starla snerf

starla's surgical adventures

The good news:

Last Tuesday, Starla had surgery to have a mammary tumor removed. We've gotten the test results back and fortunately it's benign. We are so relieved!

No more tests, treatments, or surgery. She's healthy! Well, except for recovering from the surgery...

The less good news:

Recovery from surgery turns out to be a little more complicated than I expected, especially for a dog with Starla's personality.

First, they had to take out more tissue than initially expected, so the incision and cavity were larger than anticipated, which was scary to see. As a bonus, they had to put in a drain in case the cavity filled with fluid as she was healing. She also got a classic Elizabethan collar to prevent her from messing with her stitches, which she *hates*. When I picked her up from the vet, she was in a terrible mood, whining and snapping about everything, which was understandable.

She was crabby and mopey, but she seemed to be doing as well as could be expected on Tuesday night and Wednesday, but on Thursday, Starla decided to make things more interesting. I was supposed to take her back to the vet that morning for a quick visit to have the drain taken out, except I woke up to piles of vomit. At least I already had an appointment. Then on the way to the car, she started bleeding from the incision. Gah!!

The vet took the drain out, but noticed that in addition to the bleeding, the incision site looked inflamed. So now Starla has antibiotics in addition to her pain medication. We had to delay starting her on the pills because she's on a special diet due to the vomiting. No idea what precisely caused that either. This is so much fun!

So we've made it through almost three days of the special diet with no vomiting, even after adding both of the medications. Victory!

She is, however, still bleeding periodically. It is slowing down though. Hopefully it will stop soon because she is starting to get impatient with sitting around all day.

This morning, Starla surprised us by demonstrating exactly how much she hates the cone. Overnight, she worried at it with her front paw in a way that she now has a cut from it (bad enough that there was blood on the cone too). She has also been experimenting with various contortionist positions and is getting closer to finding a way to reach her stitches. It looks like she's developing a hot spot near her incision from all of these attempts. Her terrier focus is turning out to be a liability this time. *sigh*

Right now, I'm watching over her every twitch, to ensure she doesn't move around too much and stress her stitches or get sick again. When I'm not doing that, I'm mixing up special food, applying warm compresses, checking her stitches, or trying to trick her into taking a pill. Starla and I will both be very happy when she's back into her normal routine.
waterloo straw

Where it counts

As I was voting yesterday, I realized I was wearing my "Happiness is Lake Erie" t-shirt. Maybe that will help send my voting vibes to the folks in Ohio. Hell, who knows, if the virus scanners in the voting machine freaked out, maybe I'll be lucky and my vote will be *counted* in Ohio.
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When Alpacas Attack!

Last weekend I thought I was just suffering from the ridiculous amount of ragweed floating around in the air. However, after a day of vigilance, drugs, and hiding inside, I noticed that a) my allergy symptoms were actually erratically bouncing all over the place and b) my hands were starting to itch... That second one was the clincher. I'd bought some new yarn on Thursday evening and it was my first time working with alpaca. Now, wool allergies I'd heard of. In fact, alpaca is recommended for people sensitive to wool since the source of their reaction is often lanolin, or wool fat, and alpacas apparently don't secrete any similar allergenic-prone substance. Investigating further, however, I discovered that these lovely, fluffy animals are dander monsters. OK, that's not exactly what the research said. It was something more like, "those with a sensitivity to animal dander may find that they have a sensitivity to alpaca." Hm. So I'd essentially just spent three days KNITTING WITH A CAT, which for me is about the most toxic not-actually-toxic substance there is. So the yarn was returned or sealed up and various contaminated household areas were thoroughly cleaned. Meanwhile, I waited for my puffy, red hands and sore finger joints to forgive me. Sigh. You just don't expect yarn to attack like this. (OK, maybe the dog does, but I think she expects most of the yarn to get up and "baaaaa" sometimes.)
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Last Day to Register to Vote in Texas

In a fit of paranoia, I went looking for somewhere to verify I'm registered properly.
Verify here.
If you're not registered, you need to get it to your voter registrar before close of business today.
Yikes. I probably should've checked this much sooner. Fortunately, I am registered, and won't need to reenact the final scenes of The Blues Brothers. (I can't remember -- did they commit any felonies on the way? I guess that would make the registration moot...)
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Law & Order: Sports Night Unit

As I was channel surfing last night, I ran across an episode of Law & Order featuring a familiar face. "Oh that's...whatshername!" I scrambled for a context and a name. "Dan's girlfriend from Sports Night -- Rebecca!" The flash of recognition was enough to get me to pause and watch the scene play out. "Blah blah blah, something icky," the detective said. "Blah blah your husband will have to meet us at the hospital." And lo and behold sports fans, Dan Rydell rushes into the hospital in the next scene. Seriously.

I'm still trying to figure out the motivation behind this casting decision. The Sports Night 10th Anniversary DVD Set was just released. Is this a marketing tie-in? "See two of your Sports Night favorites reunited! Imagine their marriage, years later when their teenage son turns out be a kindergartner pederast!" *shudder* I miss 1998, when things were simpler.

(p.s. vote obama)
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Reshuffling the Pack

Starla has always had a strange relationship with the Swiffer. Somehow it escapes her notice that it's on the end of a pole that I control. She just perceives it at this mysterious rectangle that zips around our home every so often, challenging her authority at floor level.

The last time I was cleaning up, she got into one of her usual battles with the Swiffer -- she thought she was mightily frightening it and I was just moving along into another room. Then I got a little mischievous. I chased her down the hall with it and she naturally retreated into the office because that room is carpeted. The Swiffer's next move, however, totally blew her mind. It hopped up onto the carpet. Starla had no choice but to submit. Literally. Confronted by a Swiffer on carpet, she went into her submission pose, declaring that this glorified broom was her better.


Meanwhile, nickjong has caved in and ordered a new remote for our television. The original went missing almost a month ago and after turning the condo upside down, we still cannot find it. I remain steadfast in my resolve to keep searching because I think the dog has hidden it and I refuse to show my weakness. Nick, however, can't cope with trying to operate the television without it.

So, after all this, I think this leaves me as the current alpha in our pack, followed by the Swiffer, then the dog, then Nick. :P
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...on the Muppet Show tonight!, last week rather. FOUR brand new muppet sketches appeared last week on the web. Yes, on the web! All four are musical numbers, hearkening back to the days of the classic Muppet Show. My favorite is Ode to Joy even though I think it's at least double derivative now (it's hard to keep track of these things on the intarweb) between this guy and the Weezer "Pork and Beans" video. But it's Beaker! Everything's better with Beaker! Here are links to the other three -- pick your own favorite.
Classical Chicken
Stars and Stripes Forever

Speaking of the number four (mwahahaha!), in related muppetty news, Feist appeared on Sesame Street not too long ago with a new version of, you guessed it, "1234".

Meanwhile, if you're looking for knitting news, you can always check out my other blog (which I swear I will be updating very, very shortly :) at If you're not big on RSS readers outside of LJ, my pal cpeel was kind enough to set up a syndicated LJ feed for it at If I understand all this LJ magic correctly, that means you can just treat twistystitches as another LJ user and add it to your friends page. Or something kinda like that.
starla snerf

Now my Wii Remote bounces...just like a chew toy

After some of the early destruction caused by Wii Remotes, newer Wiis ship with remotes that have a stronger wrist guard cords and a rubberized jacket.

I offered Starla my remote to sniff because she was interested in what we were waving around so much. We were surprised, however, when she opened her mouth and started gently trying to take it out of my hand. She thought we were giving her a new toy! We realized at that point that the rubber in the jackets is the same material that a lot of dog toys are made of. Whose bright idea was that? Fortunately no damage was done. However, we've started storing the remotes up as high as possible.
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¡¡Chewie!! ¡Vamonos de aqui!

The Star Wars movies get played quite a bit around the holidays, which means I was subjected yet again to Greedo shooting first. Of the many ridiculous changes Lucas has made to the original trilogy, this one infuriates me the most. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, see here.) It's not just that Lucas changed a childhood favorite, he made a huge change to a main character's personality. Also, the new version just looks absurd. Greedo's point blank aim is worse than a Stormtrooper's.

This weekend, Nick and I bought the DVDs that include the original theatrical releases of the movies. Of course the first scene I wanted to see was Greedo vs. Han. (Nick didn't even realize poor Greedo doesn't even get to fire at all in the original.) Our next task was some endless fiddling to figure out how rid ourselves of the a sea of black surrounded the movie without warping the image. The movies are in a ridiculous format -- letterboxed for 4:3. We thought Zoom would work, but that cut out the subtitles (ever important to the Greedo scene). Wide and Panorama were doing something odd to the shapes of peoples' heads. Finally we figured out (after watching Greedo vs. Han about 11 times, and thus cleansing my soul along the way) that we could actually move the Zoom image vertically to allow for the subtitles. Victory! ...but at what price?

We were completely slap happy at this point and started playing with the other audio channels. Let me tell you -- the French Vader is a wuss and we're pretty sure that the same guy did all the voices for the Spanish track. I can see how this immersion language learning works though. I already picked up at least one useful phrase. :)
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Heroes: Off and Running

I had a few doubts about Heroes at the end of last season. The final wrap-up of the main plot arc felt just a bit weak, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. More importantly, I was concerned where the show was going to go in Season 2 with the unifying threat now eliminated.

Happily, last night's premiere erased all of those concerns. New threats, new puzzles, and yes, new characters (sheesh, what's the headcount up to??). Spoilery discussion continues behind the cut.Collapse )