because sometimes he cannot predict when he has to use the restroom and he cannot stand a long time in one spot so he trails as he goes.

In August of last year, Oscar could not go to the bathroom…specifically #1.  I realized this on a Saturday afternoon so off to the ER Vet we go.  There, they discovered he had bladder stones and surgery was his only option.  When the vet performed the surgery, she said she had never seen anything like his case before.  His bladder had so many stones it looked like he was full of sand.  Needless to say, they cleaned them out and sent them off for evaluation.  I have now learned bladder stones develop if your urine is too acidic or not acidic enough.  Post surgery I knew we would have to change his dog food but it just depended on the results from the lab to say which way his ph needed to go.  Now, I already had him on a no grain, high quality, high priced dog food so I was really perplexed this even occurred but I have now learned, no matter what I do, it just depends on how Oscar’s body reacts.

A day after his surgery, the ER vets called to ask me about his walking.  I re-explained Oscar’s condition.  Whoever does anything to Oscar gets his story…vets, specialists, groomers, etc.  This way they know to handle Oscar in his special way.  He requires a different lifting and carrying position.  He also has developed a “tickle” reaction when you touch his body anywhere past his surgical spot, which is still quite visible.  Well, the ER vet reported he wasn’t walking…at all.  They had to put him on his back to perform the bladder surgery which probably aggravated the cyst.  Also, because of his poor communication to his back legs, the anesthesia took longer to work out of his system.  After a few days of rest and anti-inflammatory meds he was able to walk but his walking never fully recovered from that incident.

A few weeks later I received the results about the composition of the stones.  They were made up of both materials (too acidic and too alkaline).  The vet had to call the Hill Science Diet nutrition specialist just to see what to prescribe.  They had to do some research and it was determined he could only have one type of dog food: d/d Egg and Rice.  I offered to work with a dog nutritionist to make his food myself but they said it would be too difficult for me to administer all the nutrients and supplements he would need.  And the vet expressed he is to not eat anything other than this food.  No treats.  No meat.  No nothing.

Since his surgery in August he has been on Rimadyl and Tramadol off and on.  I put him on them…he seems to get better…I slowly take him off of them…after a while he declines.  After a few months of this, the vet and I decided to keep him on the Rimadyl and use Tramadol sparingly.  Both these medicines cause damage to the liver and we want to only use them when we need to but we also want to manage Oscar’s pain and give him the most opportunity for mobility.

A month ago, Oscar developed eye infections.  It started in his right eye but then the left eye also developed an infection.  I took him to our family vet and we got some medicine to tackle them.  Within 2 days, an ulcer developed and the infection went into his cornea on his left eye.  That required a specialists attention so after that visit, Oscar had 6 different eye medicines to administer at varying times and frequency during the day.  Normally when an ulcer develops, steroids are used to clear it up.  Unfortunately, since Oscar is on Rimadyl he cannot use steroids so we had to use a work around.  The good news: after about a week of this treatment his eyes showed clearing and the ulcer started to recede.  Actually, this is exceptional news because if his eyes did not respond to the meds, they were going to have to remove it to avoid eye rupture.  *Phew*  Huge bullet dodged.  The not so great news: Due to the chronic infections, Oscar’s right eye only has a little eye sight due to hyperpigmentation and his left eye’s sight is distorted from the ulcer.  But we are still administering drops to try to reverse these issues.

I thought we had gotten a handle on all of his issues but last Monday (6-30) I noticed Oscar was having difficulty moving around.  He would have good moments where he could manage on his own but then he would have rough times.  In his rough times, he could not rise from a laying down position.  He would walk a few steps, his back end would give out and his back legs would lay straight out behind him.  He would be asleep and his back legs would shake and convulse, waking him.  He would get frustrated and whine when his body wouldn’t move like he wanted.  He also became agitated, snapping at me whenever I would help.  He got to the point he would not allow me to pick him up, which is required to get him to doc appts or worse, just simply to go outside to go to the potty. I took him to his family vet and she said there was no more medical options for him.  We had ruled out surgery, he was on the strongest pain and anti-inflammatory medicine.  We could explore acupuncture or look into getting him a cart but that’s about all we could do.

I came home from that Vet visit kinda devastated…ok…really devastated.  I had to do everything that I could for him so I evaluated all the resources I had available to me.  I had my essential oils and I heard you can use them on dogs.  I wrote a post asking for help on The Dog Oiler Facebook page and immediately got some recommendations from other Facebook users.  Many of the users recommended frankincense which seems to be an overall great oil for just about anything.  For Oscar, it could reduce the size of the cyst, easing his pain and allowing him more communication with his back legs.  I also consulted Skye, the authority on using eo’s with dogs, and she recommended layering peppermint with the frankincense for additional pain management.

So I added in the eo’s to the rounds of pain medicine and eye drops (7-2).  I sometimes used lavender on his back feet at night to ease his sleep.

All the holiday weekend we continued to have good moments and bad moments.  I really thought I was facing that impossible decision for Oscar.  But I couldn’t find peace with that decision.  I want to be very fair to Oscar.  He has been through more than one dog should have to go through.  And I wouldn’t ask him to live in one more minute of pain just to be selfish to keep him.  But at the same time I will not give up on him one minute too soon and will do everything in my power for him to extend his life and/or improve his quality of life.   He had good moments and despite his bad moments, he still was so loving and you could tell he was trying his best.  Even when he would bite me, I knew instantly he didn’t mean to…it was just an involuntary reaction to the pain.  But how can one make such a decision?  Between life and ….?!  This isn’t supposed to be in our power.  And how do you determine the time?  How can you?!  In his good moments, I was so hopeful and felt silly for even thinking of giving up on him…but in his bad moments, I thought I was going to have put my heartbreak aside and…I’m sorry…I just cannot even type it… Needless to say I think this has been the most stressful week of my life and my tears have just been uncontrollable.

Monday and Tuesday (7th and 8th) seemed to be the worse days.  Monday morning it took me 45 minutes to get him off the bed.  Each time I would attempt to scoop him up, he growled and snapped.  Finally, I had to lay a towel over his head so when he snapped, he wouldn’t get me.  He wouldn’t eat.  I checked on him at lunch time and found him in a mess….a #2 mess.  Monday night, he ate alittle but refused to let me pick him up to be put on the bed like we normally do.  He had also started panting a few days before.  He would just be laying down and would pant.  Also, I noticed when he stood his poor little back had a deep U shape to it like an older horse.  We ended up sleeping on the couch that night (well, I slept on the couch and Oscar laid on his temperpedic mat right beside me on the floor).  Oddly enough, he seemed to be walking around better and more stable on his feet.  Tuesday morning was easy…when I checked on him at lunch time he acted aggressive.  He protected his food bowl (uneaten) and he wouldn’t take his eye drops.  He growled when I approached him.  When I returned to work, I called our family vet to report what he had been experiencing over the last 6 days and see if anymore could be done.  I hated to suggest it but I was thinking maybe a light sedative.  He has to get his eye drops in…they are too important to miss.  The vet and I discussed increasing one of his medicines a little bit more as he wasn’t at the upper threshold of the medicine.  I hated to hear that.  What kind of internal damage are we doing?  We also discussed that impossible decision…Tuesday night seemed to be good.  Again, we slept on the couch to avoid handling him.  It seemed being picked him up caused him the most pain.  He still had the panting but tonight was the first night he stood to eat his food.

Wednesday morning came and he seemed to be doing well.  I had a grooming appointment tentatively set for him.  I thought if he had a hair cut, maybe I could see if the panting is pain related or heat related.  I keep the ac set on like 65 so I thought he should be cool but who knows how Oscar’s body reacts.  I approached him leerily.  I didn’t want to hurt him but to get him to the groomer I had to lift him.  I showed him his leash to indicate we were going for a ride versus me doing something awful to him.  He conceded to let me pick him up.  I could tell he hurt because his body stiffened up but he worked with me and off to the groomers we went.  The grooming seemed to do the trick.  He hasn’t panted since that day.  In fact, the first night he seemed cold and I wrapped him in a blanket….that he stayed in for all of 2 minutes.  I tried to get him to go to bed…sleeping on the couch was taking a toll on me…I frequently checked on him through the night so I was only sleeping for 2-3 hour stretched and woke up sore because my couch isn’t the comfy sleep on couch.  I will remember this the next time I’m furniture shopping…Anyhoo, Oscar refused the bed again so back to the couch.

Thursday….wow….just wow.  Oscar is a new little man!  He’s walking great.  I haven’t seen him loose his footing much less need rescuing from me.  He’s standing great and he’s walking longer distances!  And he’s eating normally.  He still refused to sleep on the bed so we unfortunately slept on the couch and even though I’m exhausted, it’s a small price to pay for this rebound.

This morning I woke up and started to prepare for work.  Oscar walked into the bedroom and asked to be lifted onto the bed.  He even HOPPED as I reached down for him.  Yah!  but oh Oscar…what timing you have…I ended up calling in because I couldn’t pass up being able to sleep in my real bed.  Oh that was the most heavenly 4 hours sleep!  He continued to have a great day.  He maintained his good walking and getting up from a laying position.  I also noticed he was holding his back in a straight line, instead of that U shape!  He even has renewed energy!  We also had some thunderstorms rolls through and he asked to be held.  He’s never been scared of them before so not sure why today is different but I held my boy and consoled him.  Warmed my heart so much!!

So up to this point he’s been on Rimadyl, Tramadol, frankincense and peppermint.  I want to attribute his improvement to the oils.  We’ve used the medicine combo before but never have gotten these results.  So today I am contemplating slowly reducing his pain meds to see if the oils can actually sustain him.  Again, the medicines are detrimental to his liver where as the oils may actually improve and restore his health.  I’m also awaiting a shipment of Zendocrine which is a liver supporting oil blend to help repair the damage he already has.

I still am just in awe of how far we have come!  That’s my Oscar!  The Ultimate Rebounder!!! : )

I will continue to update as we ease off the medicine and report how well the oils are working for him.


(The black little pup is Poppie…my teacup poodle…she’s little…she’s fast and a professional photo bomber! )


Today I fixed a Kindle


What a pitiful, sad Kindle face…

The poor Kindle needed to be fed.  So I hooked it up to the charger and went about my business.

A few hours later, I returned and still found the sad Kindle face.

Uh-oh…is it broke?  has it died? does Amazon have a sale on Kindles right now? is that too soon to ask?!

Well, I guess before I start planning the expenditure I should see if anything can be done.   I don’t think of myself as a techie but I know my way around Yahoo and well, I did just finish all the episodes of IT Crowd.

Within my first search I found a solution.  The instructions were to connect the confused Kindle to the charger, hold the power button down for 45 seconds and allow to reboot (several minutes).

Really?!  That’s all?  I’ve got this in the bag!!

I followed the instructions.  I held the button for 45 seconds…I didn’t time it, I just counted it.  At 45 seconds, the screen didn’t change so I held it for another 30 seconds.  At that point, the screen still didn’t change so I just released the switch.  Obviously this wasn’t the solution and I needed to go back to the…oh wait!!  It just changed! It changed when I released it!  Why isn’t this critical piece of info in the instructions?!

At any rate, I let it be, per the incomplete instructions.  Within a few minutes the Kindle had been resuscitated and was happily charging.


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Today I read a movie

That is I watched a movie with subtitles.

I’ve steered clear of subtitles.   Not that there’s anything wrong with them…please, let me explain…it’s just I find them distracting.  And let me explain further…when I sit to watch a movie, I’m usually doing something else also…Facebooking, shopping, knitting, cooking, etc…I’m more of a movie listener…so, a distracted movie watcher combined with a distracted movie equals a distracting 2 hours.

Today, I was tatting and “watching” a Fred Astaire movie, Daddy Long Legs.  Afterwards, Netflix said “Because you watched this, I suggest you watch this next” and recommended Populaire.  I read the description: 2012 movie about a 1950s secretary…made me think of Down with Love and View from the Top.  Alright Mr. Netflix…because you know me so well, I’ll take your recommendation.

And then it began…of course I wasn’t watching the screen but I heard French…and didn’t understand a lick of it.  I figured, oh it’s just the beginning…soon the English will begin.  But the English never began.  Then I looked up…

Oh….my….word!!  Yellow subtitles…

Oh man!!!



I could have just turned it off but I was already at the point of no return: 3 minutes into the movie.  I had already discovered that the main character secretly taught herself how to type on a typewritter, was going for a job interview and she hoped to get the job to avoid marrying a guy that her Dad insisted on.  Heavens NO, I couldn’t abandon her now!!  I had to see how this all would end!

But how in the world could I get anything done?!  I’m gonna really have to watch…and READ this movie!!

Well, I don’t give up that easily…I tried to continue to tat.  Tat a double stitch, then look up, read the subtitles, then tat another double stitch.  Grrr….I had to keep rewinding it to catch what I missed.  Ok, maybe I’m overly ambitious (who? me?!)…so I tried to just tat a half double stitch,  look up, read, etc…and still I missed stuff!!

***Sigh*** I’m going to have to surrender to just read this movie…

And that’s what I did…

So, I sat my tatting aside…

and picked up knitting…because I don’t have to look to do that :)

Happy 4th, by the way!!! :)

Update: I loved this movie…so worth the read!! : )


Today I solved my leggy cacti problem

I’m sure you all have the same problem…a leggy cactus.

One of my hobbies is growing cacti…non prickly cactis (succulents) that is.

At first, I just collected them.  It all started with “mini” jade plant that I came across in 2009 at my local hardware store.  The jade plant was cute and I figured it had the best chance of surviving in my house.  Well, obviously the jade plant didn’t care about my black thumb…it flurished.  Within 6 months it had quadrupled in size and now is quite the monster.

So, each trip to the hardware store led to a new cactus adoptee coming home.  Soon, my collection had grown to need more window space…so I bought a 3 shelf bakers rack on craiglist to maximize the window space.

Well, because of the limited sunshine, some of the cacti had become leggy…meaning they grow long rather than compactly.  At first, I thought some of them were just meant to grown from the top shelf down to the bottom of the floor.  Nah nah…come to find out that was just ignorance.  Because many of the cactus plants were out of control, I dreaded watering them.

Today I knew I needed to water them and the dread began but rather than succome I decided to solve the problem…for mine and the plants sake.
I did alittle research…come to find out what I have to do to these poor plants is quite brutal.  Like Henry the 8th brutal.  Off with their heads!!  Yah, no joke.


First step, behead the plant.  Oh this is gonna hurt…someone prepare the guillotine…

Next, strip of the leaves from the bottom up until the leaves are the proper spacing.


Next, set both the leaves and the head aside for a while…we want the ends to scab over before we can replant.  I opted to utilize a chinese takeout container top.


If we (notice how you’ve been enlisted into this project now) were to immediately place them in soil without scabbing, they would absorb too much water and not grow.

Oh…and just a note…all those leaves will grow into new cacti so…uh…if anyone finds their home has room for a cactus, I will soon be offering adoptions.

So there you have it…we are in wait until their bleeding has clotted.  I feel like I need to offer them some first aid…

I continued this medievil torture for most of my plants.  Sadly, I have so many in this condition, this will take some time.  And more chinese takeout container tops…I’m calling in my Chicken Chow Mein order now…

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