Monday, June 25, 2007

Actual Knitting Content!

Thanks for bearing with me fellow fiber lovers! I have been neck deep in personal challenges(and ranting)!

Let it be known that during all that time, knitting and spinning has been my source of calm.

As you know I am enrolled in year one of the Nihon Vogue certification program with Jean Wong. I am working on a top-down raglan sweater. I am knitting it out of Jamieson Shetland in the Oceanic color. I am actually doing the *traditional* student role in that I am knitting the exact project that is in our textbook. Many students are doing plain stockinette, or something of their own choice. I'm doing exactly what is in the book. There is a cable pattern down the sleeves and a cable/lace pattern down the front. There is no patterning on the back.

Here is a photo of the detailing of the front:

Detailing of the sleeves:
With a top-down raglan type sweater - you increase at each junction front/sleeve, sleeve/back, back/sleeve, sleeve/front. The increases are done every other row. So what I do to keep track of whether this is an increase row is I pair a coiless marker, one green, one orange. When it is an increase row, I put the green coiless marker on the needles at the beginning of the row. In my brain Green means go(increase), orange means stop(no increase). Then I switch it back to orange on a non-increase row. See picture below to get a better sense of what I'm saying. So the photo below means it is not an increase row.

For the next session we have to have it knit up to the bust measurement and I'm there! YES!

I have yet to cast-on for the second project which is a vest. I have the plain stockinette swatch as that was what I was going to do for the full vest.

As I was pondering a plain round-neck vest in stockinette for the vest...I thought it screamed "BOR-ING". So I like the idea of doing a lace pattern. The only challenge is having decreasing and increasing at the sides for seaming(which we will learn the correct Nihon technique). I don't want to have to calculate how to do that in a lace pattern. I *could* talk to Evelyn Clark about it at Ferals but I don't want work that hard right now. I'm thinking about doing stockinette just at the sides of lace pattern.

Haven't you seen sweaters or vests that had a pattern in the front/back but had plain stockinette on the sides(it is supposed to be slimming as well). I thought I would do that as a compromise.

If I do that I may need to do another draft of the pattern. I'll have to do more swatching to see how much the patterning affects the overall garment. Homework for the weekend!

Saturday is set aside to go to Churchmouse with Michale as well as meet with her mother for brunch at Cafe Nola. Sounds like a perfectly good way to spend a Saturday. (note: Greg will be down at Bangrila doing lots of yard work! I timed this little trip well, didn't I?)

I have dreams of knitting on other things. The knitting lust list has grown considerably. I have Memories of the Ukraine in Euroflax(remember I was knitting this in Bonaire), finishing my Kauni Cardigan(the one the Yarn Harlot picked up and now everyone is trying to get the yarn!), finishing up Starmore's Abalone, various socks and now...the dragonfly vest by Janine Bajus(the pattern is in Sweaters from Camp). I'm dying to take a class from Janine - just have been so busy! Someday the stars will align and I can take a fair isle class from her.

Here is a photo of Gail's(blogless) version. Notice the cute turtle stitch marker? She says she has that marker because she is going so slow on it. Isn't that beautiful? Makes you just want to get on-line, order the book, supplies and start casting on, doesn't it?

Spinning news: I recently acquired a Woolee Winder. Oh. Man. I. Love. This. Invention.

Time is at a premium for me( shut up! I don't have children, I have a self-sufficient-dinner-preparing husband, I have easy to care for dogs, I haven't been exercising) and I like to make the most of my time. I do not like having to stop my spinning, move the fiber from one hook to another. With this handy dandy buddy, I don't have to! It is a wonder. Thank. you. very. much!!!!

One last thing. I went to a Seattle Mariner game on Sunday. Our old friend Ken Griffy, Jr. was in town(I know, you couldn't live in Seattle and not hear about it). He hit two home runs against Seattle and the whole stadium gave him a standing ovation despite him earning runs against us. Seattle loves Griffy. I got a photo of him hitting the ball on the first home run he hit. Have to share it here. Maybe some day he'll be back wearing a Mariner uniform!

Friday, June 22, 2007

4 Years Served - of a Life Sentence!

The title of this post comes from my friend Linda. She and her husband George say this regarding the number of years they have been married.

Greg and I celebrated our four year wedding anniversary on June 22.

I quickly went looking for some digital pics of our wedding day. You know how quickly computers get obsolete? Well I archived a bunch o' fotos onto CD's and you know what? I can't find them. I don't want to take the time to scan the "real" old fashioned photos that were actually developed from film. Some day soon I'll post of wedding photo.

What has life been like with Greg?

I always tell people that have not found their true love that I wish for them, what I have with Greg.

He's a sensitive but very male, male.

We laugh everyday. I think there was only one day when we did not laugh. We didn't laugh because we went to bed mad and didn't talk. So there was no laughing because we weren't even talking and there was a lot of sighing going on!

We say we are sorry when we need to fess up on our behaviour and when our partner needs to hear it.

We take a moment out of each day, look into each others eyes and really connect. We say "I love you" and really touch, soul to soul.

When one or the other is out of town, we have to connect at least once a day by phone. If phone is not an option, we email.

He usually plans/goes grocery shopping and makes dinner during the week. He really tries to make really yummy salads with dinner so I'll eat enough fiber! If I'm especially lazy or tired from work, he'll even do the dishes!

How does one describe what I consider a soul-mate? I can't imagine my life without him. We work so well together - we are truly a team. We support each other, we challenge each other to be better human beings. Life is better, brighter and a hell of a lot more fun with him in my life. He made my world bigger, not smaller.

We are a very huggy couple. I need Greg hugs everyday and when he's not available, Chase and Beanie come in a distant second....although when I'm mad at him, Greg comes in a distant third! :)

We've been together a total of 7 years and they have absolutely flown by.

Honestly, everyday is better than the one before. Greg is the sweetest, gentlest, most thoughtful man I know. I would vow to marry him all over again. No question.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I'm mad, disappointed and not surprised. I hemmed and hawed about posting this in my blog because my blog is MOSTLY about knitting and travel but those of you that follow my life, sometimes it veers off into the more personal.

Beware: This entry is a very personal one and it contains my OPINION!

President Bush just vetoed a bill aimed at at promoting stem cell research.

Until a person has walked in the shoes of another, please do not judge.

I know with this post I'm going to be putting myself out there - on a narrow ledge in full view of others and doing so with purposeful intention.

My hope is that with this post, someone will hear this plea.

In general, I'm a very "out there" person. I'm not the type of person to hide things from people or NOT share my life experiences with people. Life is about learning, isn't it? At least this is how I view life.

Some people may stop reading my blog after this but I'm willing to take the chance in hopes that this post may affect people - maybe even motivate some to take action.

In my last post, one of the random things I wrote about was that I was an egg donor with the use of fertility drugs. I made this decision deliberately and with MUCH consideration. I struggled with it. I fought with it and I finally made peace with it.

This will be a long post so please bear with me(that is if you want to read it all).

Where do I start?

It all started with a leukemia diagnosis. My niece, Nicole, was diagnosed with leukemia. A rare type for children. She was 5 years old at the time. Her only *cure* was, and still is, a bone marrow transplant. We held numerous bone marrow drives, we pleaded with TV stations to run her story. It was picked up by national news agencies but people still did not/do not sign up for the bone marrow registry! The sight of the needles were just too much for people. Now they can do the tissue typing with a saliva swab. No more needles.

Every member of our family all got tested to determine whether any of us were bone marrow matches for her. None of us were.

My sister and her husband hooked up with a California geneticist that could determine, after 8 cell splits, whether an embryo would be a match for Nicole. This man, with the help of technology, could assist in bringing a child into the world that would be a perfect tissue typing match for Nicole, a life saving match.

My sister and her husband tried this fertility routine a couple of times. It is very, very costly. The last time they tried was in few days before 911. She was on fertility drugs and the timing of implantation needed to be timed exactly. Any of you that have undergone any type of fertility treatments know that fruition/maturation of the eggs is very important. Right at the time of the 911 disaster, Rob was scheduled to go down to California for his part of the fertility routine. Trish was already down there with her maturing eggs! Because all the flights were grounded and cancelled due to the twin tower disaster, this hampered their efforts. They had to go down to California because the technique of determining if the embryo cells were a match for Nicole was not being done in Seattle. Eventually by working with this geneticist, they were able to do the techniques from Seattle.

So, the story continues. My sister Trish is 3 years older than I am. Through the bone marrow tissue typing we all went through, we discovered that Trish and I were bone marrow matches for each other.

The biggest issue my sister faced was that her eggs were getting old. This was causing problems with getting the embryo to split and many were not developing because of the condition of her eggs(scrambled perhaps? Ok, bad joke).

Being an analytical person I thought - "I wonder....if we are bone marrow matches for each other, maybe she could use my eggs since they are 3 years younger?". In working with many agencies to confirm whether this could work, it was determined my eggs could be used. That means that a child created from my genetics, along with her husbands, could create a child that would be a bone marrow match for Nicole.

Now I had some HUGE issues with going forward with this.

Essentially I would be having a child with my brother-in-law. This was VERY hard for me because I'd always wanted to have children of my own. I had met a wonderful man, my soul mate Greg, who was 14 years older and he was past the point in life of having, and raising, children. Having children of our own was not an option.

I was haunted by this decision because I so wanted to have children. I agreed to marry Greg knowing he did not want children. I had lived enough life to know that having this kind of loving connection with another person is a rare thing. I gave up having children for Greg.

Now with this scenario, how would I deal with seeing a child raised by my sister and brother in law that was half me and not raise it? How would I deal with seeing this child? How much grieving would I experience. How hard, emotionally, would this be for me?

I knew in my heart that if this could save Nicole, I needed to do everything in my own power to save her. If I didn't do this I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life. If she died, I would feel like I was somehow responsible if I didn't try this option.

All of this work in genetics had allowed us to be able to determine after an embryo cell splits 8 times, whether it would be a life saving match for Nicole.

Do you know how hard going through fertility treatment is? You have to get shots in your butt and in your stomach everyday. No, twice a day. Near the end when your eggs are maturing, you have to go in for vaginal ultrasounds EVERYDAY! Everyday I walked up to "pill hill" from work for those ultrasounds, dreading every step, but I just kept thinking that my efforts could save Nicole.

In my early 20's I had to have one ovary removed. I had endometriosis. So I only had 1/2 the number of potential eggs in a cycle than a normal two ovaried person.

Long story short. My eggs were old too.

I was going through all of this right after Greg and I got married. We did it the few months between our wedding day and our honeymoon. We waited a few months after the wedding before going on a honeymoon and this was what we did in-between!

Greg had to deal with this emotional wife caused by all the fertility drugs! He was a saint. Not only did he have to deal with me and my mood swings, he had to give me all the shots! The ones in the stomach were especially painful. He hated giving me the shots because he knew it was hurting me. He did all of this because he knew it could save Nicole's life.

It was a very disappointing result. I only got 8 eggs extracted and some embryos were not even viable. None were matches for Nicole. The odds were 25% of the viable, fertilized eggs would be a match.

I remember walking into the doctor's office after we knew the results were back. Trish had to take fertility drugs also to prepare her body for implanting the fertilized egg. We knew there was bad news when we walked into the office. The nurses would not even look us in the eye.

We cried....and cried and cried some more. One doctor came in and asked us if we wanted some help. I knew he worked in fertility and must have had experience dealing with disappointed wanna-be parents but it sure didn't feel like it. His "bedside manner" left a lot to be desired. It was like he did not understand why were SO upset. We were trying to save Trish's daughter and my niece's life and it was not going to happen. Uh, you think that might be upsetting? DOH! Get a CLUE!

We eventually pulled ourselves together and walked out of the medical building in a daze.

Why am I on a soapbox?

Stem cell research could help cure diseases like leukemia and Bush just vetoed a bill for stem cell research.

I just love these quotes by Bush and his logic.

"America is a nation founded on the principle that all human life is sacred. And our conscience calls us to pursue the possibilities of science in a manner that respects human dignity and upholds our moral values," Bush said.

"Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical. And it is not the only option before us,'' the president said.

By preventing the funding of stem cell research they are basically putting the nail in so many people's coffins. Many of these people are living through debilitating illnesses that may one day be cured based on the research done with stem cells. Is that valuing these people's lives?

There is even new research shows it might be possible to create embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. Many of the embryos used in research are those that have been discarded by people undergoing in-vitro fertilization. I recall signing a release that the embryo's created but not used for implantation could be used for research. Some of my embryo's might have been used for research.

Embryo's that are created during the fertility process but not used for research are usually destroyed.

So will Bush and his buddies be introducing legislation outlawing fertility treatments because the unused embryo's should not be destroyed? What does he plan on doing with these embryo's that currently are being destroyed? He says the issue is that one life should not be exchanged for another but they are being destroyed now anyway. So where does that logic lead? Nowhere, in my opinion. If he truly disagreed with the destruction of these embryos, he should introduce legislation that prevent the destruction of these embryos. If he did do something crazy like that, what would he do with all of them? Would he use federal funds to keep all those embryo's not used during in-vitro, viable? I guess he hasn't thought about that. Maybe he hasn't continued thinking through that line of reasoning.

Shouldn't these embryos that are now being destoyed be used for something valuable like research on how to cure diseases and save lives?

They KNOW stem cell research will help find cures for diseases.

The spin doctors do not title his action: "Bush vetoes funding for life saving research"

Well basically that is what Bush just did.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I've been Memed

Ellen tagged me!

I actually like this meme. I have found it really interesting to read what random facts people choose to write about.

My Random facts:

1). I'm one of 7 (technically should that be 7 of 7 since I'm the youngest?)

From day one, I've always been defined that I am one of 7 girls in my family(no, I have no brothers). I am the youngest of the family and rightly defined as "spoiled". I didn't have just one mother, I had 7 - my mom and my 6 older sisters.

2). I love animals!

As a child I always tried to rescue, catch, watch or bring animals home. I tried to rescue birds that tried to fly into our large living room window. The birds would be under the window on the ground either dazed, or sadly, dead. I tried to help them if they were still alive.

My parents were very good at tuning out children, especially by the seventh one. I kept trying to get a pet. I begged, pleaded and begged some more..."Can't I keep this dog?", "Can I have a hamster?", "Please, please, please, please?". I did bring home the one dog we had growing up. Big surprise, huh?

Even today I will try and rescue animals. Just recently a little bird hit one of our windows. It was on our deck, dazed. I tried to pick it up but it had just enough energy to fly up to our table on the deck. I set some peanut butter out on the table. It pecked at it and got his/her strength up and flew away. I felt so thrilled and happy!

Yes, instead of killing spiders or moths in the house - I try to catch and release them. Many of us fiber lovers would not be be so kind to the moths but I just can't kill them. The only bugs I relish killing are mosquitos.

3). I used to be a CPA (thank you for your condolences! Smile). In fact I let my license expire this year! Let's celebrate!

How did I become one? Well honestly, since I knew I had to pay for tuition and books for college, I knew I was going to need scholarships, hence the motivation to get good grades, be well rounded, so I could get help paying for school.

My mom was helping me fill out the applications and you had to define a major. Major in what? I was in high school. I hadn't thought much more than getting straight A's, cheerleading and being boy crazy. What would I DO "for the rest of my life to support myself?" I had no idea so Mom put down 'Business Administration' on the application. I got to the University of Washington and didn't know what classes to take so I took Accounting in the School of Business. I got a 4.0. I thought "This is SO easy".

That is how my career life began. Sad but true. The path of least resistance or being lazy. I don't know which. Then when I graduated my dad kept hounding me until I passed the CPA exam(can you hear "Oh DAD!" in a whiny voice?). So thanks to Dad, I did earn those 3 capital letters to put behind my name so I could sound more professional. Me professional? I know. Don't laugh.

4). I was an egg donor(fertility). Long story, way too long to explain here. I didn't do it to earn money, and no child resulted from it sadly. If you ever want to know the details, let me know. As I write that, I know no one will ask because they'll be too embarassed!

5). Related to number 4 - my sister Trish and I are bone marrow matches for each other. If she needs a bone marrow transplant she's covered and if I need one, I'm covered.

6). If Greg dies before I do, my house will be filled with dogs(and probably a lot of yarn, and roving). Let us just hope 1) this doesn't happen, and if it does happen that I don't 2) start buying sheep, llamas, etc for the backyard!

7). I absolutely love Michael Buble'. I could listen to his CD's over and over, and then over and over again. I don't know what it is about his voice. I'm so excited. While in Bonaire Michael Buble tix went on sale I and got a pair to see him at McCaw Hall in late August for my birthday! Luckily Greg likes him too. (I love him - Michael Buble' that is...athough I do love Greg too!)

Well that is it! Who should I tag next?? Don't hate me!


Rules of the meme: Each tagged person provides 7 random facts about themselves on their blog along with the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog.

For the seven people you've tagged, you need to put a note in their comments so they know they have been tagged and will read your blog for more details.

Have fun with it!

Nihon Vogue with Jean Wong

I am fortunate enough to be enrolled in year one of the Nihon Vogue knitting certification program taught by Jean Wong, sponsored by Madrona Fiber Arts.

While in Bonaire I missed the first of ten, two day weekend, sessions which will be conducted in the next year. There are 14 or 15 students enrolled in this program.

This past Sunday, I met with some fellow students so that they could help me get up to speed on what they learned in two days of intense instruction!

Here they are looking quite coy at Third Place Commons in the Lake Forest Park Towne Center! From left to right: Melinda, Scottie, Joni and Shiori.

I'm glad I had taken Tailored Japanese Knitting from Jean at Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat because she taught the pattern drafting then and that material is *somewhat* fresh in my mind. She also taught the pattern drafting over the weekend so I don't feel like I missed out too much by not being in the first session.

These photos show that the Nihon method of pattern drafting is somewhat complex! We will have to do this drafting for, all or most, of the remaining projects. I'm hoping that pattern drafting will eventually become second nature.

Project one is a round neck vest. The pattern drafting we have to do is for the vest. Project two is a top-down raglan(no pattern needed). I have done a couple top-down raglan sweaters in the past so I'm pretty familiar with the concept of that garment.

Overall I feel at ease with getting up to speed. I may write something completely different, a post full of expletives, once I actually start drafting my vest pattern!

I'll post more information as I actually start my projects! I know what I'll be busy doing this weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Photos of "The Boys" for Greg

When I left Greg in Bonaire he asked me to post some photos on the blog of Chase and Beanie so he could see them. I have finally had time to do this. I've been busy!

So here are a couple of Chase and Beanie before they got bathed and had their hair trimmed.

Chase: Beanie:

Now the new and improved versions.

Beanie in motion.

Chase looking up at me saying he is hungry and wondering why I don't give him MORE!

This photo shows Chase's leg they had to shave so they could administer IV fluids. You can also get a peek-a-boo view of his tummy that was also shaved for the ultrasound.

I gotta run. Ever since I got home Chase has been whining that he is HUNGRY. He is now fed 3x/day and you'd think I was starving him. He has lost 2 pounds since his hospital visit and weighs in at a whopping 10.6 pounds.

Like most humans - he hates being on a low-fat diet. He just came into the office again, found some paper on the floor and is scraping at it to get my attention. Yes, he's feeling much better.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bonaire Stuff

I am intrigued by the physics or whatever that makes the leeward and windward sides of islands. Admittedly I'm not educated in what makes this so(all that science stuff.) All I know(don't be embarrassed Greg) is that the side of the island we are on, the west side, is the leeward side and the waters are so calm and serene while the east side, or windward side, has very rough waters.

Here is the view from our room on the leeward side. We sit out on our deck every morning and enjoy our tea/coffee with this wonderful view. When I get to Houston, after clearing customs I am going straight to a Starbucks. I need some *good* coffee!

Now here is the windward side:

One of the newer sports that is hot is kite surfing. It is pretty cool stuff. There is a famous brother trio on the island that I read about in one of the local publications. This sport looks like you need a lot of athletic ability.

I just did a quick browse of some of Greg's photos. I hope he doesn't mind that I post them before they are truly ready for public consumption....

If you click on this photo you can see this guy has blue claws.

Today is Thursday already. I have just today and tomorrow here before I make the long trek home on Saturday. I fly off Bonaire at 7:30 am. Gotta love those early flights(not).

Admittedly I've indulged in spa treatments while here. Last Friday I had a deep tissue massage that was to die for. Not the kind that Ryan and TMK had that left them bruised! See the archives of Mossy Cottage Knits on April 16. Tuesday I had a facial, this morning I tried reflexology and this afternoon I'm getting a polish change on my toes! Did you know that bug repellant will make your polish bubble up? It looks unsightly! Tomorrow afternoon I'm doing another deep tissue massage so I can be relaxed and ready to come home!

Usually when G and I go on these types of vacations I think "Oh, I'll do spa treatments" but never do because I'm sort of...well, I think..."its too much of a splurge". Greg always tell me to do them but in my past I had to be more of a financial miser and old habits die hard. He does two dives a day and that adds up. So he figures to make things "even" I should do a spa treatment a day.

You know what? He is learning to compromise in marriage! You can teach an old dog new tricks! (Don't worry about that last comment. We joke about this all the time - he was 51 when we got married and had never been married before - so learning to compromise has definitely been a process!). Love you, Greg!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Back to Travel and Knitting Content!

Yesterday we drove around part of the island. We could not believe how much construction is going on here. Greg's first trip here was in 1999 and mine was 2001. Back then property values were moderate. Now, the prices are comparable to Seattle prices. Incredible.

Here are my flamingo stripe toe-up socks. I like the striping.

As we travelled around the island we saw wild flamingo. What a coincidence! I should have taken a photo of my sock with the flamingo's in the background. Why didn't I think of that?

Here is one of Greg's topside photos of the flamingo's - his camera has quite a bit more power than my little point and shoot:

I decided to stay in the air-conditioned car - this is to give perspective of how close we were to these guys.

Here is Greg taking some flamingo photos at a different location.

I also am close to finishing the body of Memories of Ukraine. Greg had already left for diving this morning so I had to rely on the mirror and very bad lighting in the room. You get the idea. I am not that thrilled with how it is looking - needless to say it makes me look larger than I really am. No clothing should do that - especially something that takes hours to create. But....I'm hoping that once the linen is washed and it gets softer, that it will look better. Either that or I'll need to go on a diet and that is at the very bottom of my 'To Do' list!

Let me make a comment about bodies and weight. I was a bit in a tizzy about coming to bikini island because I've put on about 8 extra pounds since our last trip here. I had to buy some new bathing suits to cover up my rolls. I come here and I just love how the europeans are so *comfortable* in their skin. They wear bikini's with their tummies hanging out. I just love that. Now I would be WAY too self conscious to do such a thing but I can learn to love my body more/better what? Truly it is what is on the inside, not the outside. I wish Americans and American culture taught women to love their bodies, no matter the color, the shape, the condition. It seems the opposite - we are taught to hate our bodies and we put WAY too much focus on this issue and it doesn't deserve the time and attention we give it. So on to unconditional love....

Chase is doing well at Trish's house. The kids are NOT feeding him any human food and he's on a 3 meal a day diet to not overtax his old pancreas. Trish said he was so excited when they came to pick him up yesterday. He ran out of his kennel over to them, ran back to the kennel and back out again. His little trip to the hospital was a costly little adventure and he's worth every penny and more. Can't put a price on unconditional love.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Chase is coming home!

I just checked my email after having dinner at a quaint Parisian bistro here on the island called Bistro de Paris.

I got good, no GREAT, news. Chase is ready to go home!!!!

The doctor told my sister, Trish, that Chase is eating and turning circles. Any of you that have met him know about his circle turning. That is awesome news! Quite honestly I'm sitting in this small internet room with no air conditioning, crying by myself. The good thing is these are happy tears. Tears of relief.

He is wearing a pain patch, similar to a nicotine patch, on his belly which delivers a constant flow of pain meds. This is a good thing. Then he has an appointment on Friday with my regular vet, who is awesome, Dr. Karen Konz at Maple Leaf Pet Corner.

I come home somewhere around 5pm Saturday night. My friend Jamie will be picking me up. She is so cute. In her email she said something like "I will pick you up at the airport and we will go straight to Chase". She has taken care of Chase and Beanie for part of the time when we went to South Afric and she, too, has become quite attached to the pair(I think of Chase and Beanie - "like peas and carrots" from Forrest Gump).

So...I'm relieved. I'm exhausted. I went sorkeling this afternoon and it felt wonderful. I was very *present* and it really was uplifting. I got to see a really cool eel and this pair of French Angels actually came up to me. I wanted to think they were sending me positive vibes but I think they were just looking for food - a lot like Chase, when I think about it.

On knitting related news, I am almost done with the body of the Memories of Ukraine. I haven't done anything further on the Pomatomus socks. I did start a toe up sock in the Lorna's Laces Flamingo Stripe - very cute and very quick to knit. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Again...Thank you all for your support. It has made all the difference to me. My Chase thanks you too. He sounds more like himself.

The funny thing the doctor said is that Yorkies are notorious for being finicky eaters. Y'all know that is not like Chase, huh? The only thing is he will have STRICT instructions for what he can/cannot eat. So all you Aunties out there - you will have to contain yourselves, no matter how pitiful he looks at you. His life depends on it!

Few people truly understand what animals do for humans. Some people would say "its just a dog" but you all understand my level of fear because dogs/animals are not just an animal, they are members of our families.

Love you guys. I have a hard time conveying how much your comments/e-mails/thoughts and prayers have meant to me. Honestly all the sentiments, along with frantic knitting, have kept me going the past few days.

That is another wonderful thing. Knitting has brought a lot of us together and that is another thing to be thankful for.

I'm very grateful 1) to have met all of you and 2) that you share life's adventures with me and vice versa.

Have a great night!

Update on Chase

Chase continues to be in the animal hospital. He may be able to come home today.

He has canine pancreatitis and gallstones. The docs don't want to treat the gallstones at this point because they can reduce in size and when the move along, they can get stuck down the line sometimes requiring surgery. Given Chase's health at the moment, they are choosing to hopefully reduce the pancreatitis issue and then deal with the gallstones later.

Trish, Nicole and Connor visited him last night at the hospital and he was very happy to see them. That in itself brought me to tears knowing how much he liked their visit and is probably somewhat lonely in the hospital. I even got to talk to him on the phone. Trish said he stopped moving and pricked his ears up while I talked to him.

I was looking into alternate ways to get home earlier if his condition warranted me to get home ASAP. We came to Bonaire on Continental Airlines and they only fly out of here on Saturday and Sunday. I had lost my chance on Sunday to get out of here. I looked at purchasing a new, one-way ticket home on another carrier which would cost around $1500 but luckily the doc said that Chase is in no way in critical condition. He is stable but in a fair amount of pain. They have him on pain meds and he's not too interested in food - only the really good treats, according to the attending doctor. Sounds like Chase, doesn't it?

From what I have read on the internet about this canine pancreatitis, it can be bad or it can be ok. I'm praying it can be managed with diet, but Chase is almost 13 years old. In many cases it is caused by a high fat diet. That is why I'm so insistent about not giving the dogs human food. We currently feed Chase and Beanie Canidae Platinum wet and dry. So...I don't know if that is the cause or not. Trish will tell the docs the details and get details on what he should be fed.

Trish said Beanie has been out of sorts without Chase. The first night he wouldn't stop crying and she couldn't figure out what was wrong. Trish finally realized that Beanie was lonely and she brought him up to her bedroom at 1am and then he calmed down enough to sleep. He continues to look for Chase.

I thank all of you for the positive thoughts and well wishes. It has been a tough go the past couple days for me. I had a migraine yesterday and I'm so thankful for the prescription drugs they have now to relieve the symptoms once they start. I was not surprised one came on. I was pretty stressed out.

My sister Trish told me via email today that the lesson in this is to continue to live in the moment and how much of a challenge that can be. I'm in a paradise and I can't or couldn't enjoy it at all. I couldn't eat or sleep.

Last night we had a wonderful dinner oceanside and today Greg took a break from diving so we could spend the day together. We drove around the island and saw some cool stuff. I really needed some dedicated Greg and Naomi time.

It is true. Live for the moment because that is all we truly have. Easier said than done.

I love my boys(my dogs) so much. In the absence of human children, these are my kids and when they aren't feeling well, it is hard to enjoy the moment. Chase, my happy go lucky, always on the hunt for food, Yorkie who doesn't want to eat right now, would want us to have fun.

As soon as I wrote being in the moment, my thinking mind says "Yeah...but he's in a hospital all alone and he doesn't have him mom to comfort him and.." blah blah blah.

There you have it: The struggle between the thinking mind and just *being in the moment*.

Now that is a challenge most of us could benefit from...being more in the moment!!

Thanks, Chase, for the reminder in being in the present moment!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Chase is in the Hospital!!

Last night at midnight our time I got a call from my sister Trish who is caring for our "two boys", Chase and Beanie. I was in a deep sleep and when the phone rang I was fully aware that a call to us in the Carribbean in the middle of the night was not going to be good news.

The first thing she says to me is "Don't worry". I'm like, uh yeah right. Anyone that knows me knows I'm a worrier.

Chase, my/our Yorkshire Terrier, was admitted to the emergency animal hospital last night. He is currently on IV fluids/pain meds. Before we left he was a bit under the weather but we suspected the flu because he got better. Then a couple days after we got here I got an email from Trish saying he was sick but was feeling better. Trish knew that something was very wrong when she offerred him food and he walked away. Those of you that know Chase, if he walked away from food, you know something was wrong.

She called our regular vet and she suggested she wait to see how he was doing in the morning. Trish could tell he was in pain so she decided to admit him last night at the emergency animal hospital.

We talked to the doctor at the emergency hospital last night(at $4 per minute!) and she said they don't know what is wrong. He's on pain meds so he isn't in pain. They did an ultrasound and the liver was enlarged but the blood test indicated he was in normal to high normal range. She thought possibly it could be something going on with the pancreas or maybe a tumur of some sort. She was busy with some other animal emergency and she would continue testing when she was done caring for the other, more critical patient.

My baby is in the hospital and I'm thousands of miles away. I can't do anything whether I am there or here but it feels really hard being so far from home.

The particular more direct flights home only run once a week on Saturday. I'm anxiously awaiting news to see if I need to make arrangements to come home early.

It is so hard waiting, waiting, waiting.

The other logistical challenge is that while I'm checking mail, etc. I can't be in the room waiting for the call because the wireless connection is in another building. I figure she won't call until after 8am Seattle time which is 11am our time.

I just hope she has some news, some idea as to what is wrong with Chase.

I have photos of Chase on my laptop so I'll post a few now before I head back to the room. Hopefully I'll get a call soon.

This is typical Chase - looking happy, like he is smiling on my friend Jamie's lap.

Here he is relaxing with Greg.

Here he is with Beanie and Stipulation - my Schacht Matchless DT - while it was still in the box.

This challenge is really, really hard. I would appreciate any healing vibes you can send to Chase. He'll really appreciate the thoughts and prayers. He's almost 13. I can't imagine life without him. He has been with me for a large part of my adult life. He's my "baby Chase".

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Texas size via Argentina via Bonaire!

We ate at a place called Casablanca tonight. It is an Argentinian restaurant right on the main inland road near Kralendijk.

We ordered the Mixed Grill for TWO. This is what we got. Mind you, this is for two people, supposedly!

When we were waiting for our food to be delivered we looked over at this table that had about 6 people and they ordered this as well. We said that that must be for 6 people. Surely this could NOT be what we were going to receive? Well by god, it was.

This cute Dutch mom and daughter sitting next to us were as incredulous as we were. We offered them some of our grill but they didn't take us up on it.

Here is another view of us with our huge Texas size portions!

How could two people manage to eat all that meat? There is no way. We took the leftovers home with us to have for the next two days for lunch! We have a refrigerator and we'll go into town to get some bread to make sandwhiches. Greg's brother Mike and his wife(my good friend) Renee' have travelled with us to Bonaire, Fiji, Tahiti and South Africa. This is a meal they could sink their teeth into and we really needed them last night! There was plenty for them as well.

As is the case at most of the places we eat dinner, there are local dogs that stand outside the restaurant in full view of the patrons enjoying their meals. Now if Greg were not with me, all of those dogs would be getting some treats from Mama Naomi. Can't handle the pitiful looks of those dogs looking up at me, pleading for something to eat!

There are lots of iguana's in these parts. We got to see some climbing the trees in the afternoon and here is the "Where's Waldo?" of iguana watching.

I haven't posted any photos of the place we are staying. It is called the Plaza Resort Bonaire.

This is the walkway from the main reception building down to our room.

I leave this post with an underwater photo. I love these blue spotted flounder. Mind you as youngsters they are not flat like this. As they mature their eyes develop with their bodies to be able to be flat against the ocean floor. Isn't that amazing?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Even More Bonaire

I heard from Melinda that Seattle is experiencing some very hot weather. I told her that I leave town and it heats up. I go all the way down to the Netherland Antilles and I could have just stayed home! Just kidding.

It has been much muggier this trip. We have never come this late in the year - so we didn't get to experience this much humidity. It is still lovely here but we are thankful for air conditioning. Last night making the just over one mile walk "home" from was h-h-hot. When we walk into our room, we take a big sigh of relief!

I just did a very cursory review of some of Greg's pictures from yesterday so I can share something of what is below the waters here. Yesterday just as thedive boat was arriving at the dive site, a huge pod of dolphins were playing quite close. They all jumped into the water sans diving gear so they could see them before they sped off. Greg said these dolphins were the biggest he has ever seen and that they were playing within 5 feet of the divers. He als said he heard them "talking" in their sqeak speak. I had the pleasure of hearing dolphin talk in Fiji but didn't actually get to get close to the dolphins.

Back to the photos:

Now the knitting content. Here is the Memories of Ukraine. I am making progress. It looks kind of funky at this point. The body will be much longer(I try to stay age appropriate! ) and it will have long sleeves.

Tomorrow(and Sunday) I will be missing out on the first Jean Wong class sponsored by Madrona Fiber Arts. When I get back I'll have my hands full with the first two projects - a round neck vest (project 1) and a top down sweater(project 2). The Sunday I get back Melinda will help me get up to speed. Thank you so much Melinda!!

I have not worked on my Kauni cardi in quite some time. Check out Melinda's blog for her progress. Her sweater is amazing and so well constructed. Go quit your job girl and teach!

As you may recall, Ruth Sorenson is the designer of the Kauni cardi. If you have not checked her blog in some time, you should go here to see her latest design. It is truly amazing!!! She uses the striping of the Kauni yarn in such inventive, innovative designs. Go check it out!