Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Olive, The Other Reindeer

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ho, Ho, hmmmmm

Dear Mom,

They did NOT look like this on Pinterest.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Dear Mom,
This time of year, I want to say my favorite things are brown paper packages tied up with string!
Today's favorite thing is a shop with some bright copper to tie up in those packages.

Last year, I gave 5 Golden Rings (stitch markers) to some knitting friends.

I won't share what this year's gifts will be because I don't want to ruin any surprises. Everything I've ordered, all the pretty things I have from this shop- from stitch markers, to marker holders, to a charming necklace- are exquisite in their beauty and craftsmanship. Kate is a generous, gifted artist.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Dear Mom,
I have been on a winning streak in the Try New Recipe department. We (meaning I) have changed a lot about how we eat around here. Mostly because we'd  (I) stopped recognizing ourselves (myself) in photos. We were in there somewhere, but Fat People were in the way.
I am not done yet, but today there is 30 pounds less of me than there was 6 months ago when, after stepping on the scale at my ahem "annual", I drove straight to the closest Weight Watchers and declared that to be my Last Fat Day. I will never be embarrassed to step on a scale again.
So, motivated by Good Health and Weight Loss, I've discovered some very delicious new recipes. But actually, the one I am going to share with you was one My Hero grabbed in the seafood department at the grocery store. I tend to ignore all those little recipe cards. I just want to get in and outta there as fast as I can. My Hero inherited the shopping gene from his mother, however, and even the grocery store is good shopping for him. He can find stuff at the store that I didn't know existed. He looks in refrigerated sections and on shelves I would never. Neh-verrr. We often do our weekly grocery run together. Sometimes I get irritated when his "let's take our time and shop"  collides with my "GET ME OUTTA HERE!!!!!". But most times it is very good. I can ask what he is hungry for, how is our egg supply, which is the better deal, etc. He is there to help load and unload.
So, one of those times, he handed me a stack of recipes he'd browsed through in the seafood department. I must have been in a generous mood, because I saved them rather than immediately pitch them as if they were unwanted solicitations. This one had me at the Title. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.

Salmon and Wild Rice Salad
serves 4

Wild Rice Salad
1 cup wild rice, prepared according to package directions- I used Uncle Ben's fast cooking wild rice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
3 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T chopped, fresh dill

4 (4-5 oz) salmon fillets
1 t paprika
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes  [I used a pinch. I am a red pepper wimp]
1/4 cup lemon juice

1. Place rice in a large bowl. Add vinegar and oil; toss well. Add spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, garlic and dill. Toss to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
2. For the Salmon: preheat broiler. Coat a broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle fillets with paprika and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with lemon juice. Broil fillets 5 inches from heat source for 7-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Per serving: 360 calories, 11 g fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 90 g sodium, 39 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 29 g protein. 9 WW points.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Dear Mom,
I don't know where November went. It was lost in a flurry of airport runs, family visits, a very bad cold,  Thanksgiving here which involved a whole lotta much needed long overdue house attention, and a blissful long weekend away, in a cabin in the woods, with my 3 dearest of knitting friends.

I have lots to catch up on….

But first!
Favorite Thing on This Friday- Two Hour School Delay!

Oh, how we love 2 hour delays! For me, they are better than snow days. We get to sleep in, our mornings are more leisurely, and I still get a good part of the day to myself! Added bonus- the roads give me all the reason I need to stay home and snuggle in.
I'll pull some Roasted Tomato Soup out of the freezer (made from the summer's tomatoes) and we will have that with grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner tonight.

I took advantage of the snow scene this morning to take a Christmas card photo, featuring Olive. Despite my intentions, I never got a photo of the family or of the kids during the Thanksgiving Break and decided on a clever use of Olive.  What a dear, patient, dog she is- especially when Milk Bone Dog Biscuits are involved.
Earlier in the week- before inspiration struck- I took a series of photos like this one ( inspired by something I saw on Pinterest).

Total Sweetness.
Yes, Santa, I have been a good girl.
Olive and her left elbow are doing well. We can't let her get too wild, but she is a dog who likes to chase squirrels. She's had Rimadyl evenings, but not many. We've done as much as we can for her, surgically. She gets a daily dose of Glucosamine/Chondroitin and fish oil.  Rimadyl on the days she needs it. And there are further pharmaceutical options if we need them, but I am hoping not. She won't be a marathon runner ( but then neither will I!) but not a long walk dog, either. This makes me a little sad, but she is such a good dog and the best sort of snuggler that I willingly give up walking her just to have her with me. She is my car-riding companion, nap-time buddy, and curled-up-at-my-feet or next to me on the couch faithful friend. I've loved all my dogs, but Olive has been a gift.

In November, I did knit a bee sweater for Bonnie.

The rest of my knitting has been gift knitting and therefore, secret.

I've tried some delicious, healthy new recipes over the last weeks and I'll share those later.

The past few evenings I settled in with my knitting and started re-watching Downton Abbey from the very beginning. I will never tire of looking at the hats, beautiful dresses, aprons and the lace edging on Mrs Hughes collar. I'd forgotten how much happens in those episodes and how much I did NOT like Mary in that first season. I watch and want to wear Mary Poppins-ish shoes and long skirts with thick warm tights. And aprons. And hats.

So for today, on this snowy day, after catching up here, I'll be drinking hot tea, puttering and tending to the house and laundry, with hopes of spinning and weaving and knitting, too. Thankful to be warm and with nowhere to go.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Dear Mom,
Last night, My Hero and our Young Lady teamed up again this year to carve pumpkins. Needless to say, they are pretty pleased with their efforts!
They loved the Minions from Despicable Me 2 and have been planning their pumpkins for weeks.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fingerless mitts

Dear Mom,
As a gift for someone dear to me, someone whose heart is so warm that her hands Must Be Freezing, I've knit some pretty fingerless mitts.
The pattern is from the book Knitting Everyday Finery , and the pattern is Flying Geese Mitts.
The pattern instructions are well written and the mitts were knit quickly in a couple of evenings. I used worsted weight Shepherd's Wool. I cannot say enough very good things about this wool. Made in the USA (Michigan), Very Soft, excellent price, lots of yardage. I can probably get a second pair of mitts from the skein. In fact, I think I need a pair for myself, especially with the weather having taken a preference for cold and damp.  Blobs of fat almost-snow drops have been plopping out of the sky on and off the past couple of days. And the only good thing I can say about that is I have lots of warm hand knits I enjoy wearing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Everything There is a Season

Dear Mom,
There is a Frost Advisory tonight, which means today is the day they plants come in off the screened porch and find their spots inside for the winter. I like making things cozy, but I will miss using the porch. I spent many relaxing hours out there this summer.
The coming frost will be the end of the zinnias. I snipped a huge bouquet of the last of the best of them and brought that inside, too. I've harvested the dried seed heads for next year's garden.
This summer I filled the flower box outside the kitchen window with lavender. I do enjoy looking out at the flowers there, and this year had the added pleasure of smelling the lavender. Emptying that flower box is depressing. And looking out at the barren flower box all winter makes me feel the cold weather even more. I decided to fill the box with the beautiful things Mother Nature has in my yard. I don't know how long it will stay looking nice, but I am pretty proud of how it looks right now.
I clipped some Norway spruce branches that were laden with pine cones, picked pine cones off the ground,
added some colorful oak and maple leaves
and some hydrangeas and poked in a few dried Black-eyed -Susan heads.
I harvested a bit of basil before the frost hits it- enough for a new recipe I'll try this week. I am not ready to buy "fresh" basil at the grocery store yet! In hopes of keeping it through the winter, I brought in small pots of basil, chives and oregano despite my not having any luck with that in the past.
More evidence of my reluctance to let go of fair weather: I have things drying out on the clothes line. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I am pretending to dry things out on the clothesline. There are a few items out there right now, probably wondering how long I'll leave them hanging, all cold and damp. It may have started sunny, but it is definitely grey out there now. And NOT getting warmer.
As much as I don't like the snow....the days ahead are the days that completely validate knitting and  wearing wool sweaters and socks and shawls, and knitting more and more wool sweaters and socks and shawls.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy B-Day

Dear Mom,
Today was damp and drizzly and little bit cold. I barely roused myself to do much more than nap. But napping with a dog curled behind your knees is the best sort of nap I know. (And yes, napping with Olive curled behind my knees means I let her on the couch. Just this one time. Until she is fully healed and then she can nap there as much as she wants!)
Now that it has been gifted to you, I want to share the Bee version of Chickadee that I knitted as your birthday gift.
Except for the dark brown used for the bee motif, all the yarn in this sweater is my own handspun. The body is lambswool dyed with Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum) harvested last fall from your gardens.
I stumbled upon some bee motifs  HERE, and the knitter generously shared her charts. I used one of those, and tweaked it to fit within and replace the chickadees in the original pattern. This way I could change the motif without changing any increases in the yoke and the fit of the sweater.

don't know why this is blurry
The buttons are salvaged from a Goodwill sweater.

And Bonnie Jo? I know you want one. I have the yarn for it already. ( Not handspun though. I don't want to make you wait that long.)

We had chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight. Delicious homemade soup made from scratch and instinct. Four skinless chicken thighs simmered until the meat fell off the bones.  I glopped a healthy spoonful of vegetable broth base in the water while the meat was simmering and I gave it a couple of glubs of some cranberry apple wine.  I used about 3 T of the homemade onion soup mix I keep on hand and chopped up 3 carrots and about 2 cups of celery, added the rest of a box of penne pasta, and man-o-man is this soup wonderful. 

Be warm!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This is embarrassing

Dear Mom,
At least someone finds my Halloween decorations scary!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

There is a new blog listed over there to the right, on our blogroll.
The MOM of "I'm Gonna Tell Mom!" is now sharing her memories, gardens, recipes, photographs, plans, words of wisdom, creative endeavors and blessings at Holton House.
Because she is one of my favorite people, it only stands to reason that her blog should be one of my favorite things.....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Where There's a Will.....

Dear Mom,
In a desperate and unusual display of willfulness, Olive ignored all the impediments in place and climbed onto the couch.
And while it is clear that she has had enough of what she considers unnecessary and silly physical restrictions.....
She does know to be ashamed of this rash act.

But then.....

Boredom and pent up energy made THIS happen within hours of the previous photos:

This was the new cushion in her crate. 

I am off to the pet store to replenish our Kong supply. ( But NOT to buy a new cushion!) I'll be keeping peanut-butter-loaded, frozen Kongs in rotation. 

A good knitter suggested some mental activities to keep Olive occupied, and emailed me a wonderful list. Unfortunately, Olive would only focus on the treat in my hand and get so excited and wound up about FOOD, that the purpose of engaging her mentally in hopes of wearing her out without wearing out her elbow was defeated. I haven't given up. I think the only way she will learn a new trick is to add it to the string of tricks she already knows! She sees the treat and immediately (and without command) sits and high fives.  Sometimes it is sit, high five, sit, stand, sit, high five and lie down. And all I really was trying to get her to do was focus on my nose. 
I am not complaining. I have had a really smart dog. And even though I miss that trouble maker, I am very appreciative of my sweet, if not-so-smart, Olive.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuscan Portobello Stew

Dear Mom,
Our super healthy dinner last night was so delicious that I have to share the recipe.  This is another winner from the Special Diabetic Issue of Taste of Home magazine. Did that sentence even make sense? How about the Taste of Home, Special Edition, Diabetes family friendly cookbook? I cannot even find a link to it on the world wide web.

The weather says soup and bread to me. But there is a New Normal in this house and bread is just not happening at every meal anymore. ( I could be sad about the bread, but the extra weight and blubber and half of a person I was carrying around with me was making me sadder.) This Stew was flavorful and filling and I did not even miss the bread. It was also easy to prepare and quick to fix. I haven't had it as a leftover yet, but I am hopeful that it is as good if not better on the second day.

Tuscan Portobello Stew
The recipe says it Makes 4 servings but I think it makes more.

2 large portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 c white wine or vegetable broth (I used the broth and saved the wine for my glass)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped fresh kale
1 bay leaf
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 (15oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in oil until tender.
Add the wine or broth. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Stir in tomatoes, kale and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. 
Add beans and heat through. Discard bay leaf.

Nutrition Facts: 1 1/4 c= 309 calories, 8g fat (1 g sat fat), 0 cholesterol, 672 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 12 g protein


Monday, October 7, 2013

Feeling a little TOO good

Dear Mom,

Between the pain pills and puppy-hood, Olive had a sudden burst of wildness last night at 7:30, and before I could stop her, she did a dangerous high speed figure 8 through the dining and living rooms, which ended in a loud YELP. It was all over in about 6 seconds. And on the eve of suture removal. Needless to say, The Limp was worse and The Surgeon Would Not Be Getting a Good Report.
I iced her elbow for as long as she let me, which was about 5 minutes, maybe less, during which time I considered duct taping the ice pack to her elbow and around her chest. Instead, I put her in her crate and had 2 glasses of wine.
So here we are, back home, sutures removed, inflatable collar deflated, with continued restrictions to her activity. Despite last night's misadventure, the surgeon is pleased with Olive's progress. I declined the offer to refill her pain meds. I think they have her feeling a little Too Good. Thankfully, today is the last day for those. As it is, I worry that she may have an addiction to cheese and pain killers and before I know it I'll be looking for the canine equivalent of The Betty Ford.

We return for a hopefully last post op visit in 4 weeks.


Monday, September 30, 2013

One more time

Dear Mom,
The end of last week had its share of emotional gut punches. After a 6 week recovery, Olive's limp had not improved significantly. On Friday morning she had a second surgery to release a tendon and hopefully alleviate some pressure on that joint. While he was in there, the surgeon discovered the cartilage on her humerus bone had been worn away. Olive may always have a limp. We will know more as she recovers over the next 6 weeks and after that we will have to monitor her activity to insure that she does not over-do it and inflame the joint. Her tetherball days may be over. Fortunately, she is not a dog prone to high energy levels, and she lives in a house with "mature" family members. She loves car rides and the rabbits and squirrels in the back yard will be enough entertainment. She just won't be a long walk dog. I've grieved. I accept. I am hoping for a miraculous recovery. And it may be the pain meds, but she is walking better already.

Facing a second surgery was not happy news, but the thought of 2 more weeks of That Blasted Cone of Shame was just about enough to make me come unglued. I decided to spend the extra bucks and try one of those inflatable collars. Assured that I could return the collar should it not work for Olive, I purchased size XL (Olive has a rather thick neck) and brought it home. I inflated the collar, slipped it onto Olive and smeared peanut butter to the inside of Olive's elbow near the site of the previous sutures. She couldn't lick it off. Next, I put Olive with the collar and the peanut buttered elbow into her crate. She and the collar fit. She could turn around. She could lie down. HOOORAY! I left her for about 30 minutes and returned to find the peanut butter still smeared on her elbow.  No more Cone. I can sleep in my own bed rather than on an air mattress in the dining room with the cone-headed dog and the back of our knees will go unscathed. Sutures will be removed on Oct 7.
If surgery weren't involved, I could almost add the Inflatable Collar to my list of Favorite Things Friday!
 Not only am I learning more than I ever thought I would about the anatomy of a canine elbow, I also learned that dogs can get suntanned. (And I suppose get a sunburn.) Olives leg, of course, was shaved again for surgery. This time they shaved a bit more of the upper arm/shoulder area. In the photo below, you can see shades of black to light gray to medium gray. The black, obviously, is Olive's fur. The lightest area is the freshly exposed skin, and the medium gray is the area that is also freshly shaved but had been shaved 6 weeks ago and has been exposed to the sunshine! A tan line!
I know it seems silly to ask, especially when there is so much more important stuff to worry about, but keep Olive's recovery in your prayers. God knows I need her.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Not an Epic Fail

Dear Mom,
I am not sure what to call this, but it turned out exactly as I imagined. A shawl-cardigan hybrid.
A shawl with set in sleeves. or a cardigan with a shawl construction.

I got a deal on this dress (which is more rust than the orange it appears to be in the photos), but it is sleeveless, and I've never been one to sport bare arms. Mine are just Not Pretty. I considered knitting a shawl for this dress, and I LOVE shawls, but wearing a shawl to cover bare arms would require some vigilance and effort to insure that those arms stay covered. I considered a cardigan, but felt this dress was a bit too dress-y for a cardigan. In my mind, a hybrid was born.

I cast on and knit away, knowing there was a good chance that what I was creating would be an epic fail. Still, I had to try. The wool I used (Malabrigo Rios, super wash Merino, Primavera)  is so soft and such a pleasure to work with, that if this Hybrid did not have a happy ending it would be ripped and re-used.

This is constructed from the top down, and all but a fist-full of the yarn was used. It is knit all in one piece, using my own variation of the Contiguous Set in Sleeve. I alternated 2 skeins of yarn on the sleeves to prevent the colors from pooling.
When I began, I was not sure how it would end, and after one attempt, a rip back, and a re-chart, I am extremely pleased with the lace border.
I think this cardi/shawl thing could be worn, and look great, with a pair of jeans and a tee or turtleneck.
I've taken very careful notes as I worked, in the hopes that it would turn out successfully and if so, that it might be something I could publish. Because the sizing is based more on shoulder width and upper arm circumference, I need to do some research and test knitting for sizing. If you see me coming at you with a tape measure, please, just stand still. It won't take long. 


Friday, September 20, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Honeycrisp Apples.

With my own apples trees crippled under the weight of their apples, it is almost criminal of me to go purchase any apples. But Honeycrisp Apples are not just ANY apple.....

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Quick Knit

Dear Mom,

A weekend road trip allowed for a quick finished hat.
Actually I did most of the knitting on this hat at the Cubs game on Saturday and saved something a little more fiddly for the car. We forgot about the time change and arrived at the game an hour early. So I got an hour's bonus knitting time and My Hero got to watch batting practice. All good.

But you should have heard us before we figured out the time thing. 
ME: Wow. There aren't very many people here.... 
HIM: That's because the Cubs are No Good.
We find our seats and sit down. 
HIM: They are still doing batting practice! I've always wanted to watch batting practice!
ME: (in my head) Isn't this the normal warm up stuff they do before a game? What about the kid fielding the balls? He could get hit by a ball accident. Why don't those birds get off the field? A bird could get hit. Good thing I have my knitting. How soon can I take it out of my purse? How does that lady get her hair to stand up so tall? 
Then I look towards the score board and think the clock has stopped and that that is kind of tacky for a Major League Baseball stadium.....
ME: Are they on a different time here?
HIM: Oh. My.

We celebrated a birthday in Style, met some fun people, and left the Windy City on Sunday morning, very thankful that we live where we do.

 This is Daisy Mason's Tam. I used one skein of Grey Heather Nature Spun Worsted. I love the Brown Sheep Yarns. Made in the USA!
Because this tam looks better on a real head than it does on my hat stand, I attempted to take a photo with the hat on my head- one that would show the hat from front and back. After more attempts than I care to count, this is the best I could do. Taken with my iPad. Yes. I am wearing my pjs, have bed head and no make up on. And that blur in the lower right hand corner is my finger. But the hat is cute.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Dear Mom,
My garden experiments were not exactly scientific- no control groups, too many variables, etc- but I did learn a few things. Like what NOT to do next year.
If you remember, I planted seed potatoes in three different ways: In a large pot, in my compost bin, and in the ground. After harvesting all three, it was obvious that IN THE GROUND was by far the best yield. Harder to harvest, though, but fun if you think of it as digging for treasure. Which it is. The compost bin was easiest to harvest and also had a good yield. The flower pot did have some potatoes in it, but it also contained a bone that Olive had buried. Perhaps the bone and the disruption caused by its burial affected the results.
Conclusion: I will grow my potatoes in the ground next year.

As for tomatoes grown in the bag of soil.....Despite Brother's success with this method, I have to say it was a FAILURE. Very disappointing. VERY. Dis. A. PoINT. InG. For a girl who loves her fresh, garden-grown, EatThemHotAndDustyRightInTheGarden Tomatoes, it was foolish of me to take the risk and grow them any other way.
Conclusion: I will grow my tomatoes in the ground next year.

I think I am going to need a bigger garden.


p.s. good stuff on my knitting needles.

p.p.s Olive is still limping.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Dear Mom,
A Finished Project, that turns out well and fits perfectly has to be a Favorite Thing, right?
this photo is true to color- the one above is too red
I've had Chickadee in my knitting queue for awhile. I suspect this one won't be the last. I've been investigating various fair isle patterns to replace the birds. Like BEES.
This sweater is knit from the top down. And there is subtle shaping between bust and hips. Because it is a top down sweater, it was easy to be sure that the shaping happened exactly where it needed to happen for my body. (As it turned out, I needed to make no changes to the pattern here.) I did shorten the sleeves a smudge. And I omitted a contrasting color- choosing to make those rings the same color as my birds rather than come up with a third contrasting color.
I tried and failed on 2 or 3 different button designs, decided to go purchase plain old black buttons, and then the lazy, cheapskate inside me decided to try one more shrinky dink button design rather than get in the car, drive to the fabric store and spend the money on buttons. I am glad I did, because I like the way these turned out. Once again, I sort of cheated, and traced over some fabric I purchased with this sweater in mind.
"They" say we are in for a bitterly cold, possibly early, winter. If this is the case, my Black Bird Sweater will be more than a favorite thing.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Watermelon, An Incident, and Why the Melon in my fridge is a $10 Melon

Dear Mom,

I may be addicted to watermelon.
In fact, when watermelons disappear from the grocery store, I may have a problem.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I've averaged one whole melon every two days for over a month. Maybe two. Months, not melons. Our Brother, the Chef, taught me how to peel and dice a watermelon with virtually no melon wasted. I keep a big bowl of cubed melon in the fridge and snack on bowls of it all day long.
Last Sunday, when My Hero and I did our weekly shopping, we had an unfortunate watermelon incident.

There we are, casually leaving the store. My Hero is pushing the cart filled with our groceries in our re-usable sacks. The Watermelon is riding on the rack under the cart. Like most grocery store arrangements around here, the entrance/exit points at the store are clearly marked with STOP signs, speed bumps, and bright yellow hash marks on the asphalt for pedestrian safety. Despite the STOP sign, speed bump and bright yellow hash marks, My Hero was forced to stop suddenly to avoid being hit by the driver of the blue-gray van who failed to stop and probably only slowed down thanks to those speed bumps. Our Grocery Cart may have stopped abruptly, but The Watermelon did not. He kept on rolling..... right out into the street and under the blue-gray van. I clapped my hands to my face and squeaked "My Watermelon!" as I watched, in slow motion, the poor thing get crushed under those tires.
The Van never knew.  The people behind the van, and the people in the opposite lane of traffic all witnessed the Incident. I stood paralyzed on the sidewalk. My Hero proceeded to cross the parking lot and load the groceries into the car as if nothing happened.

Being the Watermelon Addict that I have clearly become, we immediately returned to the store to buy a replacement. Which means on Sunday we spent $9.98 on watermelon and only brought one home.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cone Free And Getting Back to "Normal"

Dear Mom,

In my head, I say "Cone Free" to the tune of Born Free. Every member of this family is thrilled to be rid of the Cone of Shame. With the hope of warding off future surgery (because there is a slight possibility), The Cone came home with us and will be stored away. I figure if I have it, we will never need it again. Olive is still limited to her leash in the back yard, and may not use the stairs. She is not supposed to run, jump or spin around. She may not look like it, but technically, she is still a puppy. She WANTS to run, jump, and spin around. Especially when feeling new friskiness and cone freedom. I've yelled "No Running" as she darts past me from family room, through the kitchen, looping around the dining and living rooms, back through the kitchen and into the family room. I sound like an elementary school marm. I'd consider leaving her on the house leash, but all that remains of THAT is a 3 inch nylon stump attached to the metal clip.  We  She remains on these restrictions for at least 2 more weeks, at which point we may introduce "easy 5 minute walks" to build up her strength/stamina in the joint. At this point, I just want her to be able to go outside by herself before winter arrives. We go back for a re-check in 6 weeks.
Olive is on a regimen of Cosequin and Rimadyl. The anti-inflammatory Rimadyl makes her elbow feel better, which is good, but that makes her want to do all the stuff she is not allowed to do, which is bad.
BUT! Best of all, without Cone, Olive can now fit into her crate. She has been a big, brave girl, and is spending her nights, downstairs, alone, in her crate. I've been able to sleep upstairs, in my own bed. I was afraid I would need to summon up my Tough Love self and listen to some whimpering, but no. As I said, she is a big, brave girl. 

And another giant step to getting things back to normal around here- Mr. Campus Man is back on campus. We moved him back last Tuesday. 

After the move-in, and after feeding several move-in helpers, My Hero and I investigated a new (to us) yarn shop - well, I investigated the shop. He tested out the shop's sofa- and then, keeping with the tradition we started last year, stopped at Oliver Winery on the way home for a little wine tasting/celebrating.

Chickadee is finished and awaits buttons and blocking. I will post some final photos when I have them to share. And after what feels like MONTHS of uninspired knitting, I have two original designs on my needles. One a basic cowl, the other..... defies simple description. But if it works! I may have a new favorite on my needles..... 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

Delicious hot or iced.
Every Day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Things We Do For Love

Dear Mom,
Olive is well. I've decided she is the only one in this house who appreciates me. It could be that I am sleep deprived and emotional. But then again, she may be the only one in the house who deserves my efforts. Or perhaps I am not All That I Think I Am (or all that I should be) and the combination of Post- Surgical Dog, First Day of School, and getting Mr. Campus Man ready to leave all in the same week is just too much for me.

Olive on her first day home. Notice the shaved leg.
The Young Lady says the unshaved part of her leg looks like her socks are falling down.

I brought Olive home last Tuesday afternoon, with a bag full of drugs and a long list of restrictions. No running, no jumping, no stairs. On leash at all times. She left the hospital wearing The Cone of Shame.
After I loaded her into the car and got myself in and the door shut, my poor, dear, sweet Olive started crying. As if she knew she didn't have to be brave any more. And knew it was safe. And to tell me how awful the whole thing was. I cried with her.

We are those people who allow the dog to sleep with them. To be accurate and honest, I am that person. My Hero....notsomuch. I take great pains to keep Olive on my side of the bed. Anyway, with stairs being restricted and those same stairs between Olive and our bedroom, my plan was to use Tough Love and crate her each night until stairs were back on the menu.


Olive, wearing her XXXL cone, will not fit in the crate. Well, she FITS, she just can't turn around, move, or lie down. And we've invested too much money in The Elbow to risk removing that cone and giving her access to the sutures. Sooo, for the past week, and for one more week, I have been sleeping on an air mattress in the dining room with an 80lb lab wearing a cone. Yes, perhaps I am a little sleep deprived.

The things we do for love.

Twice now, I've emerged from my morning shower to find Olive on our bed! Somehow, she found her way through what I thought was a pretty secure blockade, CLIMBED the stairs and JUMPED on the bed.  I now have a baby gate positioned at the foot of the stairs.
The sutures come out on Monday the 26th.
At 9 am.
Hopefully some of her restrictions will be lifted, but even if they are not, the Cone will go when the stitches come out. And that means no more Dining Room, Hello Crate!

On Wednesday morning being slightly distracted, and tired, I nearly forgot the obligatory First Day of School photo. Plus, after 14 years, the bus stop changed. So, much to her mortification, I took a photo of the Young Lady at the bus stop in front of her friends. And then, just because, I took another one as I drove past on my way back home.

I think she will think twice before asking me to drive her to the bus stop.

And, finally, to keep a grip on what threads of sanity remain.... a little knitting.
Chickadee is almost finished. I love this sweater. LOVE. Can't wait to wear it.

Proper photos and details when she is finished.