January 24, 2012

Small Projects

Hey, knitting going on!

I cast on for Grandma's birthday socks. There is no question that she gets socks because she didn't get them for Christmas again and was not happy.

I also whipped up a quick infinity scarf for Mom because she likes them and will be in Oregon's wine country in a few months with her friends so I think she could use it. I believe this is a Rowan yarn but I've had it for years. It is a lovely, loosely spun creamy white with a strand of ribbon running through it. The ribbon goes from light blue to navy. I think it will be really pretty with Mom's long silver hair. This is just a simple seed stitch and I just kept going until I ran out of yarn.

The lighting is terrible in this picture because it is such a grey, dark day. Even for Oregon it is grey and rainy. (better color representation here)

I have so much yarn stash and I really want to embark on a reduction project. Weed out the clothes, shoes, books, etc. But this should include my yarn which is overflowing one closet, the tops of bookcases, under the desk, and on and on. I think, at the very least, I will try to eat up those onesie twosie skeins I accumulated with the idea that I would do a hat or scarf. If I do one of those a month and give it away to someone, it chips away at it a little. I still need to do a major purge.

This Saturday I'm going to haul it all out of all the nooks and crannies and halve it (at the very LEAST). I'll take a picture of the before to blow your mind and then I'll start posting it on Ravalry and eBay. Probably should have done this in the Fall...

Gratuitous greyhound picture to distract from my hoarding project. I piled up the dog beds to vacuum and my old girl, Sapphire (who turned 15 last month) managed to get up there and claim the pile as her own. Pretty good considering her shakey hind end!

October 27, 2011

New Normal

I honestly haven't dropped off the Earth. It's just been a busy summer. I changed jobs and stepped up my work with a non-profit I've been working with and then there has been lots of dog drama.

My Sapphire is 15 years old and has a weak, wobbly hind end so I'm steeling myself for the worst with her. She had a dental this summer which actually went very well. It cost me a small fortune because she had some teeth extracted and I had them perform acupuncture on her while she was out to help her recovery. That was totally worth every penny by the way. She did fantastic! But she has not ended up being the drama this summer.

Last month my 5 year old greyhound, Daisy, developed neck problems. We spent a lot of time going to and from the vet trying various treatments. In the end it ended up being a hemangiosarcoma which meant I had to let her go. We had a hellish night at the emergency vet while it was being diagnosed. The very next night I was back at the emergency vet with Daisy's brother Frankie because he was having a bad reaction to donating blood (he made a donation the night before briefly saving Daisy's life until we realized what was wrong with her). I was terrified I was going to lose him too and it was just too much.

Daisy and Frankie. Daisy is looking at the camera.

That was a few weeks ago and Frankie is fully recovered (including putting back on 9lbs he lost while he was recovering) and I think he is recovering from losing his sister too. We are adjusting to our new normal as big a hole as there seems to be.

I've also taken up kickboxing and I'm having a ball. I get bored easily with the exercise but I work in a cubicle and most of my hobbies involve sitting (more computer stuff and knitting) so I have been desperate to find some activity I enjoyed that would get me back into shape! The kickboxing program is pretty aggressive and means I'm working out 5-6 days a week. I'm lucky I found a dojo right by my house (I could walk to it) and the people I work out with are fun and I don't mind seeing them at Good-Lord-o'clock in the morning.

I started at a level that hardly counts as any level of fitness. I knew I would have to just suck it up and accept that I was the oldest, slowest, and fattest person in class. And I am. But every morning I just push aside that embarrassment and I go. I've had some small victories that are actually pretty huge for me. For example, they do an assessment in the beginning to see where you are starting. I suspect they shouldn't have even let me into the class but I kind of jollied them along to distract them and get in. At the assessment I was able to do 7 sit ups. Yup. Just 7. Even I was shocked. Now in class I'll do 50 sit ups, 50 crunches, 50 reverse crunches and 50 quads all in a row while holding a 10 lb. medicine ball. I'm about to move up to a 12 lb. ball too. Phew! It is amazing how quickly you can correct a loss of mobility like that.

Sometimes it is harder than others and there have been a few times where I had to stop for a bit because I was about to throw up. I didn't tell anyone (I'm still afraid they will kick me out) but I'm really working to my max and am feeling really proud of this achievement. I know I've lost some weight but I'm trying not to keep track. I have taken off inches (at least 1 inch all around except the waist which lost 2) and I have funny moments where I'll do something like scratch my shoulder and get really confused about a strange lump before I realize it is a muscle trying to pop out!

So yeah, my household is looking a bit different. Level of knitting has been really low. I was doing so good with a Christmas present a month and then things just got so chaotic. I need to (at the very least) get a pair of socks done for Grandma who gave me a hard time last year when she didn't get her expected pair. She may get confused about most things but she never forgets that she was promised a pair of hand-knit socks.

Here is hoping things are well for you and yours. Are you ready for the holidays yet? I'm in my usual denial so stay tuned for the complete panic attack that is sure to happen in T minus 30 days and counting...

June 01, 2011

Pecan Cakes and Rooing

I have very little food storage space in my kitchen. I desperately need a pantry but that problem just isn't a post. What IS my post is the fact that my one food cupboard has begun bulging with baking ingredients. I'm sure it is due to my reading through all of the Yarnstorm archives. This is a lovely, beautifully photographed blog with tons of baked goods. I have a file FULL of recipes that I've scribbled down when she provides them and I couldn't wait for the US version of her cookbook. Because of all my baked good lust, my cupboard is absolutely overflowing with flower, sugar, nuts, and oatmeal. So I tried to whip up a basic cookie. I wanted something nutty and oatmealy with that brown sugar flavor. I didn't have the proper butter. I had a soft butter SPREAD which I adore on my toast but was clearly too soft for a cookie structure. Even my untrained eye could tell these cookies weren't going to hold up. However, I marched ahead (because why admit there is a problem?) and ended up with these.

Now the good news is, these were delicious. The bad news is, they had kind of a strange texture. They weren't very sweet at all (which I love) and they were a little cakey. So I poured the rest of the batter into a 9x9 pan and tried it as a coffee cake.

This worked much better. The texture was about spot on for a dense, little cake. Very coffee cake-ish (if a little dry, which is why you need the coffee/tea). I put in chopped pecans so the cake had this wonderful pecan flavor. I love pecans in baked goods. I'll finish a bag of Pecan Sandies before chocolate chips any day. Even though I loved that it wasn't very sweet, it was calling for something to finish it. A cream cheese frosting. I tried to whip up a cream cheese frosting and was again faced with a runny finished product. I poured it over the cake anyway and called it a cream cheese glaze. It looked pretty and tasted absolutely wonderful. The only thing I would do differently would be to poke a bunch of holes in the cake so the glaze would run down and leave lovely little, tangy columns of glaze in the cake.

The cake actually got better after a few days. As it got a little stale, it got chewier which I enjoyed. Clearly I'm not your average baker.

We have a new addition to the dog family. One of Mom's greyhounds died suddenly a couple months ago. She just dropped in her tracks and I'm sure never felt a thing. It was absolutely devastating for my Mom who was talking to her one second and couldn't get her up the next. It scared my Mom that she couldn't lift her dog (greyhounds may be skinny but they are kind of big and can run as heavy as 80 or 90 pounds). Because Mom's last dog can't be an only dog (she just gets so depressed without a doggy friend) we looked to the Bichon Frisee rescue group for a little, fluffy guy that Mom could easily lift.

Welcome Sammy Adams to the family. He is a very sweet, cute pookie. It has been strange for Mom getting used to a doggy-dog again. Greyhounds are more like cats or horses so if you like doggy dogs, this is generally not the breed for you. I had a similar big adjustment with Oscar when he joined the family but he is at least a hound so there are a lot of similarities in behaviors like rooing. I think Sammy has been a good fit and he is clearly a happy boy.

We will be off to the beach this weekend to visit with Sammy Adams and Godiva. I'll wrap this up with a flattering picture of Godiva. She sleeps with her mouth open. What a lady!

August 25, 2010

Not Dead Yet!

I have been neglectful. Not because I love you any less but because there are a lot of changes going on in real life right now. The biggest change is I left my corporate job and am working on building my own consultancy business. It is a lot of work! Great fun but a lot of work.

Another big change I neglected to mention is the new family member. This was not a planned addition but it is how things worked out. I was driving to Arizona for Christmas and at a truck stop I found this little guys:

He was standing in the Wendy's drive-thru at a very busy truck stop. This is one of those truck stops where there are no homes around at all and so many cars getting fuel that he didn't stand a chance. I spent quite a bit of time looking for someone he may have wandered away from and worked with the truck stop staff to see if anyone was looking for him but it became apparant that someone had simply dumped him.

Poor guy! He has actually fit in beautifully with the pack and got very attached to me quite quickly. So now we are up to 4 dogs! Clearly he has hound in him (I think Beagle) so he and the Greyhounds understand each other.

He does try to make up for the Greyhound's missing guard dog gene. Unfortunately he seems to be guarding me mainly from butterflies, birds, and squirrels. Every time I let them out in the yard he runs back and forth between the trees in each corner of the yard. There are other trees but he seems to believe these hold the greatest squirrel threat.

I think the Yarn Harlot could probably use his services in her yard!

June 25, 2008


Just little snippets to catch up.

Suki has been living with me for nearly a year now. This little gal was a little rough around the edges but she is really growing into her role of a full-fledged, happy house cat. She is very affectionate. She will be sitting next to me on the couch half asleep and she will just reach out to rest her paw on my arm or leg. She just wants to touch. She doesn't approve of the dogs when they get rambunctious but then, neither do I.

Have I mentioned that Frankie and Daisy are puppies? Constant movement. The chew-on-each-other game is a big hit. They are at this almost non-stop.

I haven't shared a really cute picture of Daisy yet. Frankie may have been perceived as the special needs dog when I adopted him. He has only one eye and a terrible scar on his side. He is also a spooky dog but Daisy is a true spook. So Daisy has really had the most adjustment to make and has been the most work for me. But she is really starting to bond with me and I see her happier and happier about being in a home.

Frankie is perfectly at home. In fact, he persists in decorating. Just a few scenes I have come upon.

My roses are starting to bloom. I enjoyed them so much last year that this year I dug up some random shrubs and replaced them with more rose bushes. Six in all. And I think I'll do even more. I mean, look at what I get to just fetch from my front yard every week.

I wish I could share the smell. These are highly aromatic. Heaven.

May 03, 2008

Good Bye

Argus Blue

Sept. 26, 1993 - May 2, 2008

The best, sweetest, most wonderful dog in the world. I love you sweet pea and I miss you.

April 18, 2008

Showing off the plant life

I do love living in Oregon. And this yard has been fun because everything is still new to me. This Spring I had crocus, and so many daffodil it looked like a hedge. Now the tulips have started coming up. I don't know what is planted so it is all a wonderful surprise.

I can't believe I just casually cut these from my front yard (under my cherry tree).

Can you believe I get to live with this and we are expecting snow tonight? But Oregon snow is pretty tame. It isn't very cold right now and it will just probably be snow as it comes down and nothing will stick.

And I planted a blueberry bush today. Fast growing with large sweet berries. Have I mentioned I love living in Oregon?

Frankie is having no problem making himself at home.

And I've been trying to get a picture of Daisy smiling. She is a grinner.

They both crawled into bed with me last night. You just don't realize how big greyhounds are until they start hogging the bed.

April 16, 2008

Insert Clever Title Here

This has been an interesting week. Some new family members have moved in...

This is Frankie and Daisy. Mom was fostering Frankie and had decided he needed to come live with me. Then his sister Daisy needed to be fostered so Mom stepped up and Frankie and Daisy just had instant recognition and bonding. They were litter mates and they are still great pals. I knew I just couldn't split them up so I went ahead and adopted both.

It is very different living with two young dogs after Sapphire and Argus. Argus is 14 and Sapphire is 12. Argus has gotten terribly crippled with arthritis this last year and the vet and I have had quite a few "quality of life" conversations. It is terrible. But we have to let them go at some point and I just hope I do it at the right point. I'm not sure Argus will be able to let me know when it is time.

Sapphire is doing much better. In fact, she is the one playing with Frankie and Daisy in the video. She wants to keep up but since she is about 10 years older than F and D, she can't quite do it.

I've wrapped up some big projects at work which hopefully means I can get my personal life back. I didn't really expect work to take over like that since I don't often let that happen. I don't believe in letting work run my life but this crept up on me.

It probably didn't hurt that this work project popped up right when I was breaking up with the man I was seeing. I knew the relationship probably wasn't going to move to the next level but I liked him and I liked hanging out with him. I'm disappointed it didn't pan out. And work was a convenient distraction.

I'll tell you a horrible irony. I can't afford to do all this work! Not having any personal time means I eat out more, don't have time to shop "smart", fall behind in paying bills, and drive everywhere when I get time rather than consolidate my trips. Plus I haven't had time to get my car tuned up which hits the gas mileage which results in bucks. Ugh.

I have so many projects on hold I'm actually kind of overwhelmed and don't even know where to begin.

Think I'll play with the dogs instead. Right after I clean up what greeted me when I came home from work today.


January 11, 2008

Wool afghans and dogs

OK, questions for any knitters lurking about here. I shared this picture before of Frankie. He is my Mom's foster and very well could be coming to live with me. Not that what I'm about to ask is about his being my dog. I would be asking this regardless of his future home.

Scar the greyhound

Frankie went to a veterinary eye specialist yesterday and he has glaucoma in his bad eye which causing him quite a bit of discomfort. So the best course of action seems to be removing the eye. The cost of that surgery is going to be more than the rescue group can absorb so they will be holding some fundraisers. I thought I might be able to contribute. My first thought was a gorgeous, hand-painted mitre square afghan. Finish up this one I started.

Scar the greyhound

But the rescue group is in Arizona and it would be offered up to a huge bunch of dog people who may not feel a wool afghan would work in their home. (although ironically, I noticed I took this original photograph, on one of my dog blankets)

So my questions are, should I come up with a dog-friendlier, warm climate-friendlier knit project? Should I go ahead and give them the hand-painted wool afghan? Or should I raffle off the afghan to my knitting community? I feel sort of guilty doing this when we already have so many worthy charities we support.

Just a note on how Frankie is doing? He was absolutely petrified at first. He has some reduced vision in his good eye and when your whole world changes, it can really be a scary time. But thanks to Mom's ambassadog, Korde, he is socializing with the family a little, he will go outside and play with Korde and is beginning to follow Mom around a little. So really, he is doing very well.

May 25, 2007

15 minutes and counting

Well, she is just going to be impossible to live with now:

sapphire featured on youtube

If you don't watch should (especially show 122, "The Inside"). He is very funny and a little disturbed. We love Chris.

I have to go make sure Sapphire isn't hanging out with that Paris girl who is such a bad influence. Sexy, party girls...they flock together.

May 14, 2007

Mr. DeMille, he is ready for his closeup

Something tells me these are supposed to look different and be in someone else's possession.

turned heels

Well, I didn't finish. Shocker. There was just a point where I could have hidden away all weekend and finished them or enjoyed my visit with Mom and give these to her next weekend.

I opted for the late gift. But, as you can see, I still made progress. Heels have been turned and I begin the journey down the foot.

To distract you from my mission failure, I present the next singing sensation...Korde Spotbottom!

Korde is Mom's greyhound. He dearly loves singing and frequently breaks out in spontaneous song. We have been trying to record him doing this for years and I was thrilled when there was just one of those moments where I happened to have the camera next to me when he started. His backup singer is Garbo, who you may remember from cute couch pic a few days ago.

May 08, 2007

Is last-minute knitting an extreme sport?

This is why I can never have a made bed:

Sapphire takes bed

Monkey Socks progress. They have to be finished by Sunday. The leg is the pattern repeat 6 times and the foot will probably be about 6 repeats also, so with the heel work, I need to complete about 3 repeats a day. I only did one yesterday so I'm already behind!

progress on Monkey socks

Must keep going (even if I'm worried about them being too big), must keep focus.

Stay on target...stay on target...

May 07, 2007


Busy weekend with houseguests. Most of them furry. Which explains why I couldn't get my laundry done.

Korde in the closet

That is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Everywhere I looked was another greyhound.

Garbo curled up

While adorable, that picture is a little deceiving because in a few seconds she will stretch out and hog the whole couch.

And finally, if you have to work at home, it helps to see this when you look up from work:

Although it was hard not to just jump on the bike and play out in that spectacular sunshine.

Working furiously on Mom's socks. I believe I've settled on Cookie's Monkey Socks. I'm making them in STR Dreidel. Beautiful. Mom will love them. I just need to keep knitting!

March 28, 2007

Argus update

Guess who is feeling better?

argus is better

For non-greyhound people, he is cockroaching (sleeping on his back like a dead cockroach). And he couldn't do this if his back and hips hurt him too much. No more pain pills and we are very nearly back to normal. Not quite running again or dancing a lot but we are almost there. Mini jogs and a prance or two so I think he is headed in the right direction.

The overwhelming consensus is that the veterinary hospital needs to know. So I'm going to put together sound, academic information regarding arthritic canines and forward that to the vet we love with a note that expresses my disappointment in Argus' condition when I took him home. The dehydration and potty breaks are not acceptable in any shape or form so I'll speak to those also.

I'm looking at him right now and he is pretty much a mirror image of the photo above. I'll be sure to scratch the tummy as soon as I post this.

March 23, 2007

Argus - really really long post

We have been laying low this week because we have had health challenges and needed to focus on getting better. And I've struggled a little with how to share this because I want to share but I'm still so angry I'm not sure I can write about it coherently. I'll give it a go...

Argus and Sapphire are senior greyhounds. Sapphire is 11 and Argus is 13. Argus has arthritis and we have done everything we could to maintain his comfort and flexibility without going on medication. The meds can mess with the liver and I wanted it to be a last resort. So we do frequent short walks to keep him flexible and they have "orthopedic" beds in every room of the apartment. These are high foam beds with a soft, fluffy dog bed on top. Both dogs also have free access to my bed and the couch. That isn't necessarily part of the arthritis therapy but it becomes relevant later in the story.

Argus is a little shaky in the hips and shakes a bit when he gets up from laying down. But he likes to run on his potty walks (he bunny hops which is another sign of his arthritis) and he does full, long stretches, dances and spins and pulls me around when we are walking. He jumps up on the couch and jumps out of the car and manages stairs fine.

In the last 4 months there have been a couple of incidents that made me decide it was time to add medication to our pain management program. The last incident being the weekend before last. I had a bag of dogfood in the back of the car and the dogs were anxious to get out before I could haul it inside so I let Sapph jump over it and it looked like Argus had navigated around it successfully but at the last minute he placed a back paw on it to push off and slipped and fell out of the car.

He fell pretty hard and it was upsetting to us both. He didn't have many visible injuries (I'm sure he was badly bruised) but he did have one small raspberry (about the size of a nickel) on his fanny where there isn't any padding. I cleaned it and it had almost healed completely by last Friday.

Friday was the day I was flying to Arizona for a family gathering celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of my grandparents. I had arranged for Sapphire and Argus to go to a favorite boarding place we have frequented in the past.

It is a lovely place. Dogs get their own "house" that is climate controlled and has a doggy door out to their own fenced yard. It is a treat for Sapph and Argus because we don't have a yard and they don't get to go out whenever they want. And we were having a gorgeous weekend so I knew they would love the opportunity to play outside.

I dropped them off and drove straight to the airport. When I landed in AZ I had a message from the boarding place saying Argus had fallen down and while he walked OK, because he had fallen they wanted to be careful and took him to the vet.

I called the vet back and we had a long conversation about how he was doing. She described how he was acting and I said it sounded like stress (he hates the vet) and she agreed. Then I told her how he was before and that I wanted to do whatever we needed to do to get him better. She wanted to do blood work. Did I want to do the little panel or the big one that told them more? I said I wanted to do the bigger one because I wanted to look at everything to make sure this was nothing more serious than his arthritis. I told her how I had intended to make an appointment on that following Monday to look at managing his arthritis pain.

Then the vet said something funny. She wanted to talk about his pressure sore on his fanny. I explained that it wasn't a pressure sore, it was a raspberry from the fall, etc.

Sounds OK, right?

I flew back late Sunday night and was at the vet when they opened Monday. When I told the gal behind the counter who I was picking up she got a funny look on her face which worried me. While I waited I paid the $400+ bill they had for me. I was concerned when I saw on the bill that no x-rays had been done. I know we spoke of arthritis but when I told them that the day before he was admitted he was fine wouldn't you have ruled out an injury?

It would break your heart if you saw the condition of him when they brought him out. He was stress panting beyond any stress panting I've seen him do and there was a little gal holding his back end up with a sling so that his back legs couldn't touch the floor. I was alarmed with how she was letting his back end swing side to side and up and down indiscriminately. Greyhounds have long backs and often their arthritis is in their back as much as their hips. That had to be painful for him to have his back wrenched around like that. Not to mention freak him out.

The little gal throwing his back around began to lecture me about his bed sore and how he needs a soft place to rest. I interrupted her and told her it wasn't a bed sore and he has orthopedic beds all over to use. He has nothing but soft places to rest. All the techs were quiet and gave each other smug, knowing looks. Then I realized that everyone had made judgments about my treatment of Argus, and regardless of what I had told them, they treated him based on their factless judgments. It didn't seem to phase them at all that they were giving me back a dog that couldn't even walk anymore. Somehow, they were blaming me.

Little gal (who was really in danger of getting smacked by me) walked him out to the car with me. I lifted him into the car and gently laid him down on his bed and blankets in the back of the car. I see at this point that his raspberry is almost twice the size and crusty/bleedy. He obviously scraped it again when he fell and someone shaved around it but it doesn't look very clean. I hotpack wounds like this so they don't get that crust going that can break painfully and bleed because they aren't flexible. They had just cleaned it once and left it.

I skeedaddlled out of there as fast as I could talking to him all the way. We picked up Sapph (who, by the way was allowed to run around in an unfenced area so now I'm mad at the boarding place too) and just headed home.

When we got home, Argus was able to walk from the car and up three little stairs to our front door. First chance he got he peed. He obviously had not been taken out yet that morning (it was after 10am) and his urine was orange which means he was dehydrated too. I was flipping out at this point. When we got inside he tried to drink water but was too stiff to even raise his head a little so I put the water on a milk crate for him. Then he went to lie down but couldn't so I had to lay him down (which upset him, he hates being manhandled).

I took a closer look at him and found fecal matter on his legs and belly as well as crusty stuff all over his face (Ensure?). He looked like hell.

I hung around for a while to make sure was OK, after about 2 hours everyone was asleep so, I slipped off to work. I was only gone 4 hours but when I got home, Argus had tried to get up, fell down and I found him stuck in that position lying in a pool of urine.

Argus is one of those that almost never has accidents in the house. He is fastidious.

Four days later, his pain medication has been cut in half. We do have him on anti-inflammetory meds which was my original intention. He is on antibiotics for the "pressure sore" but I continue because I'm worried he might have developed a little UTI since they obviously didn't take him out to relieve himself frequently enough.

He is walking fine, getting up and down from his bed well and he gave me a half stretch yesterday morning. He is engaging with me and his surroundings, which is a relief. When he was hurting so bad he didn't look at anything, didn't sniff anything, he was just focused on his pain. He can bring his head up to eat his food just fine.

I did find quite a bit of blood in the kitchen last night and I can't tell who it came from. Neither he nor Sapph have blood anywhere on them that I can find. I was even checking myself since I thought I was the only one in there. Who knows where this has come from. Maybe a nose bleed? It worries me.

The final story is that Argus is almost back to normal. He improved a lot when I sat down with him and cleaned him up. He really hates looking bad. The day after I cleaned his face and fur, (I didn't dare put him in the tub so he got a "sponge bath") I came home and he was sitting up in his bed (a huge victory at the time because at first he couldn't even sit up on his elbows) with his front legs crossed looking for all the world like Noel Coward.

While I'm livid at this veterinary hospital for insulting me and disregarding everything I told them about Argus. I'm most upset that because of this they didn't give him the care he needed. When I ran my hand across Argus' back I felt a hot spot. His back is obviously a problem and needs attention. And if I could find that then why didn't they? He was with them all weekend. They were so busy judging me and deciding how I must treat him, they really ignored obvious symptoms.

I'm also upset because I think basic needs he had were not met. C'mon...water? Potty breaks? These were too much for them to provide?

And then, in general, vet hospitals do not seem to be set up to deal with geriatric dogs. Even if he had been given the medical attention he needed, he still would have been kept in that little kennel which is a big reason, I think, he was so stiff and sore. Also, older dogs need to go out more frequently. And they need some kind of industrial mats for the dogs so they don't slip on the linoleum floors.

That fall-back to medication isn't enough to combat his arthritis. As his condition when he went home proves. He has been given half the medication while at home but his special needs are accommodated and he has improved 150%.

A lot of people say I should give this feedback to the hospital so it doesn't happen again but I really don't think it will be received in the spirit it is offered. OK, some of the spirit is pissed off. Argus should never have had to go through that. They should be ashamed.

Maybe I'll gather information regarding arthritic dogs and their special needs and send it to them with a note that says something like, "Look, you did what you could to help Argus but you hurt him too. Here are some of the things you can do to meet the special needs of geriatric dogs."

I should mention too, that this is actually a really good hospital and some of the best vets I've ever met. They have a stellar reputation, especially for greyhounds. And our vet who we normally see there, who was on vacations while all this happened, called and left a message saying he saw Argus had been in, he is sorry the old guy didn't feel well and wanted to check on him. I love this vet. But I can never take Argus back.

So what do I do? Communicate what happened to the vet? Send a hit and run note with arthritis information? Move on and don't look back? I'm open to suggestions.


Argus after treat.

December 15, 2006

I'm a little distracted

The wonderful things you find on You Tube. Here are a couple of videos.

There are so many videos of greyhounds out there and a lot of them were very funny to watch. But a lot of them are really only interesting to the makers. But that is OK because I like that people are that enamored with their hounds that they record the most mundane moments and think they are entertaining.

This one was neat because this little girl running around with a toy is a tripod. She only has three legs. You probably wouldn't even been able to tell if I hadn't told you.

This other one is of a whippet. I think the photographer got some really beautiful images. The framing is unusual and features the gorgeous bone structure that sitehounds have. Fantastic light.

Some have expressed surprise and doubt about my testing as pure evil. I assure you, it is true. What keeps the world safe from me is the fact that I'm inclined to laziness. Actually, it is less about being inclined and more about the fact that I'm really really really lazy. Being actively evil is a ton of work. I'm not willing to put that much effort into evil plans.

I spent way too much time and money decorating my lame little patio. The one that overlooks the parking lot. I don't know why. It is the most Christmas spirit I have felt or shown in a couple of years. I'm not scroogy, I just am not feeling it.

I have a bit of a knitting malaise too. Nothing interests me and not much is getting done. I think I need to do a bunch of quick and easy instant gratification projects.

Watch out, you are all about to get washcloths.

September 26, 2006

Very Important Day

Happy Birthday to my sweet baboo Argus! He turns 13 years old today!

sweet napping baboo

Argus came to live with me 6 years ago when Animal Control picked him up on this very day. He was tied to a freeway overpass in Los Angeles (where I was living at the time) at one of the busiest freeway exits in the country (for people in the LA area, it was the Rosemead exit off the 10). He was quite underweight and bald from flea dermatitis. They felt like he should be put to sleep but the greyhound rescue group in the area wanted to get a look at him and 3 weeks later he was at home with me.

This is a difficult picture to look at but keep in mind it was a week after he had been picked up and he was already making a remarkable recovery. I don't mean to dwell on a difficult period of Argus' life but he has overcome a lot and it is worth noting today.

early argus

He is spoiled rotten now but don't bother saying how lucky he is to have me because it is entirely the other way around.

We are going to go have a little vanilla ice cream as a birthday treat and many naps and scratches.

Happy 13th boobalah!

September 08, 2006


I've been playing hooky from being a grown up and was at the beach. Hey, I earned a vacation and just because I am screwing up the vacation plan by being unemployed in the middle of the year doesn't mean I don't get to slip away and not think about work stuff.

So I'm back and I'm being responsible. I've started doing some contract work for a local university and while it SO isn't what I like to do, it is income. For a few months anyway.

The interesting part is that I'll be working from home. I'm not all that sure that it is a good idea since I get distracted easily (Have you seen my knitting habits? You think those are any different than how I am with all things?) I might have to set up some kind of routine where I leave the house everyday like I'm going to an office and work that way, I can go hang out in the lobby of the university.

The Yarn Harlot was here the other day and I was really looking forward to seeing her and getting my book signed but I had a last-minute meeting with the university which messed up my schedule (Can't leave dogs without potty opportunity at certain times of the day. They are very used to our schedule.) and then when it took me forever to get home from the meeting my plans to have knitterly fun were ruined.


So I'm pouting a little about that and am trying to console myself with knitting victories.

After much heartbreak, tears, screaming at the gods, and a little help from a fabulous knitting goddess at Coastal Yarns, I have finally finished the ballet wrap sweater for my Aunt. It cheered me a little that my knitting goddess had to read the pattern outloud about 6 times herself to fully grasp what should be done. With her help I was able to chart the pieces which had given me grief.

Here is the back and the two wicked fronts that nearly drove me to drinking.

ballet wrap awaiting finishing

The pattern was from Interweave Knits and you can clearly see my mangled copy. That is what happens when you clutch something and cry into it. You can also see the book of soduku puzzles that I distracted myself with when the knitting got to be too much. Let it be noted that I have graduated to the expert level puzzles. These were less frustrating than knitting the fronts on the sweater.

The yarn I used was something I picked up on sale when Knit Picks was clearing out their yarn inventory to make room for their own lines. It is Reynolds Andean Alpaca Regal, an alpaca/wool blend in a lovely heathery grey. It holds up too. I ripped out one front and reknit 5 or 6 times and it did great. It started to untwist a little but not much more.

The sleeves are blocking. I don't think the curl will be eliminated much and may just go ahead and finish the sweater without blocking. Does that shock anyone? Has lightening struck anyone when they didn't block? Seriously, will it make the sweater look worse if I don't block it?

More pictures since I haven't posted in eons.

A little stash enhancement. I mean it is rude to go into a yarn store and not buy something, right? A few skeins of Socks That Rock. One skein for me and two candy-colored (I believe they are called Sherbert) skeins that will make some cute child's sweater. Hey, it is washable so I think sock yarn makes fantastic kid projects.

str love

And then, just because we can't go too long without a doggie picture, this is Sandy.


I am dogsitting Sandy for my Mom. She is a lot of fun to have around the house because she is more doggy-like than my beloved greyhounds. She wags her tail and barks hello. And she has the best muzzlepuff of any pookie I know. If you don't frequent Cute Overload then you don't know that muzzlepuffs are the soft cheeks around the mouth. Sandy's are soft, whiskery and getting grey. And she likes to softly run them over my face.

We loves Sandy.

And then, because I was feeling frisky with the camera (I had just put in new batteries) I took a quick shot of my kid-yarn-impending-project stash. It isn't the only source but it is the bulk of yarn for these kinds of projects. I'm starting to email people I worked with 5 years ago that had a baby a year ago to see if they will let me knit for their kids.

baby yarn stash

I'm starting to sound pathetic.

Someone give me a job to stop this madness!

August 14, 2006

Running Dawg

I promised a video of Sapphire sleeping. How interesting could that possibly be you ask? Probably not very. But I share nonetheless. The reason I even took a video and am sharing it is because Sapphire runs in her sleep. I don't mean little paw twitches that most dogs do. Sapphire runs full out. I don't think anyone is supposed to move like this while they sleep because they can hurt themselves (or others when they are sleeping on the other end of those legs).

She doesn't wake herself up either. She can be banging against the wall (until her paws bleed) or even be curled up and kicking herself in the chin and she doesn't wake up. She will wake up as soon as I gently touch her leg or softly call her name but her own running doesn't do it. In fact, she often runs harder than this but I have a hard time getting video of it because when I stand up to get the camera she wakes up to make sure I'm not going anywhere without her. So this just gives you an idea of the low end of her sleep-running.

Personally I like the little leg waggle she does at the beginning.

July 29, 2006

Gratuituous Greyhound Photos

Argus is mercilessly bossed around by Sapphire. She keeps especially tight control on the food bowl. This isn't all bad because I think if Argus had his way he would eat all the food all day long. But as he gets a little bit older (12 in September) he is looking a little thin so I have been supplementing his diet with canned food and extra treats.

Yesterday I left the pantry door open while doing something else and I came back to find this:

Argus pigging out

That is his head down in the treat bag helping himself. He would go get a treat, take it out and away from the pantry a little way, sit down, eat his treat and then start all over again.

I got such a big kick out of how much fun he was having (you could just hear him thinking, "score!") that I sat back and let him go to town. I usually keep healthy treats on hand so it won't hurt him.

But a little bit later, after his treat orgy, I found him sleeping like this:

Argus with tonge out

That is a doggy food-coma.

But Argus has always been funny to watch sleep as evidenced by this uncomfortable looking position:

Argus sleeps with head down

I assure you, his bed is long enough to accommodate his little head.

As proof, here he is today in nearly the same pose. This time he managed to have his tongue stick up and bend his little nose all wonky.

Argus tongue up

He loves to hang the head like that.

I've been knitting today and managed to finish off the blue sweater that was seamed in a WIP sweep a couple weekends ago. It just needed buttons so I walked over to Joanne's and couldn't resist the Beatrix Potter buttons.

Peter Rabbit

He looks a little like Argus and his treats, don't you think?

June 09, 2006


Great googly moogly. There are so many thoughts racing through my head when I look a this picture.

I think, first, we should organize our Dulaan brigade to help out with this cause. Rally everyone together so no squirrel has to scamper about in his or her birthday suit.

Then we need to organize the effort of actually putting all our little sweaters and vests on the Nutkins. Everyone start looking around your neighborhood. These squirrels are your responsibility.

I leave you with this image. Sometimes a treat is so wonderful that we forget to sit down while enjoying it. So we eat the whole thing with our fanny in the air.

Argus' fanny

Just a little philosophical wisdom from Argus and I to you.

January 07, 2006

Time Out

I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth. The holidays took more than a little bit of my time and energy and as soon as I got back I was launched into a huge convention for work that monopolized everything.

But I survived.

Sapphire enjoyed our vacation very much and got in a little relaxing.

Sapphire relaxes

I have plugged along on several projects. I am entirely too lazy to go get pictures of anything but they consisted of a couple of Christmas hats, a baby sweater and I'm well into birthday knitting.

I was able to catch a couple of movies over the break which was a treat. I loved Narnia but not that crazy about HP. I liked the last one best mainly for the cinematography but they are getting farther and farther off the story line which is a little distracting.

Some exciting news in our household. We may have another greyhound come live with us. He is a geezer like Argus and rather shy but I've worked with spooky dogs before so I don't see that as a problem. We'll be meeting him next weekend. I'll try to get some pictures.

Hope everyone had a lovely winter break!

November 27, 2005

There is still knitting going on

Thursday is D-Day. I'm working like crazy on my thesis and I'm making progress which is why I'm allowing myself this one little post.

I have been knitting a lot actually. Thank gawd for the knitting. If I didn't have that outlet for relaxing I might have imploded a few weeks ago.

This was my favorite project I finished recently. My step-mother had surgery and I thought she needed a cozy shawl to wrap up in while she is healing.

Hug shawl

I made it in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk in a lovely dark teal. Teal is supposed to represent health. Plus the Alpaca Silk gave the shawl some weight so it is like I knit a hug.

The pattern is from Sally Mellville's The Purl Stitch. I was pouring over all my books and magazines but, there it was all along, in my favorite reference book. Why don't I do more out of her books? Everytime I make something it ends up being my favorite projects to make and use.

I have to call attention to my kick-ass corners. These are a technical advancement for me and I totally nailed them. The edge was way fun too. I got sick of turning the whole shawl around after knitting six stitches so I practiced my backwards knitting.

shawl edge

And then, just because there has been a shocking lack of hound pictures. Argus and Sapphire got treats today and Argus was so excited with his that he forgot to put his fanny down. He ate his treat like this the whole time.

Argus' fanny

Not too bad for an old boy of 11!

October 23, 2005

Diva dogs like toiletries

My Aunt and Uncle, who live in England, came to my brother's wedding and very thoughtfully brought little gifts. Just little tokens.

I was lucky enough to get a nummy magnolia lotion from one of my favorite stores, Marks & Spencer. Kind of an English Target. But it has a longer, slightly grander history.

When I came home I was so shell shocked from all the activities and travel and looming master's thesis that I didn't really unpack. All right, I never really unpack. I sort of live out of the suitcase until it is empty and then I put it away.

I had that lovely lotion in my bag in a little pocket. The bag was on the bed and as I left one day for work and looked at Sapphire laying on my bed about 10 inches away from that lotion I wondered.

"Nah" I thought. It isn't furry or squeeky or interesting to her. Plus it is in that little pocket so she isn't able to get to it.

Duh. I came home that day and Sapphire had not only gotten the lotion out of that pocket and carried it a full three feet onto the other side of the bed, but opened the box to see what her Aunt from England had given her. I know she was simply opening the box and not being destructive because the lotion is untouched and undamaged. It was also about a foot away from the box so I know Sapphire carried it away to cherish and wonder over her loverly gift.

She doesn't open boxes neatly

but her lotion bottle is in perfect condition

She sent out her thank you card yesterday.

March 30, 2004

Abusing the dogs

My dogs have it tough. They are so unfortunate I just have to shake my head. I'm working diligently at my desk and I turn around and see this:

That is Argus in the front and Kayla behind him. We are babysitting Kayla for a week. Note the dog bed on my bed, the purple snake dog toy and the chewie by Argus' head. Then the obligatory knitting magazine (Rowan #34 I just got in today's mail).

I guess it is kind of heavenly for me too.

Just one question, why do they always do something cute in front of an embarrassing mess like the precarious pile of plastic bags in the background? I swear, I'll go recycle them today. Just let me look at my Rowan mag first...

March 27, 2004

I Need a Place to Knit!

I said I was having a hard time getting my knitting spot. And now I can show you why...

It is hard to see Sapphire in the middle but all the girls gather on the couch and look so stinkin' cute that I can barely make one of them move. And quite frankly I just don't do it sometimes. Sometimes I knit on the floor.