The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. ~ G.K. Chesterton

Goodbye, 2011.

Sunset

In 2010′s year-in-review post I closed with these words:  “My life has been such a roller coaster in recent years that I no longer try to imagine where each new year will take me. I have no idea where I’m going in 2011 but I’m looking forward to the journey.”

I was a wise woman a year ago.

2011 was a wild year.

When I think of 2011 I think of one word:  expensive.

In June I bought a new (to me) car.   I knew exactly the type of car that I wanted and more than one arrogant salesman told me I’d never find it.

Ha!

Riding in style

Not only did I find it, but I found it in less than one week.

The moral to this story: never underestimate a crazy dog lady.

My other major expense came in September when Luka had emergency surgery. I may grumble and gripe about how much that dog cost me but I am so very thankful he made a full recovery.

Luka hanging out in his crate

Despite Luka’s attempt at death-by-garbage, 2011 was a year where I did not experience the loss of a pet.  (Long time blog readers know that such years have been rare lately.)   I am so happy that everyone is here and (most importantly) healthy.

Sadie lost 4 lbs. this year for a total of 32 lbs. since I adopted her.   Ideally, the vet said she should lose a couple more pounds but she’s finally at the point where she’s at a healthy weight.  Her obesity left its mark (arthritis in her knees) but it doesn’t really bother her and she continues to love to run.

Sadie

With the notable exception of September, it’s been a good year for Luka.   The furry guy continues to surprise me (in good ways).

Just a few days ago I pulled over to let an ambulance pass.  As the vehicle approached (lights flashing and siren wailing) I suddenly heard a low, mournful howl from the back of the car.  Luka was wooing!  It was only the second time he’s done it and it was so cool. He’s a challenging, silly boy and I’m so happy he’s okay.

Luka

As I hoped for last year, Romeo and Milo have become friends.

Romeo and Milo

They play together nearly every day and while Milo sometimes gets too rough (Romeo is 15 so I’m very watchful of their playing) they also enjoy quiet moments together.

Cats watching birds

The biggest pet shocker of this year has been the taming of Luka at the hands paws of Milo.   I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would ever see this in my house.

Buddies

Luka still has his moments of being a jerk to the cats (he loves to chase them) but these moments are now rare and usually stop with a Milo paw to the face.

This taming of Luka has led to Romeo becoming more outgoing. Romeo doesn’t have claws, but I don’t think Luka realizes that. All Romeo has to do is pick up his paw and Luka stops being a pain.

To say that Milo is a joy is an understatement.  He has been the perfect addition to the family and I am so glad I found him.

Milo

There wasn’t a lot of knitting this year.  I finished four pairs of socks and one scarf.

Picnik collage
Finished Scarf

One sweater is still in progress.

Sweater

My yarn diet is nearly intact after two years.  I only broke it this year to buy the Homespun needed for the above scarf.

The summer of 2011 was another summer of adventure. Each weekend was spent exploring the trails

Sadie and Luka

and splashing in the water.

Sadie and Luka

Our hiking season came to a screeching halt when Luka had surgery but as soon as the snow melts in the spring we’ll be back on the trails.

Where we were

I have no idea what 2012 will bring.

I just hope it’s calm.

Cheyenne Mountain

Idleness is not doing nothing. Idleness is being free to do anything. ~ Floyd Dell

Remember when this used to be a knitting blog? Let’s (briefly) return to those days.

This is the Purple Ass Burr Scarf.

Finished Scarf

Earlier this month I got a burr in my ass about knitting a purple Homespun scarf. I cannot explain it. It’s something I had to do. So I bought the Homespun (my first yarn purchase in nearly two years) and banged out the scarf in a couple of days.

Finished Scarf

It’s exactly what I wanted but I haven’t worn it yet. I can’t explain that, either, but it’s done so I’m happy. Full details are on its Ravelry page.

Over six months ago I dyed this sock blank.

Sock blank

Last night I finally finished the socks.

Finished socks

These socks are fraternal on purpose. I knit each sock from a different end of the sock blank. I didn’t want to lose any of the blank colors and that was the best solution. Full details on the Ravelry page.

Finished socks

I’m in the middle of my annual vacation from work. My workplace shuts down for 10 days at the end of the year. I added some vacation time to that so I’m enjoying 17 days at home. Like last year, I’m realizing just how much Sadie loves the couch.

Sleeping Sadie

Sleeping Sadie

Sleeping Sadie

She has been sharing the couch with Milo.

Milo and Sadie

I love the look on her face in this picture.

Sadie

Luka has been no slouch in the relaxation department.

Luka

It’s a rough vacation around here, but we’re all managing. :)

Luka

Determine to live life with flair and laughter. ~ Maya Angelou

After a long streak of cold weather it was nearly summer-like over the weekend. The dogs and I took advantage of it and hit the dog park.

Sadie and Luka

It was warm enough for me to kick back and take in the view.

Enjoying the day

The dogs ran themselves silly. Once they calmed down Luka found a tennis ball and kept himself amused for nearly half an hour.

Luka

Luka

Luka

Luka

Luka

Luka

At one point the ball went under the ice and Luka had to work to retrieve it.

Luka

Luka

He finally found it and jumped out of the stream.

Luka

And then he nearly poked his eye out.

Luka

Luka

Sadie did a bit of splashing in the water.

Sadie and Luka

But at this point she was quite tired and ready to go home.

Sadie and Luka

Sadie

Luka finally tired himself out and fell asleep shortly after we’d left the park.

Luka is tired

The recent cold weather has meant a lot of sleeping around here.

Sadie

Milo

Sadie

Milo

The cold weather has brought out the snugly side of Milo.

Milo

Finally, Romeo let me snap a picture of his gorgeous blue eyes.

Romeo

This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was recently pointed out to me that I have not blogged in a long time (thank, Kelli!). During this time away I updated my Blogroll (on the bottom right side of the page). This is a list of my very favorite blogs. Check them out if you’re looking for new blogs to read. They are all wonderful.

Even thought Luka was released to full activity last month the dogs and I just returned to the dog park last week. While we’ve gone twice in that time, it’s been too cold to use my camera. So, this post is a random assortment of pictures taken at home and a few lower quality pictures taken with my phone.

Last month I had my furnace serviced. When the service guy had the furnace taken apart Milo was obsessed with climbing inside. I tried to explain to him that “curiosity killed the cat” is a cliche because it’s true, but he didn’t listen. So, I put him in jail.

Milo in jail

Now that cold weather is here Milo’s favorite afternoon perch is in the sunshine.

Milo

Once the sun goes down he resumes his sprawling.

Milo

Milo

I’m still amazed that Milo has tamed Luka. Luka used to be obsessed with chasing cats. When I brought Milo home last year I never in a million years thought I’d ever see this:

Buddies

They have moments that end with Luka getting clawed across the face but for the most part they peacefully co-exist.

Buddies

I’m not sure either of them would admit it, but I think they’re pretty good friends.

Buddies

Luka is a pretty popular guy when the weather turns cold. Sadie discovered that his tail makes a great pillow.

Sadie sleeps on Luka's tail

And, the close up:

Luka's fluffy tail makes a good pillow

I love this picture of Sadie and Luka.

Sadie and Luka

This portrait of Luka was achieved by holding a treat behind the camera. :)

Luka

The dogs and I hit the road for Thanksgiving. Sadie enjoyed hanging out with one of her cousins.

Sadie and Lucy

All the dogs supervised the carving of the turkey.

Lucy and Luka supervise the turkey carving

Supervising the carving of the turkey

At the dog park this weekend I recorded this video. These eight short seconds sum up what I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving: my boy is healthy.

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. ~ Albert Schweitzer

Four weeks ago tonight Luka had surgery. Today, finally, he was released to full activity.

I took him to a nearby school to take advantage of their fully fenced grounds.

I set the beast free.

Luka

Luka

Luka

I think he’s happy.

Luka

It’s going to take some time before we’re back to walking three miles a day and hiking on the weekends, but we are on our way.

During the time off from our long daily walks Sadie has been following Milo’s lead and practicing for the Sleep Olympics.

Sadie

Sadie

This is her favorite place to sleep: snuggled up against my leg.

Sadie

As cute as Sadie is, she is still not as skilled as Milo when it comes to sleeping.

Milo

Milo

Milo

I have been knitting and I finally took pictures.

The latest socks.

Socks

And a sweater.

Sweater

Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy. ~ Anne Frank

What a difference a day makes.

Last night: sad cone-head.

Sad conehead

This afternoon: happy boy.

Luka

Before:

Luka

After:

Luka - The Dog Formerly Known As Conehead

Today was an exciting day: Luka’s stitches were removed! I can now transition him back to regular food and we can go for two 15 minute walks a day. He still can’t run or go outside off leash (two more weeks before he’s released to full activity), but it’s very exciting.

I’ve put my house back together (I had to move all of the living room and bedroom furniture to accommodate the cone) and we’ve gone on our first walk. To say walking made Luka happy is an understatement:

Happy Luka after his first walk in two weeks

I was able to get a picture of Luka’s cute shaved belly and his scar (the scar isn’t really jagged…it’s just how he’s positioned).

Luka shaved belly and scar

Going back a few days…Luka’s been on a chicken and rice diet. I was boiling chicken earlier this week and Luka took it upon himself to supervise the operation.

Luka guarding the chicken cooking on the stove

Sadie is quite bored with all of the attention I’ve showered on her little brother.

Sadie

Sadie had a check up today, too, and the ulcer on her eye is fully healed.

I don’t think Milo has noticed that the cone is gone. He’s still hanging out under the table.

Milo hanging out under the table

I didn’t realize until I brought stiches-free Luka home how stressed I’ve been about him opening his incision. I’ve spent the last two weeks hovering over him. When I was at work I worried if he was behaving at home. During the night I checked on him every time he stirred. I guess you could say I’ve been holding my breath for two weeks.

Finally, I can exhale.

Luka

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. ~ Thomas Paine

The patient continues his recovery.

Luka

He’s off all of his medicines and now the challenge is to keep him calm until the stitches come out on Saturday. He’s very, very bouncy and really wants to play/run/jump. I’m doing a lot of sitting on my butt watching TV because when I do that he’s content to sleep or just sit quietly.

Luka

Sadie is also doing well. Her eye appears to be back to normal (she’s also going to the vet on Saturday for a check up) and the Benadryl has stopped her from chewing on her feet. She also loves the daily dose of pumpkin.

Sadie

I’ve gone back to work and the dogs are behaving hemselves. Not surprisingly (since I’m sure my immune system is shot from all the recent stress and worrying) I’ve been attacked by a viscous cold. This works will with my “sit on my butt” plan, though. The downtime has allowed me to go through 400+ pictures on my camera.

These are my favorites. (They were all taken before Luka’s surgery.)

I don’t think I will ever get tired of Milo and how he relaxes.

Milo

Milo

No modesty Milo

Milo

Milo is also cute when he’s not sprawled immodestly all over the furniture.

Milo

One day Milo was sitting in the window cackling at the birds playing in the water dish out on the deck. Romeo heard the commotion and checked it out.

Romeo and Milo

The smug look on Romeo’s face is because he shoved Milo aside and took his spot.

Romeo and Milo

Romeo is a very shy kitty. I’m always happy when I can snap a picture of him.

Romeo

Milo and Luka both love to lie in front of the open screen door. Look who’s got the prime spot right in front of the door. :)

MIlo and Luka

We’ve only missed one weekend, but I already miss our weekend adventures. It will be some time before we can resume them.

I love watching Sadie and Luka enjoy the water.

Sadie and Luka

Sadie and Luka

Luka

Sadie

Sadie often plays so much that she has to sneak a quick nap while Luka is off playing.

Sadie

Occasionally Luka becomes obsessed with playing fetch. This doesn’t happen often and so far it’s only happened at the reservoir. He won’t fetch into the water…only along the shore.

Sadie and Luka

Luka

Luka

I LOVE this picture of Luka.

My ball!

More than anything, Luka loves to run. (I cannot wait to watch him run again.)

Luka runs

Sadie and Luka

Our hikes always lead to the dogs sleeping on the way home.

On the ride home

On the ride home

A nice portrait of Sadie.

Sadie

And of both of them.

Sadie and Luka

Finally, a once in a lifetime picture (so far). This is the only time I’ve ever seen Luka lying on his back. It didn’t last long, but at least I captured the moment.

Luka

Once his stitches come out I will try to get him to do this again to show off his scar.

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles. ~ Charlie Chaplin

The good news: Luka’s recovery is going very well.

Luka

The bad news: Luka’s recovery is going very well and he’s getting quite bouncy. Yesterday he tried to jump up on the chair to watch the garbage men steal our stuff. This morning he reared up on his hind legs (something he does when he’s really excited) and later he chased Milo (who ran like hell from the cone-head coming after him).

He saw his regular vet on Thursday and his incision looks “really, really good”. His stitches come out next Saturday (October 1). Until then, he’s on a bland diet (chicken and rice…he loves this) and is restricted from all activity (he does not like this).

I took Sadie along to the vet to have some recent issues checked out. Now I know why she’s looked sad for the past few days: she has an ulcer on one of her eyes (ointment three times a day), allergies are what was making her chew her feet (Benadryl three times a day) and her anal glands were so full they were nearly abscessed (1/2 cup pumpkin once a day). She is much happier now.

Sadie

Milo continues to hang out with his buddy.

Milo and Luka

Milo and Luka

The quality of this last picture isn’t great, but I think it’s really sweet. They were sitting there dozing together while I watched TV.

Buddies

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?

In summer, the song sings itself. ~ William Carlos Williams

It’s been a summer of adventure around here.

Sadie and Luka

Every weekend has been spent hitting the trails.

Sadie and Luka

I enjoy hiking on the trails while the dogs prefer to run around like wild animals.

Sadie and Luka

Sadie and Luka

Sadie and Luka

Sadie and Luka

A few weeks ago our weekend adventure became a little too exciting. We were enjoying a walk through the forest when the dogs took off through the underbrush. This isn’t unusual. They often take off and chase rodents or birds.

I stopped to wait for them. The dogs had run down into a ravine so I was up on hill looking down at them. All of a sudden, movement in a tree (about 50 yards in front of me) caught my attention. Sitting in that tree (and looking right at me) were three black bear cubs. The dogs were at the base of the tree, jumping up and trying to get at the bear cubs.

Yes, my dogs treed three bear cubs. Clearly, they have a death wish.

I was remarkably calm as terror swept through every cell of my body. Where there are bear cubs, there is a mama bear. Mama bears are big. Mama bears are not very happy when their cubs are threatened. Mama bears can run 30mph. I am not a petite person (I’m nearly 6′ tall), but I’m no match for an adult bear. I quickly looked behind me (fully expecting to see mama bear) but saw nothing.

I called the dogs to me. Sadie came immediately. Luka ignored me and kept trying to climb the tree to get at the cubs. I called him twice more and the third time he ran back to me. I pointed down the trail and shouted “Go! Run!”. I have no idea why they obeyed a command they’d never heard before (perhaps they could hear the fear in my voice and/or were shocked that I was yelling at them) but the dogs took off running and did not leave the trail. They just ran.

I did not run (running around a bear is not smart) but I walked as quickly as I could. (Side note: I had no idea I could move that fast with a 20lbs. backpack.) I constantly checked over my shoulder to see if mama bear had found us. We kept up this pace for a couple of miles until we reached the reservoir. It was only then that I realized how horribly the whole thing could have ended. As the dogs splashed in the water I sat on the sand and trembled.

Sadie

Sadie and Luka

Luka

Sadie and Luka

Sadie

Sadie and Luka

The weather has cooled off a tiny bit (instead of being 100, it’s only 90) so the dogs have been able to do more running/playing. They especially love to play and run on the beach.

Chasing

Running

Running

Playing

Here’s a series of pictures of the dogs playing. I didn’t expect all of these pictures to come out, but they did and I like the story they tell.

Luka asks Sadie to play.

Playing

Sadie responds.

Playing

Sadie comes to a sudden stop and nearly gets taken out by Luka.

Playing

They start running together.

Playing

Running off together

Sadie veers off to come back to me while Luka keeps running.

Sadie veers off.  Luka keeps running

Luka realizes his buddy is missing.

Luka realizes Sadie turned around

Luka turns to catch up

And he runs to catch up.

Luka runs to catch up

Luka catches up

During our adventures I’ve managed to snap some nice portraits of both dogs.

Sadie

Luka

I love how happy Sadie looks in this picture.

Sadie strikes a pose

Meanwhile, Luka looks like he just wants me to hurry up.

Luka

I like these close up shots, too.

Sadie

Luka

Sadie

Luka

Finally…Milo’s training for the sleep Olympics continues at a very strong pace.

Milo

Milo

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