Thursday, October 28, 2010

I never really left you

Yeah, so it was kind of a long blog break.

Let's get up to date!

1. I'm now self-employed, which sometimes bears are remarkable resemblance to being unemployed. Somehow it didn't occur to me that the job mission "help independent sewing machine dealers sell high-end sewing and embroidery machines" just might be affected by the Great Recession.

2. I apply for jobs (you know, the kind with an employer who is not me, and a salary) periodically. Job hunting is depressingly like dating. You get all dressed up via your resume and cover letter, and you convince yourself that this is the one, a perfect match. And then they never, ever call you back.

3. I went to the Netherlands with Trent this summer for two weeks. I have no photographic evidence that this happened.

4. We adopted another dog in late April. This is Daisy:

She is cute as a button. She loves people and having her belly rubbed.

She wants to kill Stella (which, to be fair, is a reasonable reaction to Stella's behavior around her), and pretty much every other animal in the world, with the possible exception of Kidd. It's been a rough road. We've had several dog fights that required trips to the vet for one or more dogs. Then we unwittingly made things much worse. Daisy developed spay incontinence, so the vet put her on the most common medication for that issue (Proin). Welllllll, it turns out that it's an amphetamine (and a meth precursor!), and for some dogs it increases anxiousness and aggressiveness. Daisy is in that percentage, and she nearly ripped out one of Kidd's eyes. (He looks extremely piratical now with his scar.)

She's much nicer now that she's on a different med. It's an estrogen replacement therapy, so Trent keeps joking that she's going to take up knitting. I'd like that, actually. We're also working with a behaviorist (the lovely Christine Hibbard from Companion Animal Solutions). Daisy and Stella are currently separated at all times while we train them (separately) to sit nicely and be calm. The training regime is called the relaxation protocol, but we call it doggie yoga since we use a yoga mat to be the "sit here" spot.

It's an ongoing project. Daisy now shows no inclination to murder Kidd, and she seems calmer and happier. She's even started chewing on dog bones, which is progress.

5. I've been making lots of stuff, so hopefully there will be pictures in the future.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Chlo Girl
Snorty McDingo

We lost Chloe January 31st. The cancer metastasized. She had fluid in her lungs and a tumor pressing against her heart. We made the decision and took her to the vet for euthanasia and stayed with her to the end, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.

I know everyone thinks their dog is the best dog ever, in the whole world. I know Chloe was. The picture above pretty much sums up her and me. We found her at the Seattle Animal Shelter in June of 2004. We were in the process of buying a house, largely because we desperately wanted a dog. In the week before closing, when we had six million things we needed to be doing, we went to the shelter. I had spotted her there on a previous visit, but she didn't have any information because she had just been surrendered. I stalked waiting for info to appear, and when it did, we made that trip. Dogs bounced and jumped and barked, but Chloe sat at the front of her cage with her head tilted, and those big ears, and just smiled at me.

We took her to the shelter's little play area, and she rolled over and put her head in my lap, just like in that picture above. Trent was skeptical - her info said she was 6 (or maybe 8 - there were contradictions), and he thought she'd be boring and never play. Smart girl, when she got done nuzzling me, she bounced up, stuck her butt in the air, and pounced at Trent.

We took a couple of other dogs out to play, in the interest of fairness, but I was clearly a goner. We didn't have our house yet, and our apartment was definitely a no-dog zone, so I said we should wait until closing, come back Saturday, and if she was still there it was meant to be. Trent asked me how I'd feel if someone else adopted her. At that moment, some other woman was checking out the paperwork on her cage, and I felt murderous. We adopted Chloe on the spot, and she went off to our vet for a couple of days.

Don't wait when you fall in love.

And so it came to pass that Chloe was the very first thing that we moved into our house. She came to us with 10 or 15 pounds of extra fat, a bladder infection, and skanky fur. The vet, good food, and exercise had her bounding around the park chasing tennis balls and glowing in short order. Her previous owner has obviously trained her not to jump on the furniture, but we felt that a dog's place is on the couch where you can rub her tummy and stroke her big, pointy, silky ears.

When we adopted Chloe, Trent asked me if I was sure about getting and older dog. They die sooner. You don't have them as long. I argued that puppies can die suddenly too, and that it didn't matter. It didn't. She had a lot of health problems in the 5 and a half years we had her. She had ear infections, eye infections, abcessed teeth, mysterious skin growths, an injured knee, and increasingly painful arthritis. We took her to the vet, handed over money, and applied various pills and ointments. I took her to the doggy hot tub for swimming therapy. Eventually the tennis ball days were over. We walked the neighborhood and she made friends with everyone from little kids to homeless guys to biker types to the people with handicaps who exercise in the park. Friends came to our house and adored Chloe. Even a friend who actively dislikes dogs would pet Chloe.

When she was diagnosed with cancer my heart broke. I'm still heart-broken and grieving the loss. But I've never, ever, for one second been sorry that we adopted her (or that she adopted us).

Chloe showed me how to love completely, without reserve. She made the world better. She made my heart bigger. She loved the world, and it loved her right back. On sunny days, she rolled in the grass and the little daisies and snorted with joy. The sun came out for her.

Our household now has me, Trent, the dogs Kidd and Stella, and the cats Rudy and Callie. Very slowly over the last two months I've stopped feeling like there's a huge Chloe-shaped gap in the house, but we still miss her terribly.

Give everyone you love a hug,


Wednesday, December 02, 2009


My Chloe is still doing fabulously. She milks her 3-legged status for all it's worth, and is greatly spoiled and adored by all. It's been over 3 months since amputation. and about 6 since cancer diagnosis. It's bonus time, and I try hard to remember to appreciate every bit of it.

In other news, knitting!

Baby sweater for our friends James and Adria's forthcoming baby. I think it's hilariously like a little old man sweater. I even used the fake woven leather buttons.

I have my standard 6 billion other projects going, too. This year the Pacific Fabrics KAL is using Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick, so I'm currently in the throes of both a brioche hat and the petticoat socks (Ravelry links), as well as some secret holiday knitting projects.

Also in the ongoing project kingdom, I'm working on the quilting on a queen size quilt I'm making for my mother. I'm so close to done, but I'm having trouble getting done. But it sure is pretty.

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Friday, September 04, 2009


Chloe is amazing. Two weeks after amputation, she's getting herself up and down the stairs, greeting visitors with a wagging tail, and generally behaving like her old self. Awww.

Here's still life with dogs and spinning wheels.

She's slowly growing her hair back. We'll get there.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lots of good, and one really bad thing

I've been knitting and spinning. The garden is growing, and I've had an abundance of cherry tomatoes. I've seen lots of family this summer. Trent and I got scooters, and we love zipping around town on them. I've read lots of books. All good.

Here's the hard thing: my beloved Chloe, my dearest darling of the pointy ears and the big doe eyes, has bone cancer (osteosarcoma). She was diagnosed earlier this summer, after she started growing a big lump on her shoulder.

I think I cried for a month. We've agonized about what to do. Osteosarcoma is hellishly aggressive and painful, and even with the state of the art treatment, only 50% of dogs are alive a year after diagnosis.

We started with two chemotherapy treatments, and two bone strengthening treatments (the cancer weakens the affected bone, which is both painful and can lead to fractures). It brought us a little time to see if the cancer was already spreading to her lungs (the usual COD for osteosarcoma), and how painful the leg was going to be. I canceled my plans to go to the Netherlands with Trent, and we agonized some more.

It became pretty clear that the tumor was incredibly painful, and we had to decide whether to have the leg amputated or have Chloe euthanized sooner rather than later. When we had the right balance between the pain and the sedative effects of the painkillers, Chloe was still her happy sweet self. She rolled in the grass in the sun, and made lots of new friends on all her walks. I didn't think she was ready to go yet, and I sure wasn't ready to let her go, so we opted for amputation.

That was last Wednesday. Because nothing is ever easy, Trent left for the Netherlands for his study abroad program on the same day. It's been kind of a stressful week. I visited her in the hospital a couple of times, and then brought her home on Sunday night. The vet staff spoiled her rotten while she was there. They fed and watered her by hand, not because it was necessary but because she liked it.

She's recovering incredibly well. I'm supposed to keep her very quiet and help her walk. That worked for about the first 24 hours, but by now she's self-propelled. I went out to get groceries, and she met me at the door when I came home. I left her resting on the ground floor while I did dishes, and when I went down to check on her, she had moved up the stairs onto the landing. She's a super hero (and I think her yellow bandage makes her look like one, too).

I wish this would fix the cancer, but it won't. It eliminates pain, which is important, but we're going to have to do more chemo if we want to to increase her chances. Happily, chemo has very mild side effects for Chloe. Unhappily, it is MAD expensive, and the vet already has a big chunk of our money from the amputation. (Honestly, for what it costs, you'd think she'd come home with an extra leg, not minus one.) So the decisions aren't really getting any easier.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Garden update 2

I do still knit and sew. I just don't take many pictures of it. But look, here's a quilt I'm making for a store sample!

This is called Baby Dots. It's from a pattern called Dots and Daisies by Smith Street Designs. I'm also making the version pictured on the pattern cover, but that one hasn't come together yet.

But since Ryan asked, here's a garden update. I have peas, real actual visible edible snap peas. (Cascadia from Territorial).

I have broccoli heads forming (no, really, look in the center).

I have very lush cherry tomatoes and potatoes, though no produce from either just yet.

I have bolting arugula (with bolting collards in the background, and an Ichiban eggplant protected by a Wall of Water behind that). It was particularly nice, lush arugula before it bloomed, so I'm going to try to save some of the seeds for a fall arugula crop.

I also have imported cabbage worm. Grr. The caterpillars are really hard to spot, since they're exactly the color of whatever brassica plant they are mowing down. Little bastards. I've been picking them off and stomping them flat. Hate.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Garden update

It's a sunny Saturday in Seattle, the sort of day that makes everyone forget the cold dark dreariness of winter. I'm fully embracing the madness.

My garden is looking I have peas well up:

I have Chinese cabbage that might be actually preparing to make heads (or it might be preparing to bolt - one can never say):

The kale, collards, and broccoli are all thriving, and the scallions have recovered from the pounding they took in a recent rain storm.

I planted two cherry tomatoes (Red Fig and Cherry Roma) in an Earthbox, and they're currently being warmed up with a Wall of Water (each). I would have held off on putting them out, but the pets have a bad habit of grazing on plants in the house, and I didn't want to risk it.

Additionally, I have two golden zucchini out (one protected by a Wall o' Water, one by a dog e-cone). Today I planted carrots (Bolero) and bush beans (Roma II) as well.

In other news
Chloe has been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and is now eating gold-plated dog food. It's seriously expensive, as were all the vet bills leading up to the diagnosis. She's doing much better now, which is a relief. At some point we'll have to decide whether to stick with the Very Expensive Chow, or try some other food and risk upsetting her system again.

Meanwhile, I've been working working working. I still knit and sew, but I never get anything done.

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