Friday, October 14, 2011

Amber at the Vet

The last couple of days I've noticed that my six-year-old orange tiger, Amber, has changed her potty habits. I can always tell when she has a UTI because of her changes. Usually, it gets pretty far advanced by the time I notice. She'll find another place to pee, associating the litter pan with pain. This time, we were able to nip it in the bud, as she was only using the larger pan with the dome over it, and was just peeing on the extra part of the liner that sticks up out of the litter, and under it was a big pile of clumped litter, so I had a sneaking suspicion. It's a chronic condition for her. I took her to the vet for a urinalysis, and she only had a few drops, but our vet is an expert at extracting drops from her. She spun it down, and sure enough, at the bottom were a few bacteria, the very beginning of infection.

Amber is a very high-strung kitty (which is partly why she is so prone to UTIs), and a trip to the vet is a major upheaval in her life. She knew the moment her carrying thing came out of its hiding place in the unfinished part of the basement and immediately hid under a bed. After chasing her upstairs and down, and finally trapping her into one bedroom, after prying her from under the bed, she emerged a whipped cat, limp as a dishrag. She was as good as dead - breathing hard as though she were clinging to the vestiges of life. She came to life as I was cramming her into the carrier, and suddenly, she grew to twice her size in diameter, preventing me from getting her into the hole. I pushed and shoved, sweating like a pig after the chase, cursing all the while. I'm not sure how I finally managed to shove her in and close the door. In the car on the way, she protested loudly the entire way, and through gritted teeth, I assured her everything would be just fine and dandy.

When we got to the vet's office, she went limp again and was barely clinging to life, and I managed a couple of shots of her with my cell phone on the cat room countertop; also the picture on the wall. As you can see, she didn't have the strength to hold up her head.

We ended up with an antibiotic to clear up the infection, and a $75 bill to pay. I ditched the carrier for the trip home, and Amber rode on the console, constantly checking to see where we were. When we got close to home, she got more & more lively and leapt out of the truck when we entered the garage and went right to the door to her domain.

She has forgiven me and has been completely resurrected.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Review

A few weeks ago, I received a surprising email from a nice person named Yiota, living in the UK, who wanted me to review one of her cross stitch kits. She's interested in getting more traffic and interest in her website and wanted me to choose a kit, which she would send to me free of any charge to open, inspect, and review on my blog. She had happened upon my blog and had decided that this would be a good medium from which to get her website better known. I poured over her site, which I never knew existed before and was delighted with the variety. I had several picked out but eventually asked my husband to help me. I had picked several artists' work charted for cross stitch, but when I showed him the one he decided on for me, he said it looked more like something I would choose to stitch, so I let Yiota know I wanted the following:

This is how the kit appeared when I turned it over to the back:

And this is what I found when I totally opened the kit and spread the contents:

The first thing I noted as a plus was that the floss was wound on numbered cards. My only kit-buying experience has been with floss that needed sorting or pre-sorted floss in strands; never already wound and ready to start stitching. A definite advantage to the cards is that, should the stitcher be short on a floss color, the instructions have a key that names the DMC colors that can be replenished should frogging take place and floss becomes in short supply. That is a definite plus for me.

While there is a piece of white aida with needle inserted, and I prefer working on evenweave or linen, it's true in this particular design that the design is solid and would not show the "blocks" of the aida that I, myself, do not care for. When I brought this up to Yiota, she replied that her company is in the process of offering the option of evenweave over aida for those who prefer stitching on that. Although I didn't want to show the chart in detail, for fear of copyright infringement (dishonest people blowing up the photo and charting it themselves); however, I did find it to be clear and easy to read, in black and white, and similar to Heaven and Earth Designs' charts. I would probably enlarge both Yiota's charts and HAED charts for my own personal preference, as I'm not young any more and do experience vision problems because of an autoimmune problem. I also appreciate that there are no fractional or half stitches; this chart is all full cross stitches.

I hope I have covered all that applies to my lovely kit. I would say that it is far superior to kits I have bought in the past. The carded floss is the single most appealing feature and most conducive to immediate stitching when received. The overall quality of contents is excellent.