Monday, February 12, 2007

So far in February

Finally made it camping...had been a while, but a group of us went up to Cache Creek for a quick overnight to send Eric off. Eric got a dream job based in Monterey (near the sea) which entails working in the field in the Sierras for five days of the week (in the mountains). What a way to escape Davis. And before starting work, he's celebrating by spending a couple months in New Zealand and Australia, doing what Erics do best: cycling. At any rate, Superbowl weekend, five of us packed lots and lots and lots of food not very far though nicely steep up in BLM land near Bear Creek. Good fire, good fun, good food, good folks.

Meanwhile I'm taking an enameling class and my first piece is almost done. I love the look of glass and metal and this technique has a lot of potential for use in my sculptures as well as for jewelry (which I don't do much of) or textile accessories (such as buttons, drop spindles etc). Hmm, I wonder if an enameled sley hook would work on a larger dent reed...

Fiberwise, I've been spinning new yarns to add to the Infiknitty website, but haven't figured out the best way to photograph them. I did get two mohair fleeces from Eureka! Mohair Farm. Mist is a white kid fleece, beautifully soft and silky.

Otter is a silver yearling fleece, very soft with exquisite coloring.

I hand combed some of Otter's locks to spin a worsted sample.

My weaving students are tearing ahead. It's a great supportive talkative group, and everyone has taken the tedium of dressing the loom in stride. I decided to do a narrower project with my dyed linen warp since I haven't worked with linen before, so no shadow weave this time. It should be interesting; I'm using a draft I include in the class handout as an example of free drafts you can find on the web and I'm not sure how the fabric will turn out. It's basically patches of plain weave intertwined with patches of warp and weft floats. There's a name for that I'm forgetting.

The pencil roving from Crown Mountain Farms arrived for my Purlescence cat bed. It's amazingly soft for Corriedale and beautifully dyed. After swatching, felting and lots of math (if you ever want to know how to calculate an ellipse and like me you've forgotten everything about calculus, thank goodness for kind folk who program calculators on the web), it's knitting up astoundingly fast although the roving is bulky enough to be a poor travel or gym project. I've also been reading the Reluctant Shaman by Kay Cordell Whitaker and listening to Thich Nhat Hahn's Creating True Peace. Among other things, they both point out that multitasking is not a good thing. They're right, I know, but there are so many things I want to do. Horribly, I've been reading while knitting/crocheting/processing wool and listening to the audiobook while setting up the loom.

Useless sculpture has taken a slight hiatus while I make some fun and functional knitting needles for The SpunMonkey Fiber Shoppe. Shannon the Spun Monkey is a Vermont spinner with a great philosophy of buying fiber from small family farms as well as using recycled and other ecologically friendly non-animal fibers. She'll be carrying some of my jungle themed knitting needles (once I finish and send them to her).

In final news, I finally rented an upright bass from the local music store. From everything I've read, I really need to get a teacher to avoid bad habits so I'm crossing my fingers that a certain killer bassist I know will still be willing to teach me a year and so after I last talked to him. I might try to find a classical teacher too, since I'd like to learn how to bow. So I know I should wait until I have a lesson, but I can't help but play with it. This is supposed to be a crappy brand of bass, but I'm still in love with the lowness of it all. I want to be a double bassist when I grow up.

But so my dad doesn't worry when he reads this (Hi Dad!), I'm still a vet (which I never seem to talk about, but I can't imagine many people interested in my ruminations of which antibiotic combo to use for a resistant Nocardia current problem of the day). I've decided that the Friday 3-10 and Saturday 10-7 shifts that I work really suck, because animals come in who need referral or ultrasound or whatever and it's so much harder and more expensive to get them in anywhere over the weekend. However, Saturday, I couldn't complain, despite some tough cases, several emergencies and running nonstop between appointments.

What made my day was that I didn't have to euthanize a 6 month old boxer. The puppy has had bloody diarrhea for several months and the bills were mounting and the family was unable to check in with us often enough to diagnose the problem and treat it. The pup has done things like chewed the dad's hammer, eaten wood pellets, normal boxer puppy misbehavior, not good (especially not when we're trying to soothe the GI tract) but not that unexpected (it's called puppy-proofing. With a boxer pup, you need it.) At any rate, he had an episode of blow-out bloody diarrhea that morning and the owners had had it, they weren't willing to go any further, so the dad (crying) brought the pup in to be put down. Now this dog may have chronic diarrhea, but he's not underweight, he's in beautiful shape, with a sweet if hyper personality, a happy boy in other words. No way could I euthanize him. As the vet, I don't have to euthanize any animal I don't want to, but besides the difficulty of dealing with a distressed and potentially irate owner when I refuse, there's the probability that they'd just go elsewhere. We're not supposed to take in unwanted animals, but luckily my boss is wonderful and not only said ok when I called her at home, she knew of a potential foster home. Happily, the family really does want what's best for the dog, they just can't handle it anymore. So they turned the boxer pup over to us (came back later to bring his favorite toy), and although it was sad to seem him crying in the cage at night wondering where his family was, hopefully now that we can do a food trial and some more diagnostics, we can help clear up his diarrhea and find him a good home. I talked to the boss today and she says there's a lot of interest in him already so finding him a foster will be easy.

Luckily, our clinic doesn't have too many people coming in for convenience euthanasias and we're even lucky enough that there have been few instances of people wanting to euthanize because they don't want to treat a treatable disease. (We did end up with a German Shorthair Pointer with Addisons for a while because no one wanted to euthanize her, the disease is easily treatable, but she had a slightly odd personality. She finally found a place on a farm where she gets to run around like crazy and was quite happy last time she came in for her checkup.) The only other time someone brought me a dog who I really didn't think should be euthanized, the couple took it quite well when I told them we weren't euthanizing the dog and here were the other options (the dog had mild behavioral problems, no aggression). They were quite receptive to the other suggestions and seemed relieved that I said no, which was good but made me a bit mad...what if they'd gone somewhere else and someone had said ok? It's a life, it shouldn't be taken so lightly.

First thing Saturday morning is always hectic, and it doesn't help to have someone walk in saying they want to put their puppy down. Veterinary medicine is weird in that you advocate for the pets but you interact with their people--your actual clients are the people. That means trying to be nice and sympathetic and understanding to the humans. I try, I can be nice when I'm faced with them, but honestly, I don't understand how someone can take on the responsibility of a pet and have a happy, wagging tail dog in front of them and want it killed so they don't have to spend any more money trying to figure out and fix a problem. We hadn't done everything possible, we hadn't done some basic diagnostics or even some cheap therapeutic trials let alone the more expensive diagnostics. At every appointment or phone call, the people had only wanted to try one thing at a time and then they hadn't followed up in a timely fashion if that didn't work. They waited a month or two doing who knows what and then called again. I'm just writing in circles, so I'll stop, but it frustrates me, people who think having pets is paying several hundred for a purebred and that's all they'll have to do. Dogs who are backyard ornaments. At any rate, my Saturday was good because it started off with me walking a happy live boxer puppy into the back of the hospital to the confusion of everyone ("what are we doing with him" "we're keeping him") and hopefully we can get this problem solved and this puppy in a good home.

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