Monday, October 27, 2008

My Dog Bridge

How could I say no to this face?
It was that time again so I pulled out a few kilos of turkey and chicken mince from the freezer which I had collected during the past month while it was on special and made a months worth of dog food. Some would say and one person did say to me directly, "How can you justify the time, effort and money spent on making your own dog food?"
Funny word that, 'justify', as if I had to defend my decision to do it. I wasn't committing an offence either legally or morally so why the question? Don't know!.. but as I have just lovingly cooked a few kilos of minced meat with vegetables, rice, eggs, pasta, rolled oats and flour it had me thinking as to why I do this and so I thought I'd write about it.
Many years ago while going through countless sessions of counselling to get to the nitty gritty of my emotional problems, a social worker asked me if I'd ever considered getting a dog. Well, yes of course I had, I love animals and I knew that they can play a vital part in a persons recovery from so many ailments. So as part of my therapy I decided to research different dog breeds with the view of getting a dog. It was several months before I came to the conclusion that I wanted a Maltese x. I put the notion out there in the universe and the very next week a friend knew of someone whose Maltese has just had a litter of Maltese - Shih-Tzu puppies. I went along to have a look and sat there with one female puppy, two weeks old and she sucked on my finger. I fell for this one immediately. Alas, she was taken but through luck or divine intervention the people who had picked her out changed their minds. She was mine! I brought her home at the age of 7 weeks and she never cried or got me up at night. I fretted before I got her that I would be stressed out looking after a puppy but we soon settled down into a happy rhythm. She was my little gift from God.
I began taking her for walks every morning. "Of course you did", I hear you say, but for me leaving my home was filled with fear sometimes. Depression and anxiety can have a marked affect on social interaction but I was amazed at how a puppy could break down the edges of my anxiety and I was soon interacting with people on the street and my neighbours again. What a joy this was!
I didn't start cooking her food until she was about 2 years old and I think I tried every dog food on the market. Yes, I had a fussy eater and was throwing out more food than she was eating. I found a recipe for making my own doggie chicken meatloaf and it was a hit the very first day. Rarely do I have to throw any out and in the long run she is getting better nutrition and I am saving money. And so if I were to justify the time, effort and money where my dog is concerned, which I'm not then I would have come up with two pretty damn good reasons.
Recently she was diagnosed as having something wrong with her, possibly Cushings disease and an estimated $2000 a year vet bill. Yikes! On a very limited income this scared and overwhelmed me a little. All her symptoms point towards Cushings disease but the blood tests were inconclusive. I went ahead and purchased the pills she needed to trial her on them for 50 days. She has now been on Trilostane for two weeks and the turn around in her health has been amazing to say the least. So I consider the $145 for 50 pills another investment in both her health and mine. If she was a guide dog for the blind she would receive this type of care and I put her at no less a value because she has improved my quality of life. Bridge, the little gift from god who helped me traverse the gorge of depression and anxiety.
(postdate: In retrospect this last bit is a tad over the top but you get my drift)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Polymer Clay Play

This is one of the things that still keeps me sane because while my hands are manipulating the clay to become pliable I can go off into a meditation and sometimes I see what the finished blob of clay will look like. Consequently being able to focus on what the clay will become calms me and excites me at the same time but of course sometimes my muse has other ideas. The endorphins like this process and they bounce around with renewed vigour. The first photo is of a lump of raw black Kato polymer clay and this block was a little crumbly but I got there. I like to recycle things so I used an asparagus can and covered it in clay which I textured first and then dusted with coloured mica powders.
The next set of photos is a 3 sided glass vase, which I picked up for 20c at an op shop, and covered it in Egyptian images. My version of the Egyptian afterlife. Definitely not a vase for brightly coloured flowers.

Friday, October 10, 2008

St. John's Wort

Update on withdrawal from antidepressants. Since completely coming off antidepressants I have noticed one or two side effects which were starting to get a bit scary for me. To start with this normally placid, funny, delightful human being was turning into a grouch, yes, me, a grouch. Well at times I was a little more than a grouch and most of my anger was directed towards me with some of the fallout landing near Mum and Dad. Dad just calmly said to me with a straight face, "Jan I know you lose your patience with me sometimes so I hope you find it again". The other side effect is nerve pain. It feels like I'm on the receiving end of a voodoo doll pin jabs. So when I told the doc today he prescribed St. John's Wort for me to get through this transition. So here's hoping! I like a doctor who is willing to concede that some natural remedies might be the answer for some people. I hope I'm one of them.

I started the TAFE course in building my own website and boy do I wish the class was in the mornings instead of 6 -9 pm. My brain simply doesn't function well at that time of night. I usually don't drink coffee after lunchtime but I think I am going to have to take a whole thermos of coffee into class with me. Unless someone out there can tell me what is good to refresh the brain at that time of night. I used to be one of these timid students who didn't like to admit that I couldn't understand something so kept quiet and hope and prayed that someone else would ask the pertinent question. I am now please to say that I don't have that problem anymore (about bloody time) and now I hear audible sighs of relief in the classroom because I am first to break the silence and ask the questions. Must be growing old that does it.
The last couple of days have been hard because my phone line had a fault in it, therefore I couldn't use the internet and that is two days without being able to ask Google questions or blog or email or anything.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Multiskilling, upskilling, cross skilling= downsizing?

The act of getting more out of one person so you can decrease staff and increase profits at the same time? Does that really make sense?

I am looking for a job but these words cause me some concern. I am a former teacher so if I wanted to go back into teaching it would mean upskilling in order to be employable again and then once employed to develop those skills further to become multiskilled or cross skilled to keep my job. I've decided I don't want to go back into teaching however there is not much available out there without experience. I need a job that enables me to be still available to care for Mum and Dad, to be here when they need me. Being self employed would be good and maybe one day that will happen. Next week I am starting a short course at TAFE College which is Dreamweaver web design for businesses. I've already started my web page but I need to learn some more so a friend and I are doing the class as we both have websites that need a lot of work. Who knows maybe that is the way to go. I love learning new things and I am really looking forward to doing this class.