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Still alive... [Jul. 12th, 2012|07:01 pm]
Whoa, I realized that I haven't updated publicly in quite some time. :\

Just wanted to drop a line and let y'all know I'm still alive and kicking, sometimes kicking and screaming. Actually, not really, but sometimes I feel like it. ;)

Things have been going alright, if not a bit slow for me. The past few months have been a huge adjustment in my life. After losing Reo, we had such an empty gap in our home, we found a dog through a rescue organization that we wanted to adopt. Her name's Dizzy, and she's a mix between border collie and American Eskimo dog. She's incredibly shy, easily spooked and possibly had been abused in the past, but we don't know for sure. We do know, though, that absolutely everything else about her is perfect. We've been working with her to get her to open up, and every week there's progress. When I look back on where she was when we first brought her home in early May, I can see that she's come pretty far.

Work has been progressing slowly but surely. I have several projects in the works, though they're not being worked on as much as I would like. Thanks to the pregnancy, I find myself with random losses of energy, and there's not much I can do about this. All I can do is try to accomplish things little by little, step by step. It's frustrating to have all this drive and want to do things, and the ability to do them, but the energy is simply not there. So far things have been okay as far as my health is concerned - no major sickness or anything - but part of the fatigue is due to low blood pressure, which causes me to not be able to stand for very long periods of time. Some days, it's too much to stand in one spot to make dinner or wash dishes. I'm having to listen to my body, take breaks when I have to, and learn to adjust to my capabilities. Next week Monday marks three months to go, so the energy is only going to dwindle from here on out.

This is part of the reason why I've been staying off of most social networking sites. I've been writing a few more private entries chronicling my journey for the past six months, but for the most part, I've been avoiding a lot of my usual haunts/forums so I don't become too distracted from my work projects and things that need to be done around our home. If I am slow to reply to e-mails or comments, that's probably why. I'm not avoiding them, but don't be surprised if it takes me a while to get back to them. ;)

Otherwise, things are going well, the summer heat has not been as brutal on the coast as it has been in the midwest. I point and laugh almost daily because my hometown in Michigan is usually anywhere from five to ten degrees hotter than my current location in Florida. And we've been getting our fantastic summertime clouds, if not always the rain that usually goes along with them. (Though we did get rain today! Yay!) I'm looking forward to the days when the temperatures have cooled off a bit more and I can leave the windows open all day again. I miss that. ^_^
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Getting through each day... [Apr. 30th, 2012|08:56 am]
[mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

It's hard to believe that it's been a few days, already. I can't say as I've had much energy to leave the house to do things; Joe and I have been pretty reclusive, other than running necessary errands. After all, if we leave, we have to come home, and coming home is just not the same without a happy tail to greet you.

It's like they say - Home is where your dog is.

Saturday morning, Joe and I walked around the local agricultural center, as well as a plant nursery, to look for a nice tree we could plant in the back garden to provide some shade and stand as a memorial for our babies. We've decided on a weeping bottlebrush tree. Not only does it thrive in full sun, live in sandy soil and have the ability to withstand droughts if necessary, the name includes a nod to sadness and mourning, and the blossoms are reminiscent of a ferret's tail when they're investigating something new. Since two of our ferrets are resting out there as well, the tree should be appropriate for a memorial.

Today is the first day I am home all by myself. All day Friday, and all weekend, Joe and I had each other. Today is the first day back to "normal" life, whatever that means. My normal days included working in my work room, with breaks every couple of hours to let the dog outside. Yesterday, I noted that I hadn't stepped outside beyond what was necessary to go out early in the day. I went all afternoon, all evening, without being outside. Forget cigarette breaks; I want to be able to step outside for a doggie break.

Of course, losing such a great dog as Reo is going to leave a huge hole in our hearts and our home. We don't want to rush into getting another dog, though we will adopt another, some day. While the passing of a dog is not something new to me - I always had dogs growing up - Reo was Joe's first dog, and it's going to take us both some time to heal from this.
In the meantime, some distraction would be fantastic. What I've done, then, is e-mailed our local rescue organization to offer up our home as a foster home for dogs needing to be rescued from the shelter. We have resources to care for an elderly dog, if need be, and experience with a host of health problems including but not limited to arthritis, sensitive stomach, chronic skin infections, and anxiety. Our vet will give us a great reference, as will any of the techs. And I've had experience in training dogs with behavioral issues; both of the childhood dogs I had were terrors straight out of the shelter, and in the more recent of the two, a headstrong American Eskimo dog, we had constant dominance struggles but once we reached an understanding, we were inseparable. I've reached a point now where I communicate with dogs in a way that they learn very quickly that I don't tolerate bad behavior and reward the good, and that could be valuable in fostering dogs from the shelter and getting them on their way to a new forever home.
The rescue says that, for one, you're not obligated to take a dog just because you are on their foster list. You ARE allowed to say no, you can't do it right now. Second, the dogs are usually placed within about two weeks, so you won't have the dog for very long. Third, they cover veterinary expenses, and can assist with food too, if needed. I really hate to see our resources go to waste by not being used by a dog, and yet knowing we want another dog some day, we do not want to get rid of all of our supplies. By taking in dogs without a lifelong commitment to them, just a pledge to help them out of the shelter and into a family, we can be distracted, fill the vacancy in our home and not have to worry about issues that could arise due to our expecting a baby later this year. And I think it would be awesome to honor Reo's memory by helping other dogs out of the same situation we rescued him from.

I just wish it were easier to get past the mourning stage. It'd only been just shy of six years, but we gave that dog another lifetime, one that he cherished. One that we'll always cherish, too. I wish that dogs could live forever, because boy, this stuff hurts.
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Goodbye, Reo... [Apr. 27th, 2012|11:54 am]
[Tags|, ]

This morning has to have been the longest morning of my life.

For the past few days, Reo's health has been on a steady decline. He stopped eating much, so yesterday morning I made a concoction of wet dog food and rice, and he ate a fair bit. I was hoping it would help him bounce back, but it did not. He was just so tired last night, and I worried he would not even last the night. Joe and I both had trouble sleeping because of it.

But those of you that have met my dog know that he's stubborn, and so this morning, he was still with us. His condition had not changed, though; he could only lift his head for short periods of time, he couldn't walk very far for very long, and his back half didn't want to keep up with his front. After going outside to go potty (and barely making it off of the sidewalk and onto the grass) he would come inside and lay down on the carpet right inside the door, and just not want to move.

So we knew this morning that we had to make the call we didn't want to make. We scheduled it for a little later in the morning, and brought Reo out to the pier for one last trip to the beach. We parked right next to the sea wall - which doesn't go out to the beach and the ocean itself, but you can walk along a walled in path where there is sand, you can see the water and feel the sea breeze. Reo laid in the sand for a little while, and just basked. We had to lift him up and over the stairs to get him onto the sea wall, as he just did not want to walk.

The vet clinic is located right around the corner from the pier, so when he was ready to go, we drove him over there. The tech at the front told us we could go straight back into one of the rooms, but Reo, stubborn until the end, knew the usual drill when he goes to the vet's- he did everything he could to saunter up and stand on the scale where they weigh him before his appointments. He had so little energy that he could only get his front paws up on the scale, but refused to move until I had helped him all the way up. Then we went back to the coziest room in the clinic, where they'd laid out a blanket for him, and spent some time with him, along with the doctor and his favorite vet tech, who came in on her day off just to be there for us all.

He was ready, to be sure- he just laid patiently on the blanket until he was gone. He was surrounded by people that love him to pieces, and he knows that even the vet takes care of him and helps him to feel better. It was hard, but made easier by the fact that this clinic has done so much for us, and they've taken such good care of my dog until the very end.

So that's that... we're down to the bunny, the bird, and the snakes, for now. I'm sure we'll have another dog some day soon, though Reo will absolutely never be able to be replaced. He's the best dog I could have had, he has been through so much with us, traveled so many miles with us, and though we only had him for just under six years, it felt like so much more. Adopting an older dog is rough - you know the inevitable is coming much sooner than you'd like - but their love is so fierce, and their loyalty is unquestionable. I wouldn't have traded my years with him for the world.

Miss you, buddy- now go get your kitty. He's waiting for you. <3
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Sorry about the silence- [Apr. 19th, 2012|09:20 am]
Things have been in a bit of a whirlwind lately. Last weekend, I worked Khaotic Kon in Tampa, and while I had some awesome company in other vendors I know (Yay Stephie! Yay Kira & Kiko!) I pretty much had to do everything for my table all by my lonesome. Since I was in Artist's Alley (and AA at anime cons is very different from AA at furry cons) I had to set up and tear down everything but my grids each day. In addition to the vending and everything. Needless to say, it was a pretty exhausting experience.

When I got back, I had a day off to rest, then I had a day to work at the shop. I was only supposed to work one day this week, but one of the employees had a family emergency, and will not be in any more this week or next. Because of this, I'm picking up some more days, and will be working every week day next week in order to help cover the shifts necessary.

I did give my notice that I would not be available for regular hours after the end of April, so once this employee's family emergency has been tended to as best it can be, I will not be working at the store any more. I need to focus back on my business, since I will not be able to do so after a certain point. Besides, the doctor told me that I shouldn't do any heavy lifting after six more weeks from now, so hauling large packages would be a no-no anyway. As much as I have enjoyed my time with that shop, I just can't afford to NOT tend to my business, the things I can do from home. This needs to be my focus from here on out.

Also, I'm changing over the way my Etsy shop will be stocked for the next few months. Since I never know how much energy I'm going to have on any given day (though recently it has been much better) I don't want to have things listed as being "made to order" when I may not be able to fulfill the time frame given. So I'm going to be listing only items I have in stock and ready to be shipped at that time. This transition should be made by early May; until then my Etsy store is remaining closed while I focus on other projects that sorely need to be finished. I'm also not going to be taking on new custom requests or commissions, probably until early next year at least, because I cannot make solid guarantees on when it will be completed, for health reasons, and because at the end of this year, there will be a new baby in the picture. Lord knows that will throw a wrench in the works of how things go around here. :)

I know a couple of you have e-mailed me recently too, and I promise I will get back to you as soon as I can. My brain has been a pile of goo, and while I'd planned to spend yesterday as a second recover-from-the-con day, I was called in to work to help cover for a little while, and what should've only been two hours turned into over three.
Not to mention the dog's vet visit at butt-early-o'clock in the morning. He's okay, by the way - just been having old man tummy troubles that cause him to not feel good. Discussed some options with the vet, and it's official, he really is an old man now: she put him on Pepcid for his tummy and Metamucil if he needs it. Poor guy.

So yeah, that's a little bit of an update for now. It took me far too long to focus on this entry as it is, so I'm going to go be a slug for a little bit and hope my brain turns back on. *flail*
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Springtime Plans [Apr. 1st, 2012|05:01 pm]
[Tags|, , , , ]
[mood |sleepysleepy]

My sister called me today to let me know she would be visiting during Joe's birthday next month. That'll be fun! She's going to be here from May 3rd until the 8th. I got to see her over Christmas, and she usually comes down to visit in the spring. She's grown into a friend, as she matured and finished college. So, I'm glad she'll be coming down.

We're thinking of things to do in the Orlando area when she comes. I'm leaning toward Sea World, since we have our annual passes there. Why, oh why can't Disney's passes be more affordable? Our monthly payment for Sea World (both the theme park and the water park, for BOTH of us) costs less than payments on ONE pass to Disney. Alas. Sea World gets my money instead. ;P
Though it would be great to go to Disney again, I haven't been since my birthday a couple years back. I'm overdue for some visiting with the Mouse. They're running a pretty good deal for Florida residents right now, but it expires the end of May, and there's no way we can use up all three days before the end of May. Maybe we'll take this opportunity to go resort-hopping like I've always wanted to do, just go take the monorail or the buses and explore all of the different places on property but outside of the actual parks.

Work (both the shipping store and my business) has been really busy, just trying to truck through everything. For medical reasons, I've decided to close up the Etsy store until the end of April so I can catch up on outstanding orders (including suits) and then work on some stock for Animazement and the next few conventions we're working. My goal is to possibly see about aiming for the end of April as an end to my time in the part-time job, as well, so I can spend the entire summer preparing for the sales I end up having online during the Halloween season. It's always such a rush, and I think I would prefer to sell things I've already got in stock than have to make things to order. It'd just be much easier that way.

How about some pet updates? I haven't left one of those here in a while. Reo is doing pretty well recently. We seem to have found the perfect dose of prednisone that he's able to maintain his energy and strength, without being overly thirsty and having to pee every two to three hours. (It was pretty bad for a while when his dose was double what it is now!) So we're maintaining at 5mg twice a day, and it seems to be spot on. He's also been doing great since we switched to a new food, he seems to eat a little bit more than previously but it's been easy on his digestion.
The rabbit is, well, the rabbit. She's also been doing well, and I can't believe how big she's gotten. She continues to have a fantastic personality and loves to socialize. Lately her hobby has been to gaze at our neighbor's cat, Lucy, through the sliding glass door, since Lucy loves to sleep on Joe's cayenne pepper plant's pot. She still misses her kitty - as do I - but she's got a spring in her step again, and that makes me happy. :)

Joe's off at some nerd thing in Jacksonville with his friends today, so I took the opportunity to catch up on some household chores. I made myself a delicious burger from scratch, and took it easy. This evening I'll be working some more, since I finally got my work room back into order. I need to order some new bobbins for my sewing machine, as the ones sold at Hobby Lobby say they are not meant for my machine (although I think they would probably still fit, I don't want to throw anything off) and somehow the black spool of thread I'd been using managed to wind so tightly it cracked THREE of the four bobbins that came with the machine. So much for having extra bobbins wound to be used! Sigh.
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One More Thing. [Mar. 29th, 2012|01:26 pm]
First, thanks to those of you that have offered us your congratulations. Joe and I both appreciate it. <3

However, it's mildly frustrating that this bears mentioning, but I figured I would put this out here just in case.

While we want to share our joy with everyone else and let them know, one of the primary reasons I felt the need to announce publicly that we are expecting is because of the fact that it will, inevitably, have an effect on my work days and my production times. If you don't know symptoms associated with pregnancy (even early on, which is actually said to be the hardest) there are some things that will take an incredibly heavy physical toll on the body. The one I battle the most right now is fatigue- and yes, it means that some afternoons, I feel like I can do nothing more than be a slug.

Because of this, it is only fair to let customers and potential customers know that there is a valid, medical reason for any potential delays in work.

Rest assured, that all of our close friends and family had been told about this before we went public with the announcement. We waited for a certain amount of time, until we'd been seen by the doctor a few times, before sharing the good news. What this means is, if you feel the need to share this with someone you think should know about this? Chances are, they already know. Especially those friends that have become like family to us over the past few years.

Some of our friends - whether they've been vocal about it or not - have been struggling with the concept of starting a family of their own. Whether it's due to not being ready financially, or emotionally, or dealing with problems of infertility, a number of things can keep a couple from being able to conceive despite a strong desire to do so. Some friends have expressed these concerns to me in the past; others have not said anything, and may never speak up, but will still feel that hurt. I myself have felt the frustration and emotional rollercoaster of having to hear that siblings or in-laws were expecting before Joe and I were ready to take the plunge. Quite frankly, if your heart is in a place where you want to welcome a child, it hurts. A lot of it can be hormonal, which means there really IS no exact, logical reason for the feelings you feel. And quite honestly, if I can spare or lessen that pain on friends that I know are going through these feelings, I will do all in my power to do that for them.

So if you feel the need to share, please reconsider who you are sharing with. This is not something meant to be gossiped about and whispered to everyone in the world. It's a joyful thing that I would love to shout about from the rooftops, but I will do that in my own way; I don't need people to do this for me. Feel free to throw a party in my journal entry, or send me e-mails or messages on other sites. But please stop and think before you go "spreading the news" - and whether or not it's really a good idea at the time.

Rest assured that we will post another update before the baby arrives, I won't keep you all completely in the dark. But for now, consider others and how they may feel before you speak up. It's no coincidence that a close friend of mine shared her current position on trying to start a family shortly before I posted my announcement. It was an effort to cause people to stop and think, before they speak on these things. If you're a mutual friend, or even just a mutual acquaintance of that person, please take that to heart before deciding to talk about it to her.

Thanks. <3
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Some exciting news! [Mar. 29th, 2012|08:49 am]
[mood |sleepysleepy]

I'm going to keep this short and sweet, since I am not always one to go into great detail about lots of things, but this will sort of help explain why I've been a little MIA online lately. ;)

Come October, Joe and I are expecting our first human kid! Reo's going to be a big brother. :P

I've still been working my business AND the part-time job at the shipping store, so needless to say I've been pretty exhausted lately. It's been hard to juggle everything but I'm getting there. The shipping store, thankfully, is about to get a little bit easier as the girl I'm helping to cover for is about done with her seasonal work so my hours there will ease up. I'm going to gradually move out of that job, too, since according to the doctor I only have about two more months of being allowed to lift things over 25 pounds, and, well, that job requires a -lot- of lifting.
No, my business is not going to end, nor am I giving up my sewing room to the sprog. This is something I've been working toward so I -can- work from home while attempting to rear a child. It won't be easy, I know that much. But I've gotten some advice from others that have worked from home and even sold at conventions all while bringing up a baby, so I know that it -can- be done.

That said, most of our plans for this year have not changed. We're still planning our summer conventions, and some of the fall ones, too. AWA is highly unlikely, but, we're applying for it anyway and will transfer our table to next year if need be. We're still GO for Khaotic, Animazement, Ancient City Con, and all of the others we'd planned through August. :)

So, yeah, that's what's been going on lately... the weakened immune system and extreme fatigue have meant some delays in work, but I'm finally to a point where I'm starting to feel human again, so this week and next I'm catching back up. (Working FWA and Momo was a -challenge- and one that I needed the rest of the week to recover from!) I'm probably not going to post much on this subject until the time comes for me to take a bit of a hiatus right before the baby arrives. I don't want to bore you guys with all those mundane details you can find by looking it up on Google, anyway. ;P

I've got an incredibly busy day planned today, so, better get to the grind!
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Momocon: Help on Friday Night? (FWA Attendees read too!) [Mar. 10th, 2012|04:27 pm]
I'm looking for a volunteer or two to run my table on Friday night at Momocon in the artist's alley!

See, I'd like to be able to go to the Matthew Ebel concert on Friday, but the artist's alley is going to be open during that time. The concert starts at 9, and the alley closes at 10. I'd like to find someone that would be willing to work the table for me from 9-10 if at all possible.

If you think you'd be interested in volunteering, let me know. If you help out, I'll compensate you accordingly, so please give me a heads up.

Please note too that I can only extend this offer to people I have met previously and know I can trust. You will be handling money for me and if I am not able to get back in time to close up the table, I'd like for you to close it for me. (All that entails is securing loose products and wrapping the display with a cloth; the table is in a lockable room.

Also, we've got an open bed in our room so if anyone needs a place to crash let me know. We're staying at the Motel 6 (one block from the Marriott, two blocks from the Sheraton) and the cost is $150 for Thursday night through Monday morning. If you need a place to crash either comment or note me and we can work out arrangements. :)
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Dog Update & Internet Hiatus [Feb. 25th, 2012|09:08 pm]
[mood |sleepysleepy]

First, dropping a note for anyone that was wondering. Reo has still been responding to the medication he's been on, he's taking all of 5mg of prednisone a day and it's been enough to keep his arthritis in check and get him eating again. He's been feeling so much better. Still losing weight- his most recent weigh-in at the vet's on Wednesday had him down by another pound. But we're monitoring that and just keeping an eye on him to make sure he's still doing okay. <3

In other news there is a lot of work on my plate and my health has not been doing very well for me lately (terrible allergies, among other things that have been requiring doctor visits) so I'm going to be taking a bit of an Internet hiatus until Momocon is over. I have a ton of stuff to prepare for the con, projects to finish up, and a part-time job that's been keeping me busy on top of everything else. So I'll be scarce for the next couple of weeks - the best way to get in touch with me is through e-mail, which I check daily, or Twitter, which usually gets checked once a day, typically in the evenings.

See you guys in Atlanta! <3
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Friggin' Freezin' Temps [Feb. 12th, 2012|09:42 pm]
[mood |tiredtired]

Currently 33 degrees in northeast Florida. Needless to say, this warm-weather fox is quite miserable. I'm about to bundle up underneath a bunch of blankets and sleep all night. D:

An update on the dog: he was just so lethargic, and while the vet had scheduled him for a blood test in two weeks, I decided to bring him on on Thursday instead to have his blood drawn. They sent it out to be processed, and the results weren't good. Basically, certain levels of certain indicators point in the direction of cancer. To learn more, we would have to get into ultrasounds (to the tune of about $300) just to find out what and where, and then subsequent testing and treatment could reach up into the thousands of dollars. Since Reo is at the height of his breed's life expectancy, and he has a host of other health issues anyway, we opted to go for the route of just keeping him comfortable.

The doc talked about a few different types of meds he could try, but in the end we ended up deciding on giving prednisone a shot. He's been on pred in the past, it doesn't mess him up very much, it's proven effective against skin issues, and his liver's in good enough shape that it can handle the steroid for now. Plus side is, it's treating his arthritis, which has been the biggest concern. He just didn't want to even get up because it made him ache, and the amount of pain caused him to not want to eat. Another plus to pred is that it's an appetite stimulant. And on top of being good for his itchy skin, there's a chance it may hold his cancer at bay.

He just had his fifth dose tonight (he gets two doses per day) and both today and yesterday, he's eaten on his own, and quite a bit at that. The pred has also helped his arthritis, in that he's back to being an achey old dog, but not lethargic. He's certainly been happier, although the colder weather today has made him slow back down a little bit. We've been keeping him bundled up and making sure he stays warm, at least.

So... I guess at this point, it's only a matter of time, and we're just watching and waiting for the inevitable. Our vet, who has been nothing short of awesome, is willing to come out to our place for his final visit, so it will make things easier on him.
I just pray that day doesn't come too soon.
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