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A Year of Duncan

Today’s Duncan’s Gotcha Day! For whatever reason, last fall I decided we needed a third dog, and it was a challenge to find one to fit in with the two we already had. We had a boy and a girl, and I thought it would be better to have two girls and one boy. So we met a lot of girl dogs, and none of them were a good fit. Then one of the people at our Great Plains SPCA said we’d probably be better off with another boy dog; that two girl dogs typically don’t get along as well. With that, our search started fresh, and it wasn’t long before I spotted Duncan’s picture online. I went straight from work to meet him and loved him enough that I had the kids bring the dogs up and we all had a long meet and greet. The boy wasn’t convinced at first; he’d seen another one online that he liked the look of. But the rest of us talked him into it (or rather overruled him) and we took Duncan home!

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He’s definitely been the most challenging dog we’ve had. He destroyed more things than either of the others and we had to keep trying different solutions. Finally we got gates and the dogs stay in the kitchen when we’re not home. I don’t love it, but they’re together, it’s bigger than a crate, and he hasn’t chewed up anything since then. At night, he sleeps in the kitchen and the other two sleep in the living room, and everyone seems happy enough. I hope he’ll get to a point soon where we don’t have to lock him up, but I’m not sure I trust him just yet.

He went from 65 pounds to 100 pounds of muscle. He’s not fat, just very solid. He and Grace have a great time rough housing, and she’s totally the boss of him. He’s the most gentle of the three dogs with the sweetest little kisses, he’s a big cuddle bug that will sprawl on your lap like he only weighs 10 pounds, and he’s fantastic with the little kids in our family. He’s just pretty darn awesome. Even with the chaos and bills and dirt, I’ve only once questioned the decision to adopt Duncan, and that was shortly after we got him when he chewed up some of my books. But he’s growing into a great dog, and I’m pretty sure that even the husband is glad we have him!

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All of our dogs are rescue dogs, mixed breeds from local shelters, and they’re all fantastic dogs. Adopt, don’t shop!

 

National Pet Day

Today is National Pet Day, and I have some of those! Three, to be exact, as most of you know. Jack, Grace, and Duncan are my best furry friends.

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They make life hectic and crazy. It’s hard to travel, they cost a lot of money, and they track a ton of dirt inside. I’ve given up on ever having clean floors for longer than an hour, and the dog hair on my couches is a permanent fixture.

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But they’re so happy to see me in the morning, and when I come home from work, they’re bouncing and barking with excitement. They cuddle with me on the couch when it’s cold, and they know when I’m upset and try to comfort me, Jack especially.

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Grace is the sweetest dog I’ve ever had, always giving kisses and wanting to lay in your lap, whether you want her there or not!

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And Duncan is like the clumsy little toddler brother, awkwardly getting his 90-pound body onto the couch and just flopping against you. He’s a jealous thing and demands attention with a paw, but he also gives the gentlest, tiniest kisses.

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There are so many times I’ve looked around at all the dogs surrounding me, and I just have to laugh. Yes, sometimes it’s a pain in the butt having three dogs. But most of the time, they’re three times the fun!

***If you’re looking for a new furry friend, please check your local animal shelters first! There are a lot of amazing animals there, and if you’re patient, you can usually find a specific breed!***

Updates on…everything

I don’t have a FO to share today. I can share some progress on my sock, my FlexiFlip sock. It’s going well. I’m getting used to the needles and they’re not feeling as unwieldy as they did at first. They’re still not as fast as DPNs for me but I think I’ll get there pretty quick. I am loving this yarn. The colors are fun, and even though the color changes are different than I was expecting, I like it a lot. I mean, look how cool the heel turned out!

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It’s smooth and slick, almost slippery, from the polyester, and maybe you’d think acrylic/poly sock yarn, what is she thinking? But no, seriously, it feels good, kind of cool (literally). It’s a nice switch from the wool/nylon yarn, though I’m sure that’ll always be my primary sock yarn blend. And it’ll make lovely spring/fall socks, I think. So yeah, these are zipping along.

My sweater, however, is not zipping along. I’ve got most of one sleeve done and I’m trying to work on it at night, but it’s boring and I keep having to adjust it as I go around the little sleeve and I’m ready for it to be done so I can wear it. We’re taking one more short road trip on Monday for the last music school audition, so I’ll take that and only that with me and force myself to work on it.

Edward went to the shop and spent a few days there getting a new front bumper and some new shields or something, and it went through my insurance so I only had to pay the deductible. We timed it out so that they could work on it while I was out of town with the girl last weekend, and then the husband and I carpooled on Monday, so I didn’t even have to pay for a rental car. So overall that whole experience was much better than I was expecting, and they did a fantastic job and even detailed him perfectly so that he looks almost brand-new and I love him.

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Grace has adjusted wonderfully to her meds for Addison’s disease. I even gave her the injection myself last month! And we were able to lower her steroid dose so she’s not quite as thirsty and ravenous as she was at first. Her energy level is up and she’s very frisky and loves to play with Duncan again. She and Duncan are buddies; Jack kind of gets left out but also I think he feels threatened by Duncan at times. He’s usually pretty happy to hang out with his people while the other two go nuts.

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Duncan hasn’t gone into any trouble lately (knock on wood) and keeping them in the kitchen when we’re gone seems to be working well. I don’t love it, but it’ll work until Duncan gets a little older and hopefully outgrows his destructive tendencies.

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The girl has received acceptance letters from two of her four schools and I am delighted and super proud of her. We’re still waiting for a decision from one school and like I said, we have the last audition Monday, so we probably won’t have a final decision for another few weeks. We’re very lucky that she’s received automatic academic scholarship offers from all four schools, and a music scholarship from at least one, but even with those, and her college savings account, there’s still a lot of financial ground to make up. It’s scary, and it’s not even my college life! But we so want her to have a great experience, to have the education and flute professor and opportunities that she wants to have. I’m excited for everything that is ahead for her.

At the same time, though, we can’t just pay for it. It’s not feasible, and we can’t take on huge debt for it either. College is scary. If you have kids, start saving yesterday! But we’ll figure it out with a lot of little things. We’ll help a little. She’ll probably have to get a part-time job, a small student loan, and with luck, several of the private scholarships she’s applying for. I know it’ll work out, I really do. But I’m a mother, and a worrier, and those things together are rough when it’s time for college! Life is stressful in my house quite often these days, but there’s still a thread of excitement that comes out just when we need the encouragement.

Sorry this turned out so long; I didn’t mean to ramble. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for your patience!

I Like My Dog Again

Every time I get a new dog, I forget what it’s like to have a young dog that is so much like a toddler. They aren’t potty-trained, they need lots of attention, they need lots of toys, they destroy things, and they often don’t sleep well. Duncan was or is all of these. Thankfully we’ve gotten past the potty-training issue, but everything else is still relevant. Sleep has been bad since Grace started her meds for Addison’s; the steroids make her eat more and drink more and thus need more potty breaks. Also, either they’re giving her more energy or she’s just feeling better, because she’s been sort of bonkers at times. So for the last couple of weeks especially, they’ve been restless between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. Sometimes they barked so that we’d get up and let them out. Friends, that is not a good time for me to wake up.

Last week was an especially bad week. The girl was out of town for a band event. She was gone three nights. Duncan and Grace usually sleep in her room. We didn’t want three dogs in our bedroom so Jack slept in our room and we left the other two downstairs, assuming Duncan would behave because he’d be SLEEPING.

Oh, how foolish we were.

That very first night/morning, there was barking at 4 am. I got up, went downstairs, let them outside, and saw paper all over the floor of the dining room.

It was books, guys. BOOKS. Not just any books. Oh no, MY dog of course likes OLD books. Old, valuable books that smell and taste interesting! When all was said and done, there were eight books that weren’t salvageable. Two of the eight were literally in pieces. It was a BAD day. I was sad, exhausted, frustrated, discouraged. I was kicking myself for leaving him out unattended, kicking myself for not giving him the exercise I thought he needed. I wasn’t sure if we were the right home for him, or if I had it in me to get past this stage. I was sure I was a bad dog-mom. He went to daycare that day and the next, and I slept in the girl’s room in the attic the second night to catch up on sleep, and those things helped.

Once I’d gotten a little more sleep, and gotten past the fresh wound of seeing my books torn apart, I was feeling more optimistic. Duncan really is a sweet dog, funny and charming and lovable. I do like having three dogs, most of the time. I like the way they play together and snuggle together. And really, I have to believe Duncan will grow out of this stage eventually. So, if Duncan is like a toddler, and maybe Grace is like a preschooler, I decided there was a possibility that having them together was the problem, and resolved to try separating them at night. For the last two nights, Grace has slept upstairs with the girl, and Duncan sleeps in the kitchen. And guys? I think it’s working! (I’m gonna¬†knock knock knock on wood!) This morning, I didn’t hear a peep out of any of the dogs! I am greatly encouraged and really hoping this makes a difference in our sleep patterns. I need my sleep. Seriously.

So because I like my dogs today, I’m going to share some of the fun photos I took this weekend. I pulled out the good Canon to play with settings, and dogs make good subjects. They’re all very photogenic, in my humble opinion.

They were having a marvelous time romping around the yard, taking turns chasing each other and of course chomping on each other. I tried to get some individual shots as well. Jack was not interested in being cute. He’s a very serious old-man pupper. He’s here for the work, not the media.

Grace doesn’t mind the paparazzi, but you have to move fast to get the really good shots. I’m rather pleased with what I got. There were others, but when you’ve got one like this, who needs more?

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And then there’s Duncan, the fresh new star who wants all the attention. He can do anything from playful to serious to tough. He’s very versatile, you know.

So yeah. I think I can do this whole three-dog thing. It might take every last bit of my patience, and we may never own anything nice ever again, but at least I’ll have my puppers.

Margaritas, music, and more

You guys are so kind. I found some good knitting time to fight the funk but getting kind comments here helped too! That night we went to dinner with the family (mom, the siblings, the niece and nephews) and had Mexican food and margaritas in Dad’s honor, and we had a lovely evening. I was quite popular with the boys that night, at least the ones under the age of 6, so I got a good ego boost from that, haha! One of them even told me he liked my lipstick and allowed me to kiss his cheek.

img_5766I do enjoy being around the little kids, but it was a noisy, rambunctious evening and it wore me out. Thankfully from there we went on to the girl’s District Choir concert, and I got to sit quietly and listen to beautiful music. I’m so glad she’s in choir too; I love the band and orchestra music, but as a former choir kid myself, I have a special fondness for the choir. This weekend I got both! The girl’s school Symphonic Band was selected to play at the All-State Festival this week, and last night they did a preview for those parents who can’t attend.

Of course I thought it was terrific and it made me really want to drive the three hours each way to see the 30-minute concert…okay, not really. Just a little. If we weren’t going on Saturday to see her play the piccolo in the All-State Orchestra, it would be more tempting. But as it is, I’m super excited to see the orchestra, especially since they’re playing music from West Side Story!

Even with all the concerts, I managed to finish one sock, cast on a new one, and make good progress on two others. I might be able to finish two socks this week, if I’m lucky!img_5771Finally, yesterday was a good day: it was Captain Jack’s birthday! He is now four and is the old man of the pack.¬†img_5769Clearly he’s not a fan of getting older. We had a little chat and he’s feeling better about it now. Or maybe it was the duck jerky treat that perked him up, who knows. In any case, he’s still my favorite pupper (it’s okay, Grace and Duncan know) and I’m awfully glad we adopted him. He’s helped cheer me up many times.*

Happy Monday, friends. Here’s hoping the week treats you well!

*All three of our wonderful dogs have been adopted from shelters. If you’re looking for a new furry friend, please check your local shelters first!

Someone wants a hat!

I finally finished this pair of socks. I started them over six weeks ago, which is a really long time for me. But these got set aside for some gift knitting, so at least there’s a good reason. Still, it was a relief when I wove in that last end and called them done. They don’t quite match exactly, but I’m telling myself I’m okay with it.

IMG_5503So it has a longer section of gray at the toe, what’s the big deal, right? This way I didn’t have to get into the second skein of purple for two inches. The important thing is that the socks are soft and cozy, and they’re the same size. That’s pretty good!

With the socks done, I could move on to new projects without guilt. A friend asked for a hat for her husband, and I was delighted. I do love making hats, and I’ve overwhelmed the rest of my people with hats, so it’s a treat to have someone who actually wants me to make a hat! Within two days I’d whipped up this simple red and white striped hat, which could be considered festive but is secretly Huskers colors.

IMG_5502And that was so much fun that I decided not to stop there. Ask for one hat, get two, apparently! I pulled these out this morning and cast on with the navy already. IMG_5504(These are Seahawks colors, just in case you’re like me and don’t follow any sportsball stuff.) I’m improvising my own pattern again; casting on 88 with size 6 for the ribbing, then switching to 8s for the body. I’m doing a different stripe pattern; hopefully it comes out like I see it in my head.

I’ll close with two bits of good news: a while back I made pombe yeast hats for two new people in the lab at work, and they received them on Monday. Both of them seemed to be genuinely delighted, and they both wore them around most of the day at work yesterday. That really made my day; I work with such awesome people.

Finally, Grace is doing so much better. She’s clearly got more energy, isn’t sleeping as much during the day. She was even playing outside with Duncan this morning, which she hasn’t done in a few weeks. Her appetite is back and she wants to eat everything…except the kibble we’ve been feeding them for ages. But that’s fine, we’ll look for a different food at the store today and hopefully find something tasty that won’t break the bank. Feeding three big dogs gets expensive! We’re being pretty generous with her, giving her some chicken when we cook it, and extra treats here and there, so that she’ll gain back some of the weight she lost. It’s such a relief to not be so worried about her!

That’s all for now. We’re all taking a vacation day today and in a bit we’re going out for a Family Fun Day, at least as soon as I can get everyone motivated to get out of bed and shower. There’s probably a visit to a bookstore in my future, a trip downtown to see some Christmas lights, maybe a lovely dinner out. Here’s hoping your holidays are equally delightful!

Pupdate on Grace

Grace spent most of the day at the vet’s yesterday, getting blood work and urine tests and other tests, and the good news is that we found out what’s wrong with her. She has Addison’s disease, a disorder of the adrenal glands that means her body isn’t getting the hormones it needs, and it throws her whole system out of whack. The not-good part is that it’s chronic, but with regular medication she’ll be able to have a perfectly normal long, healthy life.

So she’ll get a daily pill (small, we can easily hide it in peanut butter or cheese) and a monthly injection (which we can learn to administer at home if we like). The injected medication isn’t exactly cheap, but we can manage it, and she’s definitely worth it. She got her first doses yesterday and started perking up very quickly. She’s still not 100%, and her appetite isn’t really back yet, but I’m optimistic and encouraged that she’ll bounce back within a few days. I know Duncan will be happy; he keeps trying to get her to play with him and is quite befuddled that she keeps rebuffing him in the gentlest of ways. And that means Jack has been taking the brunt of Duncan’s energy, and I do believe he’s getting a bit tired of it.

I also got some good knitting done yesterday while I was sitting and fretting, so I’ll be sure to share that soon. Best part: I’m done with gift knitting!