Welcome to Apartment Life

I made it until 28 before having to live in an apartment. In Asheville I had a townhouse which was similar, but we have no one above/below us, our neighbor to one side was deaf, I didn’t have a dog, and we had one parking spot right in front of the door - which was usually mine since I got home later. I was also proud of avoiding apartments. Now, I find myself living in one. And honestly I’m kind of excited and it’s not so bad. Yes I have to watch the noise level, but I’m not a crazy person and I’m happy to have people nearby. I will no longer get scared when I hear weird noises in the dark. If something breaks, I can just call maintenance to come and fix it. The walls here are pretty thick - plus I’m on the end and next to a janitor closest, so I don’t exactly share walls with anyone. When I’m inside, I truly feel like I’m in my own bubble.

The biggest hurdle or learning experience will be with Goomba. He’s very protective which means he likes to bark when he thinks something is happening too close to us. He’s also used to having a tie up outside so whenever he wants I let him out. In just a week he’s already gotten tired at barking at EVERY SINGLE dog or person that walks outside. I’m on the 3rd floor and have an awesome balcony so I open the door and he just sits outside watching the world go by. I hope that will continue to improve and soon it won’t matter what size dog walks by, he will remain quiet. He’s always barked at weird noises that he doesn’t know where they come from, so that will also be a challenge. But we only hear the door to the garage a couple times so I think after he gets used to it he will stop.

I feel guilty as a pet owner, but I never really had to walk Goomba. I took him to work with me where he’d run around on a farm off leash, and hook him up to play in the large yard, so I never really thought a walk was needed. Clearly that will change. It seems like there are some other dog owners who have a similar issue with dog aggression, so as long as we can walk past each other and not get too close Goomba should be fine. I do have to walk up and down 3 flights of stairs every time I take him out thought. It’s time for me to suck it up and just deal with it! It’s worth it for my view and to open the door - that’s something I wouldn’t want to do on ground level - and Goomba’s barking would be worse.

They do have one dog run/park here, and are making another one in my building. Today Rebecca and I went on a walk around the complex and no one was there, so we went in and ran around for a few minutes. I’m not sure how that works in more of a run then a huge dog park at a real park. I hope to go on walks and notice if no one is in there let him in again. Then if someone else comes just ask to wait and let me leave first. The good thing about the new one is that I can see if anyone’s in it from just one step out of my apartment. So I can quickly see if we can go or wait. Just moving here I have no idea how many people actually use it, or if people like to use it at the same time as other dogs. All things I will learn in time. I think he just loves sitting on the porch in the sun. 

I have a lot of things to learn, and things that will just take time to adjust to, but so far I love my apartment and Denver. Tomorrow is my first day of work, and hopefully my stuff will arrive next weekend. I miss my bed and tv!

Kendra + Bob

Kendra emailed me months ago with a picture similar to this saying “how hard would this be to make?” I told her that it’s be fairly easy, the hardest part is just learning what new stitch that is and figuring out how to close a project in the hoop (I usually frame them). I never heard back.

This was months before the wedding, and I was feeling sad about not being a part of it or helping with any planning. So I took it upon myself to try and make this and surprise her with it. While it’s a small project, there actually were a lot of new aspects to it which made it different. 

First, I have to hit the craft store! I needed all new supplies. A hoop (since I’d be giving this one to her), fabric (I wanted to use something thinner since it would be more noticeable), thread (I needed thicker thread since it was all “back-stitching”), and a special blue marker. The hardest part was actually making the heart come out even. We all know how hard is it to draw a heart that isn’t lop-sided, but while stitching I can’t easy redo it. They make a marker for this exact reason which disappears when you rub it with cold water.

First things first, let’s practice. Practicing using the marker and erasing it, practice drawing the heart and letters, practice this new stitch I learned, practice stitching ON the line that I drew.

Not bad. Okay, next, draw the real thing. I ended up finding a picture of a heart on my ipad and traced it on to the fabric. Which was surprisingly also difficult because while tracing the ipad thought I was trying to make the picture bigger/smaller. But I pushed through and tried to put it in the hoop as centered as possible.

I had some trouble at the bottom, but hoped I could fix it later. I did all the stitching during a movie. Perfect Saturday night, watching 10 Things I Hate About You while stitching something for my best friend and her wedding.

Yay! Except for that blue crap. Between a washcloth and a q-tip I washed the blue away.

Beautiful! Now let’s look at the finished project vs my practice cloth.

The next day I took a look and the blue came back! I was horrified. I washed it away again and luckily it never came back. Hope it stays gone this time.

All that’s left now is to frame it. I’ve got weeks, months even, and don’t know how to do it, so what do I do? Leave it on the kitchen table…for weeks….months even. When faced with a problem where I don’t know what to do, my favorite method is to ignore it and it will go away and fix itself. Sadly, no magic fairy came to finish this. A week before the wedding I decided I should suck it up and just DO something. I googled a ton and found multiple options, but didn’t really like any. I didn’t want to do anything permanent because I was sure I’d mess it up and then there’s no fixing it. So I found one that looked pretty easy AND you can cut the string to take it out. It’s common for work to get dirty, or become loose and need tightening again. So this way should Kendra need to do either of those things OR reframe it a different way, it’s super easy for her to do so. She’s not stuck with it the way it is.

First I cut the extra fabric to leave only about a 2 in circle. That’s a lie, first I washed and ironed it, THEN I started the framing process.

Check. Next, I bought felt so I could stuff the inside. This provides a padded look to the finished work, plus it makes it more solid. With such thing fabric and dark colors, you can see through the work a little and see the extra thread where I started/finished it. So I cut the felt in circles to fit nicely inside.

Great! Lastly, I threaded string around the outside circle and pulled it tight to make it closed.

Woohoo! That worked out great!

Since Kendra asked about it originally, I thought maybe she wanted it as decoration. But it was so close to the wedding I was too scared to mail it in case it didn’t arrive in time before she left. We met at Bob’s parent’s house (the reception area) before the ceremony so I asked where the card/gift table was and I unwrapped this and set it up resting on the basket (I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of that). Kendra loved it and said she was going to hang it up in their apartment. It made me happy. :)

Dog Frenemies Follow-Up

I was on the verge of tears all day yesterday, picking Goomba up and bringing him home just made it worse. I arrived at the vet RIGHT when he was waking up and he was stumbling like a drunk - which just made him cuter. The doctor ended up giving him some stitches and staples after all.

I’m a pro at the cone of shame by now, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying or awkward. We got home and Goomba slept immediately for a few hours, which was awesome.

Then he woke up and was antsy. It’s so hard because I don’t know what to do. He just cries and I think maybe he wants to get up so I try to help but he doesn’t move. If he DOES get up, then he just stands there. I try and get him to lay down but he just looks at me. I’m terrified about that big hole the vet left open. It seems a little big/deep to me, but apparently he didn’t need closure like the others. Every time Goomba moves it starts bleeding. I follow him with a paper towel dabbing it and I’ll just buy him a new bed after this is over.

There is some good news. He’s walking on it more then expected when we go to the bathroom, and almost tries to sprint back when he’s finished. And this morning his tag was wagging!! Last night was rough. Goomba was in pain and while not wanting to move, he didn’t want to go to sleep either. I was scared to go to sleep because when I close my eyes it all happens over again. Around 5 he got up and came over to the bed but I had to deny him. You can hear when his cone hits walls and objects and it just makes you cringe. Adam woke up for a call at 6 and Goomba was wide awake. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep the next hour so I might as well get Adam’s help getting Goomba downstairs before his call. He did very well this morning. I took the cone off, he’s not drinking water but he finally ate some food. I gave him his pain meds and infection meds. I have a saline solution to run through the wound to flush it out, but I can’t find the second hole so I’m waiting for Adam’s help. Goomba’s tail was still wagging and he followed me around so I’m sitting on the ground near his bed. I have to get ready for work soon but I like sitting here with him while he can have the collar off.

The first day is the hardest. Hopefully it will just get easier. He also had eyeburgers all night which made us think he was crying.

Here’s an interesting photo of Goomba using his back leg in place of his front.

One day at a time, and day one has passed. 

Dog Frenemies

Emotions are running high for me today. Looking at Goomba and seeing his leg bone makes me cry every time. This morning I got to work, set up, and the neighbor walked by with her two dogs as she does every day. Hunter is a pit-bull mix. He doesn’t really remind me of a pit, he’s pretty short. But if I had to pick a breed that’s what I’d do with. And I think the owner has mentioned he’s a pit mix before - definitely a bully breed with a bad rep. Hunter and Goomba are friends. Hunter walks by on leash glaring at my office window every time looking for Goomba. If Goomba sees them he jumps on the window crying begging me to let him go say hello. I only bring Goomba to work 2 or 3 times a week. And if he doesn’t see them I usually stay inside. If he does see Hunter, I let him out to play. I grab his leash and walk out there, she drops Hunter’s leash, so they are equals and they run around playing. They do wrestle since it’s in both of their breeds, but we are very alert and break it up before it goes too far. Most of the time they are just running chasing each other. We both look forward to their play dates because 1) we both have semi-dog aggressive dogs, so we’re happy to have a furry friend to play with that we know they get along and they at least have one dog friend and 2) I’m at the office working and she leaves for work afterwards so we like the dogs getting some play time and exercise before laying down for a few hours. 

Today things got taken too far. They were playing and after a few minutes of running, peeing, chasing, sniffing, more running, they started wrestling. We started getting uncomfortable and tried to break it up before it was really fighting. Failed. I kept grabbing Goomba but she couldn’t get Hunter, so he’d just follow us and continue. Things escalated quickly. Hunter bit Goomba on the upper left leg, right around the elbow. We couldn’t get him off. I was pulling Goomba, Hunter came with him. I pulled Hunter, he dragged Goomba with him. At one point I stuck my hand inside Hunter mouth to try and loosen the grip. I realize putting my hand in a pit’s mouth while he’s attacking my dog is not the best idea, but I nothing else was working and I couldn’t sit there doing nothing. I was on the ground with Goomba facing me crying and squealing and I felt helpless. My mind was racing and all I could think of was how I had a front row seat watching my dog get his leg ripped off. I thought for sure he leg would be at least broken.

Somehow we broke the dogs up. She grabbed Hunter’s leash and I laid on the ground with Goomba in my lap. Not important, but the grass was just cut so I have wet cut grass all over my body. The owner was very nice. She was also a little shaken up and very worried for Goomba. She kept asking if he could walk and said if I take him to the vet she would help and let her know. I held it together long enough to leave. We got up and Goomba limped to the car. I took him to the vet and cried the whole way. 

He’s fine. He didn’t cry at all once he was loose. He didn’t even get upset with the two dogs and one cat in the small waiting room. It helped that the dogs stayed on the other side and I was a mess so clearly people wanted to stay away from me anyways. I left Goomba there and they called me shortly after I left saying he doesn’t need stitches, just a good deep cleaning, bandages, and pain meds. For a cost of $201.

I do not blame the owner, and I do not blame the pit. I think all 4 parties are equally responsible. It’s just unfortunate that Goomba is the one who took the fall. Even though Goomba is can be dog aggressive, he’s very submissive and once it was taken to that level, he wasn’t fighting back at all and was just trying to retreat. 

My heart aches for him and all I want to do is cuddle and watch movies with my puppy in my lap. Definitely stopping by the pet store to buy a treat on the way home.

Felix Cooper Peete

New addition to the family! My cousin had her first baby in October, and he is beautiful!

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Unfortunately, I was (and still am) behind on my baby presents so I didn’t get a chance to start Felix’s present until after he was born. That being said, I got to picture him and the family while I made it! Instead of dreaming of what the little munchkin will look like or how Hillary will be as a mother, I already knew! I had a tough time picking this one out. I found this owl pattern which I liked but thought it might be small and boring. I asked my stepmom for advice since she knows Hillary’s style more and she said that Brandon (the husband and baby daddy) loved owls. Perfect! I was looking for an excuse to pick this one! So I quickly got to work.

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I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with it. The colors are so bright, and you guys know how I’m a sucker for bright colors. They really pop and while I’m not a fan of owls, I started to love this piece way more than I thought.

Hillary:

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Brandon:

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And Felix:

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(ew I don’t know why there’s a yellow tint to this photo)

I was amazed at how quickly I was working through it. All that’s left was the border and bark!

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I finished it right before the holidays, but due to holiday spending and traveling AND moving, I decided to put it in a safe place and not worry about framing it until things calm down in January. Once I was settled in at the new place, I dug it out and washed it.

Then I realized I forgot to sign it! So I every so carefully stitched my initials trying not to touch anything, which is pretty hard - and with no hoop either because I had already ironed it flat. Alas! I have it completed (minus backstitching in the bark which I purposely left out not wanting it, including my initials), washed, and ironed. Ready to hit the frame shop!

Framing was a little tricky. With Kelly’s I immediately knew I wanted light purple. This one I had no idea. It’s a boy so obviously I wanted to avoid any pinks or purples. The thought of blue or green comes to mind but the data owl is a teal color so any blue or green would clash. Unless I used teal but that’s the biggest owl and I didn’t want that color to dominate. Orange was a contender but with the stitched orange border I didn’t think I’d like it. In the end I think it was between orange and a light green. I picked orange and stopped thinking about it.

I waited 4 weeks and completely forgot about it. She said 3 weeks and after the 4th I realized I haven’t heard from them yet. I gave the frame shop a call and she said they had my number wrong so couldn’t reach me but my work is finished and ready to pick up. Yay!

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Welcome to the world Felix! You will love your parents just as much as all the rest of us! Congratulations to the Peete family and their little bundle of joy. We are all very happy for you guys!

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This made me lol. Always a good time searching for “Goomba” and seeing what pops up.

This made me lol. Always a good time searching for “Goomba” and seeing what pops up.

Goomba’s head tremors.

Idiopathic Head Tremors

Am I a paranoid overprotective mother? Or are animals just hard to take care of? Goomba has a new ailment: idiopathic head tremors. It started on a Sunday night, we were cuddling on the couch watching tv and all of a sudden his head started shaking. He looked like a bobble head. It was terrifying. I thought my dog was having a seizure and at 9 pm on a Sunday night I wasn’t sure what to do about it. Adam and I did some research and we decided it sounded like idiopathic head tremors.

Idiopathic head tremors are when the head shakes but there is no cause, and unfortunately no solution. The good news is while this was happening Goomba was fully alert and could follow commands. He didn’t even notice anything was happening except for the reaction he got from me. The even better news: idiopathic head tremors are benign. They are also common in Boxers. I joined a boxer forum to pose some questions and multiple people reassured me this was it.

Monday was a little scarier because he had FOUR episodes in one day. This seemed excessive  While trying to remain calm thinking it was IHT, I scheduled an appointment for the vet and got video when it happened to show the doctor. 

The vet appointment was pretty useless. i showed him the video, explained everything, he checked Goomba out. He thought it was focal seizures and the next step was to bring Goomba in for blood work and a biolase. I brought up IHT but he seemed to brush it off going with his focal seizures theory. He also said since Goomba hadn’t had any since Monday (it was now Saturday) the tests are likely to show up normal which doesn’t necessary mean anything. Great. Well then what’s the point??? I remained calm telling myself I still thought it was IHT.

The doctor just called telling me all tests were normal. yay!! That is excellent news. He mentioned yes it could be seizures which can be inherited (but unfortunately I know nothing about Goomba’s parents), could be calcium (test came back normal), liver disease (test came back normal), but since it hasn’t happened in over a week it’s likely an incidental event. I shouldn’t worry and no need to do anything unless they start happening again. But good job on catching it on video - that’s always helpful.

So, there we have it. There’s no way to test for IHT, just rule everything else out. Seeing a neurologist is going to be SUPER expensive so I’m not doing that unless it’s a last resort and I know something is seriously wrong and needs attention. Everything checked out normal, so until I have proof that they are seizures, I’m calling it IHT.

There’s nothing to do with IHT. I will keep a journal of when it happens (if it happens again). It’s common in boxers, it always happens when he’s laying down sleeping/relaxing, it goes away after just a few minutes, and he is fully responsive. It fits all the symptoms of IHT. There are a few tricks people have tried to help it stop immediately: peanut butter, light corn syrup, honey. I haven’t found anything that works magically yet, but I just make sure every time he can still sit and focus on me and wait for it to pass. It’s a very unpleasant feeling, watching this happen knowing there’s nothing you can do. I just have to keep reminding myself it’s benign, he doesn’t notice it, there IS nothing I can do, just wait it out and it’ll be over soon.

Having dependents is stressful. How am I ever going to have kids?

Adam’s Bridge

Holy moly I never thought I was going to finish this! Adam and I started dating in December of 2010. Around June I stated to think of his birthday present (end of August) and thought it’d be cool to cross stitch him something. But not just anything, because it’s a boy and boys don’t usually care about stuff like that. So I went to his flickr account and scrolled through his “favorites”.

I found a picture of the bay bridge that I liked and turned it into a cross stitch pattern. Sure, I can finish this in two months. It’ll be tight, and I’m slightly worried, but I can do it. So I ordered the pattern, the 50 some colors, and the cloth.

Since it is dark, I thought I’d save a lot of time by stitching on black rather than the usual white. Cool! I get to do something new! I also picked a smaller stitch (18 count rather than the standard 14) so it looked tighter. Since this was strictly stitching and no spaces or backstitching I wanted the stitches to be super close to one another.

It finally arrived in the mail. OMG what have I gotten myself into? I was quickly overwhelmed. This is the pattern I was looking at.

Was it really 10 pages? Actually no, it was more but the rest were black so I trashed them. How did I not realize how big my project was? The safest way to start a project is from the center. This way your work is centered on the fabric and you don’t run out on one side. I didn’t even know where to start. I picked something as close to the center as I could and just jumped in. The beginning is always the hardest. And I quickly learned that black was SUPER hard to stitch on. I couldn’t see the holes so it was like guess and check every stitch to get the needle back to me. It was a nightmare. I forced myself to work on it any free time I had and I was quickly starting to hate it. Almost immediately I realized I wasn’t going to finish it for his August 2010 birthday and in a fit of anger stashed it in my nightstand and didn’t look at it for a couple months. Okay. Maybe I can finish it for Christmas? No. There’s no way, but I should do some sort of work on it. It was also hard the stitches being SO CLOSE. Not only that, but the colors are all so similar. I was always getting confused on what I did and what color was what simple and where my place was to go next. SOMEHOW I managed to finish the first page. Okay, I can do this. I AM doing this. Then the second. 

Two pages! I was making progress and getting excited! Maybe 2012 birthday I could give it to him. I realized I had no time to think about things, just do it. It’s hard to find any methodology to which color to do next or which stitch to do next or if something is too far to use the same thread or if I forgot one do I fill it with the color I’m currently using or do the color it’s supposed to be. That’s too much, just do the first thing that comes into my head and move on. I got a third page.

Then for the fourth one I went up because I wanted to start to see something, and the page was smaller.

Okay. One side done. That’s hot tall it will be. Now just work my way across and over more. I decided to go back to the main level instead of the top to knock out some bigger pages. Sorry about the stupid coloring, not sure what I was doing.

Alright! Now the bottom was done. That’s how wide it’d be (about 12 inches). I can almost see part of the bridge. Just gotta go across the top. At this point I was proud of myself, but still waiting for it to amaze me. It was very hard for me because reflecting water in yellows and greens was weird. It wasn’t looking as good as I wanted it to. But I kept going thinking maybe once I do the bridge tops it’d look more like the photo.

OOOOOOH YEAH!!! I’m still not in love with it, but it’s looking better. I can’t believe just one more page to go!!! Then I still have to do the top layer. 

Good work Elizabeth! It looks alright, except that green is hideous. I HATE it. I’m so pissed it’s there and I want to cry. This looks stupid, and it’s been SOOO HARD getting to this point. It’s past his birthday and I’m hoping to get it done before Christmas 2012. I don’t know what to do. So….I take the green out. I’m not happy at all with it there so as hard as it’s going to be I just have to get rid of it.

It was way harder than I thought. Half way through I regretted it, but I finished and was happy that it was gone.

What should we do? Replace it with blue! I was getting super antsy at this point. Blue was weird because the bottom was green, but I didn’t like green on the top so just do it. I bought two shades of blue on the way home and tested them. I liked the darker one and made an outline of the top. That way all I’d have left to do is stitch and not think of a pattern for the top. I’m not creative, and I improvised since the originally pattern had clouds and filling in with black. Since I wasn’t doing the black I didn’t want there to be big gaps of stitching. It took a couple iterations but I finally did it. Okay. I’m done! Wait, I’m done? That’s impossible I thought I was never going to finish this project. Seriously????

The blue looked a little weird, but when looked at from afar it was okay. And there was no way I was going to redo it so I just went with it. Here’s the picture with the cross stitch to see how they compare.

I know the shape is a little different,  but with the left side being mostly black I thought it’d be even weirder to include it so I just cut it out. I’m not thrilled, but I’m happy. It’s hard when there’s no real pattern and I made my own. Like I said, I’m not creative and I’m also a perfectionist. There’s not way I can make it look exactly like his so I shouldn’t be upset it’s a little different. Some people said they liked it, it was like an abstract of his photo. By this point it’s been so long I’m scared he won’t even remember that photo or it won’t be one of his favorites anymore. But it’s done. I just have to wash it and take it to a frame shop.

Washing it was a little scary because the colors bled a little. I just prayed it came out okay.

After picking a frame, she gave me a timeline of 3 weeks. Perfect. I’ll pick it up the week before Christmas and give it to him before I leave.

The day it was ready I was soooo anxious. I was TERRIFIED I was going to hate it even more. I wasn’t thrilled when picking out a frame. I found one that worked but I wasn’t in love with any of them. I picked it up and looked at it in awe. I loved it. I can’t believe I finished and this was it. I DID IT! Next step: presenting it to Adam. Which I was also terrified of. I spent so much time (1.5 years) and effort into this thing. And the majority of the time I hated it myself. If he didn’t like it I would cry because I was so exhausted from it that I wanted someone to like it! I even warned him that he had to act 10 times as excited over it because he’s so bad at showing emotion with presents. His first words were, “This is my photo.” OMG! He recognizes it! Although he still didn’t act very excited, those were the best first words he could have said. I’m so thrilled he knew it was his photo. Otherwise it’s just some bridge. Lame. He said he liked it and it’s now hanging above his work station at home so he can look at it all day every day!

What I learned:

1) Never stitch on black fabric again

2) Never stitch less than 14 count again

3) Never stitch with such boring similar colors again