Category Archives: Random thoughts on life

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon

Mr. Lennon was a wise man.

Before I tell my tale I’ll let you know that at this moment Luka is sleeping at my feet. This will become important in a moment.

Last weekend started out just like I had planned: a long hike and some swimming for the dogs on Saturday morning. By Saturday evening my plans were chugging along (watching a movie and knitting). Then, as midnight approached my plans went off the rails.

At 10:30 Saturday night Luka and I were speeding to town. Our destination: the animal emergency clinic.

He was admitted around midnight and at 4am Sunday he was in emergency surgery for an obstruction in his stomach. It turns out that what I thought was a scattering of garbage can contents on Thursday had really been an all-you-can-eat buffet. The paper products in my bathroom garbage can got stuck in his stomach. The vet said it was the second most difficult surgery of this kind she’d ever done.

That’s my boy: an overachiever.

Luka came home last night and today I’m living a new reality (at least for the next several days).

I’m working from home. (Thank goodness my workplace was supportive when I explained what had happened.)

My furniture is barricaded against Luka jumping on it.

chair

blocked couch

I’m spoon feeding my boy small amounts of fancy pants food several times a day.

food

I’m well on my way to starting my own pharmacy.

meds

The schedule for these drugs is so detailed that I’m using my phone to alert me when it’s time for a dose.

Keeping track of Luka's meds

Finally, my new reality includes living with a cone-head.

Luka is sick of the cone

Luka is also wearing a T-shirt to prevent Sadie from messing with his stitches.

Luka

Luka has accepted the cone and has quickly become adept at moving throughout the house and sleeping in it.

Luka sleeps

Milo, however, is taking no chances. He was nearly scooped up in the cone earlier today and quickly retreated under the table.

Milo under the table

Milo did venture closer to hang out with his buddy.

Luka and Milo

Sadie has been comforting Luka, too.

Buddies

Once this is crisis over I’m going to owe Sadie some special attention. My total focus right now is on Luka (I’m literally not letting him out of my sight) and I know she’s getting the shaft in terms of my time. She’s also sleeping in a crate instead of on my bed. Luka won’t fit in his crate with the cone on and I don’t trust Sadie to leave his stitches alone overnight. She is NOT happy sleeping in there but I’m taking no chances.

Life around here should be back to normal in a few weeks. I have a feeling they will be very long weeks.

I know that most of my readers have dogs. Are your garbage cans out where your dog can get to them? If they are: please, please, PLEASE secure them where the dog cannot get to them. Luka had never eaten garbage before and the first time he did it could have been fatal. Please learn from my mistake and put the cans away where your dog cannot get to them.

Finally, (to end on a humorous note), I have to ask: is Luka happy or is it the drugs?

Is he happy or is it just the drugs?

New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights. ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

I said this about last year, but I can’t believe I’m already looking back on 2009. It was another fast year and another year full of knitting.

I finished a sweater this year:

Cozy new sweater

Sadly, I haven’t worn it because the yarn grew a lot and it’s just too big. At some point I plan on ripping it out and using the yarn for a different sweater. (I adore this shade of green.)

I knit a blanket for a friend’s baby:

Close up

I knit a dog walking hat for a friend’s husband:

Hat

2009 was mostly the year of socks. I spent the first half of the year unemployed and I spent most of that time (when I wasn’t job hunting) knitting socks:

I have more socks on the needles.

This pair is almost finished:

Socks

I’m anxious to finish these socks because I love the color:

Socks

I’m also anxious to finish these socks because I love this pattern and this yarn:

Finished sock

I started this scarf and hope to finish it by next winter (I’m back to being obsessed with socks so it’s taken a back seat):

Scarf

I started out the new year with my 365 project and the intent to document the year by posting one picture every day. I lasted 139 days before my camera broke. When the camera was repaired I had lost interest in the project. So, 2009 taught me that I’m not as interested in photography as I thought I was. I do like to take pictures, but (if forced to make a choice) I would rather do other things.

When I did my end-of-the-year post on 12/31/08, I had one big wish for 2009: to get through the year without any of my pets dying. I’m happy to say that my wish came true.

Sadie has lost 18 lbs. since I adopted her and has discovered that she loves to run:

100b3162

Sadie hauls butt at the dog park

Kishka spent a lot of time this year doing the things that she loves most.

Rolling in the grass:

Kishka mid roll

Keeping the tennis ball away from Sadie:

Kishka looks behind her

And digging holes (note the dirty nose):

Kishka with a dirty nose

What did Romeo do this year? He bossed around his sisters and surveyed his kingdom.

Romeo

I’ll end this post (and this year) with one of my very favorite pictures. It was taken in the car on the way home from the dog park. They were both exhausted.

Uploaded from iPhone

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet. ~Colette

I have the best blog readers.  (Yes, I’m buttering you up.)   I’m always aware of how great you guys are, but you’re at your best when I’ve had to say goodbye to a furry friend.  Your comments that you’ve left at those times have touched me and moved me in ways I can’t express.

Since I have nothing for you today, could you please go give Monika some of your comforting words?    Monika had to say goodbye to one of her dogs and I’m sure she could use all the love she can get.   If you’re not a regular reader of hers and are concerned about seeming like a creepy stalker-person, just tell her that I sent you.

The dog that Monika had to say goodbye to was a German Shepherd named Sam.    I’ve always been especially fond of her Sam since I also used to have a German Shepherd named Sam.    I will miss seeing her Sam in her blog posts and reading about his antics.   He was a wonderful dog.

If you have the time, scroll through her blog and check out the pictures of her gorgeous dogs.  Besides Sam, she has a second white German Shepherd (Biko).    Monika adores them and that comes through in her photographs.

One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. ~ John Burroughs

Is it just me or did 2008 just fly by?  It seems like I was just posting my farewell to 2007 and it’s already time to bid 2008 goodbye.

All in all, 2008 was a pretty good year (for both knitting and my life in general).

I finally found my sock mojo:

And, I developed some sweater mojo:

I should be finishing another sweater soon:

I knit a bunch of wash/dishcloths:

And, I knit something I needed:

The highlight of 2008 was definitely finding Sadie.  She is such a joy to have around and I firmly believe that she was destined to be my dog.

Unfortunately, I did experience heartbreak again this year.  I had to say goodbye to my beloved Samantha.    My big wish for 2009 is to get through the year without any of my pets dying.   (It’s been a rough couple of years.)

Since I detail all of my projects on Ravelry, I’ve decided to do something different with this blog (well, at least for 2009).   For the next 365 days, I am going to take one picture a day and post it here.    I’ve decided I want to challenge myself to look more closely at the world around me and also to document each day in my life.    I have no idea what I’ll find to photograph each day, but I’ll figure it out.  I also want to experiment with Picnik and discover more of their editing tools (I tend to use the same ones over and over).      I’ll still do knitting posts from time to time, but for the most part this blog is going to become a picture blog.

Happy New Year!

Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out of it alive. ~ Elbert Hubbard

Wow.  Long time, no blog.

I am very overdue in thanking all of you who emailed and/or commented your condolences on the loss of my sweet Samantha.  Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that you care.  Every time I lose a pet (much too often lately) I’m always amazed at the wonderful people who take the time to contact me and let me know that they understand my pain.

As I told many of you:  while the loss of Samantha was awful, it was easier to deal with than the loss of Max.  Samantha lived a full life (13 years is a long life for a large dog) and her degenerative myelopathy never impacted the quality of her life.   For that, I am so very grateful.

I am also grateful that I adopted Sadie when I did.  I never would have if I had known how little time I had left with Sam, but Sadie continues to be the perfect addition to the family.   It’s also comforting to me that Samantha gave Sadie her stamp of approval.

Speaking of Sadie….

So far, she has lost 2 lbs.   That’s not much, but at least the scale is moving in the right direction!

One of the most charming things I’ve discovered about Miss Sadie is her love of sleeping on her back:

She also loves water:

Kishka continues to accept her new sister completely.

She’s even figured out that she’s the dominant dog now and she likes to boss Sadie around.

She also likes to get into mischief with Sadie.  Here they are checking out a bird’s nest:

Thankfully, Sadie can’t get her large butt over the fence and Kishka obeyed me when I told her to not even think about it.

Brace yourselves, I have actually have knitting content.

I’ve finished two washcloths and started a third for Warm The World:

I’ve even started a new blanket:

Details for all projects are on my Ravelry page.

Speaking of Ravelry…..

My love for the Ravelry forums has plummeted in the last few months.  When the forums first started I loved them because they were so different than all the other knitting forums that are out there on the internet.   I never post on any other knitting forum because they seem to be populated by whiny knitters who take themselves way too seriously.

Sadly, that is now my opinion of most of the Ravelry forums.  For example:  there are many knitters losing their shit (on multiple threads) over this article.    I thought the article was pretty funny, but that’s not my point.

I am absolutely amazed at all the people who have whipped themselves up into a frenzy over what someone else (and a stranger to boot) thinks of their hobby.   Are people really this insecure and/or that much of an egomaniac?

It’s knitting, people.  It’s not life or death.  Get over yourselves.

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Samantha Grace

Adopted: November 20, 1999

Died: April 25, 2008

Oh, Samantha. My sweet Sammie girl. Gracie. I was not ready to say goodbye to you.

Sam’s story begins, like all my critter stories do, at the Humane Society. I was looking for a German Shepherd and found Samantha. In all honesty, she looked rough. She was about 20 lbs. underweight and her nails were so long that they curled under her feet. She was 3 or 4 years old and was skittish as hell. I soon learned that she had a very strong fear of loud noises: thunder, voices, laughter, etc. I tend to be a loud person (in talking and especially laughing) and if I didn’t lower my voice, Sam would go running from the room.

After a rough start, Sam became best friends with my other Shepherd, Max. Those two did everything together and were rarely more than a couple of feet from each other. Their favorite activity together was playing ‘chase’ and wrestling:

If I had to sum up Sam in one sentence I would say that she lived life with gusto and it was a joy to watch how much fun she had every single day.

Samantha loved fetch more than any dog I’ve ever known.

A few years ago I decided to see how long she could play fetch before getting tired of it. At about 90 minutes into this experiment, my arm cried ‘uncle’, but Sam was still running at full speed. While she slowed down a lot in the past couple of years, Sam was still playing fetch last weekend.

Sam also loved car rides. I’ve had dogs that have liked riding in the car, but usually only sat up for a couple of minutes and then settled in for a nap. Not Sam. She sat at attention the whole time and the look of happiness on her face always made me smile.

Samantha also loved water and loved to play with the water hose in the summer (with my help, of course):

Samantha was a digger. Soon after I moved into this house, she excavated a hole under the deck:

She spent many hot summer days under the deck. She also had a spot in the backyard that she dug on a regular basis. She was a serious digger, too. When the hole in the backyard would get 3-4 feet deep, I would sneak outside and fill it in. In just a day or two, it would be dug out again. Then we’d repeat the dance: me filling in the hole and her digging it out again. I think she enjoyed this routine as much as I did.

To say that Samantha loved toys would be an understatement.

The dog was just bonkers about stuffed animals. After any major stuffed animal holiday (Easter, Valentine’s, etc.) I would hit those 75% off sales and buy up stuffed animals by the dozen.

Samantha could (and would) spend hours just watching out the window.

She always notified me immediately of any danger: the neighbor’s cat in the yard, a loose dog running by or the garbage men stealing our stuff.

Sam was insanely obedient. I had total voice control over her and she always obeyed the first time I gave her a command. When we went on walks she would hear an approaching car and immediately move to the side of the road. Sam started losing her hearing a couple years ago and for the last year or so she’s been almost totally deaf (except for very loud or very high pitched noises). Luckily, I teach my dogs hand signals along with voice commands, so I was able to communicate with her. Sam also taught herself a pretty cool trick. One night she didn’t come inside with her sisters, so I got the flashlight out to find her in the yard. The second she saw the flashlight beam she ran inside. That became my command for her to come inside after dark.

My furry family would eventually include Kishka. Samantha and Kishka weren’t as close as Max and Sam, but they enjoyed each other’s company. Their favorite activity was sleeping side by side:

Sam and Sadie were just beginning their relationship, but it was already off to a good start.

Late last year, Samantha was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. When that happened, I feared the worst. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. Samantha’s DM never progressed very far. She did stumble sometimes, but she was able to go for walks and play fetch right up until the end. For that, I am extremely grateful.

Samantha taught me so much about life: how to live life with enthusiasm and to not let past disappointments ruin a chance for happiness in the future.

Thank you, Samantha, for eight and a half wonderful years. You were a complete joy every single day. I will miss watching you eviscerate your stuffed animals. I will miss falling asleep at night to the sound of your soft snores. I will miss how your eyes sparkled when we went on walks. I will miss your anticipation when I picked up a tennis ball, frisbee or the garden hose. I will miss seeing the dirt fly as you dug to China. I will miss arriving home and seeing your happy face pop up in the front window.

Most of all, I’ll just miss you. Your gentle spirit and lust for life brightened every day of my life. You were loved and adored as much as any dog could be. Rest in peace, my sweet girl.

Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative. ~ Mordecai Siegal

I’d like to introduce you to Sadie.

Sadie is five years old. Samantha, Kishka and I brought her home from the Humane Society yesterday. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I stopped at the Humane Society Thursday night after work. I’ve been thinking about another cat and/or another dog for a little while now. I decided to check out the cats (since the last thing I thought I needed was another dog).

I checked out all the cats. Twice. And none of them caught my eye. There were plenty of older cats (over age 8), but none of them felt like my cat.

There was a row of dogs across from one of the rows of cats and a yellow lab caught my eye. I’ve never thought about a lab, but I certainly wasn’t opposed to it. She was five years old (the perfect age since she’s not too young, yet younger than Kishka) and I couldn’t stop staring at her. I assumed it was just general dog lust, so I looked at all the dogs that were there.

I found myself back where I started: staring at this yellow lab until the announcement came that it was closing time (when I arrived it was already too late to adopt or even visit an animal so that’s why I was just watching her).

I thought about this dog all evening and decided I’d let Sam and Kish make the decision for me. Odds were, either they wouldn’t like her or she wouldn’t like them. Sam and Kish had met another dog last month and that dog hated Kishka. I was probably getting all worked up for nothing.

The next morning, I was at the Humane Society when they opened. I met the yellow lab and knew instantly that if the dog meeting didn’t work out, I would be very disappointed. She was just a bundle of love and I adored her the moment I met her. Sam and Kish had the last vote, though. If that meeting didn’t go well, this dog wasn’t mine.

The Humane Society worker took her outside and I brought the girls around to meet her. Everyone sniffed and then they ignored each other. Perfect! I breathed an audible sigh of relief and the Humane Society worker smiled and said, “I think she’s perfect for you and your family”.

I went inside, completed the paperwork and walked out with a new furry friend.

I immediately began soliciting my friends for possible names (her name was Annie, but it didn’t suit her and she didn’t answer to it). There were many good ones in contention, but Sadie seems to suit her the best. I’m working on getting her to answer to it and so far, it’s working.

I know it’s impolite to speak of a lady’s weight, but Sadie is, well, enormous. She goes to the vet next Saturday and I’m dying to know how much she weighs. My first goal is to get her down to a healthy weight. She’s so large that she has a hard time just sitting, the poor girl.

I’m always so saddened at the number of wonderful animals at the Humane Society. It really was mind boggling. If you’re thinking about a new furry friend, please check out your local shelters. There are literally dozens (often hundreds) of fantastic dogs and cats and they are just waiting for you.

This is a huge soapbox topic for me. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been told that shelter dogs are inferior to dogs from breeders. That just isn’t true. In fact, I think they’re better than dogs from breeders. Besides the cost (I could never justify paying a breeder the insane amount of money that they charge), these dogs just seem to be so grateful to have a second chance.

Author Peter Mayle said it best: “A found dog never takes anyone or anything for granted. Somewhere deep in the recesses of the orphan psyche, never entirely forgotten even after years of good living and kindly, obedient owners, memories of hard times linger. And this….tends to give lost and found dogs a special appreciation of what the world can offer.”

If you go to the shelter, please consider an older dog. Yes, puppies are cute, but they’re also a lot more work and a crap shoot in terms of personality. When I met Sadie, I was able to see her personality and know that she would be a perfect fit for me and my girls.

There’s another perk to adopting an older dog: she slept through the night last night and is house trained.

She also snores like a freight train. :)

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~ Bill Vaughan

Before I bid 2007 a fond farewell, let’s take a quick look at what I knit during this year. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was fond of knitting pairs this year…..

A pair of blankets:

A pair of unfortunate felted items:

Two pairs of fingerless mitts:

A pair of hats (and then realized I hate to knit hats):

Sing it with me…..FIVE KNITTED SCARVES……

And finally (drum roll, please), thirteen pairs of socks!

I don’t set goals (knitting or otherwise) for the new year, but my current knitting plan is to finish my Central Park Hoodie:

It’s New Year’s Eve and I am very happy to bid goodbye to 2007. In regards to the quote in this post’s title: tonight, I will staying up to make sure 2007 leaves. There’s no two ways about it. This year has sucked. It has been the worst of my life.

I said goodbye to my Michigan Kitty and to my Once In A Lifetime dog. I miss both of them every single day. However, I can look at pictures/videos of them and smile. I’m so lucky to have had such wonderful animals in my life.

Also this year, I learned that the disease that struck down Max is also stalking Samantha. Samantha is doing okay. The recent bout of cold weather has been tough on her, but hopefully it warms up soon.

I’ve been battling hip and back problems for most of this year. However, there is some good news about this. My hip problems have completely healed. My back problem, however, will likely continue for the rest of my life. But, there is good news about this (really). To keep my back pain at bay, I have to work out every other day. I never would have predicted this. I am soooo not a ‘working out’ kind of girl, but it keeps me out of pain, so I do it religiously. I don’t enjoy it (in fact, I hate nearly every second of it), but I do it and I feel fantastic.

There have been other horrible things that have happened this year (which I haven’t blogged about). Thankfully, there are good things happening as a result of these bad things, too.

I am hopeful that 2008 will not just be a lot better than 2007, but will be a fantastic year.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. ~ Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001)

 

The Felted Bag From Hell is settled into its new home:

 

 

 

I’m making progress on the Summer of Scraps blanket. I have a feeling the finished blanket will either be gorgeous, or it will look like a gaggle of clowns threw up:

 

 

 

Another blanket has come off the needles:

 

A Gem of a Blanket

 

What: A Gem of a Blanket

Yarn: 3.5 skeins of Red Heart Soft in the color Gem
Needles: size 11

Pattern: Diagonal Baby Blanket

Date started: 6/24/07

Date finished: 8/21/07

Size: 33″ x 35″, 48″ diagonal

Lesson Learned: None. A quick, easy, enjoyable knit.

Destination: Warm The World

 

 

Samantha’s favorite toy is a tennis ball. She was playing with one last night and when I walked down the hall I discovered that she’d stashed it in a safe place:

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by vanity license plates, but here are two more I’ve seen this week:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday’s Feast:

 

Appetizer
Say there’s a book written about your life. Who would you want to narrate the audio version?
Katharine Hepburn. Yes, I know she’s dead, but having her reading the audio version of a book about me is about as likely a a book being written about me!

Soup
Take the letters from your favorite kind of nut and write a sentence. (Example: Perhaps every avenue needs understanding today.)
Stupid question. Next!

Salad
If you could go back in time and spend one week in another decade, which decade would you choose?
I’m a bit of a bonnethead, so I’d pick the 1860’s.

Main Course
Name a song that brings back memories for you.
The Boys of Summer. I love this song and have from the moment I first heard it: I was riding up a ski lift on a sunny, Saturday morning. I was listening to Casey Kasem‘s American Top 40 on my Walkman and the second the song started it mesmerized me. It still does

Dessert
Do you prefer to wash your hands in cold water or warm water?
Warm water.

Finally….Kishka naps:

 

 

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. ~ Aristotle

Yesterday was the monthly meeting of Warm The World. You can read all about it here.

It was a gorgeous day for a drive. I saw Jordan:

I was almost home when a field of wildflowers caught my eye:

Since the great catastrophe of the felted bag, I’ve been licking my wounds with a variety of activities. Knitting on A Gem of a Blanket:

I’ve also been cleaning up a murder scene:

Making fun of Kishka, the lazy eater:

And taking pictures of Samantha:

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