Sand slipping through my hands – A 5 month update

I just realized it’s been nearly 6 months since I updated the blog.
I apologize for that everyone!  It’s  been a really up and down several months.   I thought I’d update you on some of the larger points.

The devastating:

In January, we unexpectedly lost one of our furbabies.

Shads with her Pfaff.

Shadow – my 17 ½ year young studio cat AKA the Jester – suddenly went from an unbelievably healthy cat to terminally ill.  We ran the gamut of anorexia, constipation, heart problems, and finally pleural effusion in the space of 8 days.  We had to make a decision when we found out about the fluid against her lungs that was causing breathing problems.    At 3am when the Emergency vet dropped the “probably cancer” bomb (along with the “poor quality of life” bomb) on me, I derailed.   I came completely off the tracks.  I couldn’t think at all.  He said we could drain the fluid and see what happened.  I could see she was suffering and I didn’t feel it was right to try to prolong that just because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  I cuddled her while the vet gave her the injection and told her how sorry I was while I watched the light go out of her eyes.

Knowing what I know now, I might have saved her.  5 minutes after the injection, I thought about the subQs.  I believe the fluid was the subQ fluids we were giving her on the advice of the first emergency vet.  We’re well versed in subQs with Stormi but something appeared to have gone wrong with Shadow. They would have also taxed her heart – that I think was already weak –  if she wasn’t absorbing them correctly.  There were other signs I didn’t know to look for at the time.   I still feel the guilt of giving up on her too soon and it’s definitely affecting my motivation these days.

RIP my wonderful sweet little lady.

The happier:

At the beginning of March, Ryan went in for what we think will be his final surgery from his accident nearly 2 years ago.  This surgery was a resounding success and his doctors are thrilled with how well he’s progressing.   He’s still got a long way to go though – he’s still in physio and has regular chiropractic appointments for problems that originated with the accident.  He’s not allowed to twist that leg and can’t bear much extra weight.  All of this is precluding him from many of his regular activities at the moment.

Before he went in, he picked up my new Janome MC8200QCP SE (tax refund treat) and set it up for me.  He wanted it set up before he went into surgery because he knew I’d try to get it downstairs into the studio with or without his help.  I wasn’t with him to pick it up that day because I was entering week 2 with bronchitis and didn’t feel like sharing that with others.  In fact, there was a fear for a bit that I would disqualify him for surgery if the bronchitis was bacterial – and I was on antibiotics as a precaution as a result.  Luckily, he wasn’t disqualified and surgery went ahead.

I passed out on the couch the day it came home and when I woke up, all that was left was to lift the machine into the table.  He put the table together and moved it into position while I was unconscious.  He may be a keeper. 🙂


I love this machine.  I’ve been using it a lot less than I’d hoped but that’s more lack of time and motivation than a lack of its ability.  I may even see the sale of my Pfaff 6122 in the future.  I’d originally kept it because I was so bonded to it (and because it has memories tied to Shadow) but I haven’t used it since late February.

The vintage scene:

  • This year already, I’ve taught the vintage maintenance class 3 times.  I love spending my time this way!  Possibly more than working on the machines themselves.  The “ah ha!” moments and the empowerment that people get out of it make me grin like the mad hatter.  🙂
    • In February, I taught it to a full class of fabulous gals (and one great guy) here in Morinville, AB.
    • Since then, I’ve taught it privately in my studio.  I really loved this  too.  I thought I would feel crowded and a little invaded (the studio is my sanctuary after all – even though I share it with all of you) but I didn’t.  It was a nice cozy atmosphere and I had all the props for any off topic questions too!   One of the private classes also included the tension class first then the maintenance class.  Now both of those classes in a day wiped me out but they went together really well and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
  • I left the Quilting Board.  I used to hang out there in the vintage section but politics being what they are, it was no longer fun.   I changed my signature on the forum to reflect my absence but the moderators deleted that as well.  So if you’ve tried to message me there and I didn’t respond, this is why.  There were a group of us who had constant problems with the moderators so when Steve started up the Victorian Sweatshop, a lot of us headed there.  I haven’t been at VSS much lately because I’ve been busy and a little overwhelmed but I will be there more often as things slow down here.
  • I managed to get 2 more videos up to YouTube.  Filmed in January, they finally made it up there in April.

The Current:

On the May long weekend (May 23rd was Victoria day in Canada), Stormi – our nearly 20 year young girl AKA the Queen – went into the emergency vet with anorexia and possibly a bladder infection.  She showed signs of improvement even before we left the vet and before we started the7 day course of antibiotics.  9 days later though, she was suddenly worse – vomiting and constipation.  I was having flashbacks of January and was an emotional wreck.   A second visit to emerg and a different vet on duty and she’s on the mend.   The first visit was likely a misdiagnosis – probably not a bladder infection – there was no bacteria in her sample – and the antibiotics probably helped loosen the constipation problem that was likely the original issue. (They both have similar symptoms in cats)  Once she was finished the antibiotics, the constipation problem returned.  We’re now managing her with diet, laxatives and supplements that are keeping this from repeating itself but the every 2 hour feedings are running me into the ground.  I’m slowly getting her used to a longer period between feedings which means I get more sleep and more opportunity to step out of the house to detox a little.

As to her quality of life: She’s purring and trilling and playing with her catnip toy (and my slippers…).  She even asked me for food a few hours ago.  🙂 🙂 🙂


Going forward:

  • At the beginning of May, I moved the Archaic Arcane website to a hosting company.  I realized I was spending too much time fighting spammers and hackers and that I was really not enjoying it.  Additionally there was a bug on the blog that I couldn’t find that was resulting in up to a minute to save or switch screens in the admin areas which lead to me getting distracted and walking away.  With the site hosted now, those distractions are gone and hopefully, I’ll get to post more.
  • Another Featherweight related pattern release!   I’ll detail more about that hopefully tomorrow.41
  • One of the suppliers I buy from has just become an Genziana supplier.  That means that I can buy their thread at wholesale and should be able to sell it to others.  For years, I’ve read/heard that Genziana is the same thread as Aurifil.  I don’t know for certain if it is or not but it sure handles pretty much identically.  This news makes me so happy.  The company sent me some samples of the 50 and 40wt threads and I have been testing it as time permits and providing feedback to my rep.   I will be detailing some of this on my blog as well soon. He also sent me 2 spools of their wool thread.  I’m trying to come up with some sort of project to test that  out.  Any suggestions? IMG_5230
  • I’ve begun knitting again.  I learned (poorly) as a child but took it up again relatively seriously this year.  It gives me something to do with my hands when I can’t be in the studio – like sitting in a doctor’s office, etc.  I’m currently working on this shawl and this afghan.  What I didn’t realize is that knitting would let me exercise my budding wood working skills too!  Now I just need more yarn to wind on my homemade yarn swift. 🙂 IMG_5629

I think that’s it.  Now that I look at it, I guess I’ve been accomplishing more than I’d thought.  I’ll try to post shorter posts more often for a bit and see if that gets me back in the groove here.

Today’s post title Richie Sambora – 7 years gone.

“The hour glass is broken
Sand is slipping through your hands
While you’re chasing what’s been stolen
Change is making, making other plans

Like the moth dances with the light
Sometimes a shadow burns too bright
Shattered silence in the night
You wake up, all gone”

8 thoughts on “Sand slipping through my hands – A 5 month update”

  1. Hi Tammi, I’m so sorry about Shadow. I know what it’s like to beat yourself up after the death of a pet. There is always something I wish I had done differently. In the case of Shadow I think the vet would have been able to tell the difference between subQ fluids and pleural effusion. While subQ may not have been indicated in a cat with fluid in the lungs, the body was sending fluid there when it shouldn’t have, and it would have done this no matter what. One of my cats, Sal, when he was 12 years old developed pleural effusion and a lump on his neck. The vet drained his lung and removed the lump which turned out to be a cancerous lymph node. Sal had lymphosarcoma. He felt much better after the fluid was drained but the vet said it would just come back. He said we could try chemotherapy at the Animal Medical Center. Since Sal was relatively young we decided to do it. Vet oncologists strive to administer small doses that won’t cause nausea, but Sal became anorexic from nausea (when they have an interest in food but won’t eat it — it’s nausea.) He lived only several weeks, with a fair amount of that time spent in a cage in the hospital because his white blood cells (I think) had become dangerously low (or high – I forget) and I wished I hadn’t done the chemo because he would have had a better quality of life without it. I also beat myself up over a few other things related to his care. Other people in my family don’t do this so it’s something we have in common (but I know it’s not uncommon.) But I know now that even if I didn’t follow the perfect course of action, I did do my best, and I did follow the advice of experts, and Sal was very sick. I think the same is true of you and Shadow. I recently found out that my 16 y.o cat, Baby has kidney disease. The vet called it “mild” but from what I’ve read online, based on her creatinine level she has about 25% kidney function. We’re giving her hills k/d as well as a bit of “regular” food. Her appetite is good but she is getting weak. I’m thinking of taking her to another vet for a second opinion on the diet we should be feeding her. Sorry to be so long winded in your blog! — Sheila

    1. Sheila, You’re right, it’s so hard to know there might have been more you could have done if you’d known other things. I try to remember I did the absolute best I could with what I knew at the time. The reason I think the subQs had something to do with it is the pattern I only saw after the fact. We were giving them 2 times a day. She would start having trouble about half an hour to an hour after them and it would start to subside throughout the day until we administered them again and the cycle would repeat. I didn’t make the connection in time though. That said, it’s better for me to second guess myself than for her to have suffered.

      It sounds like you did very well with Sal! He was clearly well loved. I lost my first girl (Gizmo) to cancer. We were treating her for CKD at the time and I was broadsided by some sort of cancer in her intestinal tract that caused her to go septic. It’s why I deal so badly with the “C” word.

      We’ve been treating Stormi for CKD for going on 4 years. Her numbers were similar to Baby’s (by the sound of it) when she was diagnosed. They function very well on compromised kidneys. In fact, most testing isn’t accurate enough to even detect it until it’s quite advanced and a lot of function is gone. That’s true of humans and cats.

      I read heavily on Tanya’s site when Gizmo was diagnosed:

      Aluminum Hydroxide was a game changer for Gizmo. She had trouble with her phosporus levels which caused nausea and other issues.

      Stormi hasn’t had trouble with phosphorus yet. She sees Dr. Gina At the Holistic Vet in Edmonton. They’ve gotten her levels down well below what she was at at diagnosis using Chinese herbs and a homemade diet. (Western medicine is an option if/when the time comes but right now, I’m flabbergasted by the results we’re seeing) And she’s gaining weight. Yes. A 20 year old (next week) kidney cat is gaining weight. Perhaps they would consider a consultation with your vet (I know they do that with vets around here) or can do something with you if you send the labs? Dr Steve Marsden (it’s his and his wife’s clinic) apparently lectures all over the world about holistic veterinary medicine.

      Don’t worry at all about long-winded! I love hearing from you!

  2. Wow you’ve certainly had a life-filled six months. I hope the next six months are better. Georgeous new machine, great job on the yarm swift, love the shawl pattern and your new featherweight pattern. I don’t have a specific pattern suggestion for the thread other than using a blanket stitch on an appliqué and doing some fancy type embroidery stitches.
    Here’s to a good week.

    1. Yeah, I’m unfortunately getting really good at ducking. I really hope that we’ve had the worst of the year already.

      I like your idea of the applique and the blanket stitch. It’s actually the one stitch I didn’t have on my vintage machines that I wanted on my Janome. I will see if I can get some play time in later this week and try it out! 🙂

      I hope you have a great week too!

  3. Tammi, you have had a tough time the first half of this year, what wuth the loss and and health scare of both your cats, your husband’s sirgery, being ill yourself. Please don;t think that you have to blog no matter what, it just becomes an added weight, instead of a welcome activity. Everybody knows, life happens when you are not looking. I remember you have health issues to deal with as well, Thank you for the videos. I avoid slant machines, but I like to know about them!
    I hope the Queen continues to improve and you have a more relaxed and tranquil second half of 2016. I am glad your hubby’s surgery was such a success.
    I am so pleased to hear from you again.
    Take care if yourself and family!

    1. Hey Karen, Thanks so much for your thoughts.

      The Queen is being her usual cantankerous self. I’m trying to ween her off the “Urgent care” (Hill’s A/D) food back onto her regular food and she’s unwilling to go past a 70:30 mix and only if I sit and hold a spoon up for her to lick it off. What a brat. 😉

      I don’t feel like I have to blog, it’s more that it’s something I got out of the habit of doing. I have more than 30 posts sitting in draft form waiting for me to complete them. Some may never get finished, some I really do want to finish but need to be in the right head space for. Then of course, there’s the stuff I run into daily that I want to talk about that I think will help people. 🙂

      The slants really are marvels, why do you avoid them?

  4. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved cat. I lost my dear friend catty Boo on Feb 1st of this year. It’s been a tough one, I miss him every day. I try to recall all of the love we shared for nearly 15 years. Thank you for your blog, you have helped me unjam many a slant needle singer.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss as well. They leave such a void when they go. While I have my bad days, I have a lot of wonderful memories as well and so many photos of her “helping” in the studio. I have plans of making a paper pieced or appliqued tribute to her to hang in here.

      I’m glad to hear I’ve been able to help you out. Those slants are wonderful when well maintained but sure can be a bear when they’re neglected.

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