Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Third Annual Christmas Quilt

Two posts in one day, WOW! I have some catching up to do, that's for sure!!

Anyway, as seems to be my December tradition, I made my third quilt this December.  Of course, I have to show you the journey.

Yes, it's a rag quilt. They are easy and relatively quick. Plus, I had tons of old jeans to use up.  Here's the intial laying out of the patterns.  Bu the way, you can see my foot in that pic- you can see my lovely new Alpaca slippers. They were a pricey Christmas present to myself, but I have a new found fondness for Alpaca fibre and I had a moment of weakness at a Christmas Craft Sale. So comfy!

I made it in 9 patch blocks, each with one pattern and jeans. Then, I stitched the blocks into 5 blocks by 5 blocks. I had 4 cozy flannels, yes again in pink. This one is for my couch and the size ended up smaller than the last two, but perfect for a TV watching blanket.

The dogs overseeing the process. Maggie was still here then. :)

Hmmm, comfy! Sophie as always HAS to lie on the quilt, mid process.

Anyway, the finished product, all washed and ready to go. It frayed up lovely and I am very pleased with the results!

I won't be waiting another year to make another quilt, I can tell you that. There's going to be some heavy duty sewing in my near future. :)

Change is A Comin'

It's been a hectic month around here at the Black Dog Blog! School wrapped up for the holidays and none too soon.  As a junior high teacher, I understand when kids have had enough. And, they were clearly at enough the beginning of December.  So, we wrapped up and Spike and I headed to my parents for Christmas. Sophie and Murphy stayed with Rebecca at The Poop Guys, and Maggie went to another kennel.

Maggie has not moved home yet- she's still staying at my friend Joanne's place. I miss her terribly, but Maggie was used to being an only dog. She had some serious jealous issues going on- especially with Murphy. Her way of showing it- BARKING. All the time. Loudly. Until my neighbours complained to the town and I received a warning from the Bylaw Officer. So, in the interest of maintaining my sanity, my dogs happiness and Maggie's ability to be comfortable, she's staying where she is at for now.  I am not sure if she'll move back- she might, but only if I can find a humane way to control her barking. In the meantime, I'm taking an extended break from fostering- I need some time just with my crew.

Other than that, I've made some pretty serious decisions about my future and that's a good thing. You'll be learning about those over the next bit- just watch the blog as it changes and morphs into something new. ;)  Yes, it's a tease, but I will be sharing as I get things re-organized and re-vamped.  It's December 31st and I think it's time.

The first big change is the start of my Rattery. I've been in contact with another hobby breeder, here in the Saskatoon area and we've decided to become sister ratteries. This means we'll share a client list, share rats back and forth for breeding and basically help each other out. The first help is thanks to Rebecca, at Mat and Bec's Rats; she is making the trek to Winnipeg and will be bringing back a breeding pair for me. That means the start of my Blue/Silver lines... very exciting! So, stay tuned for litter announcements.

The second big change- I've decided to take a break from Grad School. I've burnt out and lost my drive to finish my thesis, so I just need to leave it for the moment. It's not a bad decision, in fact I believe it's the right decision right now. Rather than dropping out, I'm taking a medical leave for now- with my anxiety and depression diagnosis, I qualify for one and at this point, my anxiety is creeping back up so it's time.

Other than that, for now, I'll leave you with some newly revamped pages.... check them out! :) And, later today there will be pictures of what I've been up to (New Quilt, new projects!)

Happy New Year all!  Here's to a great 2012, full of changes that bring joy.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Maggie has found a home

Maggie had a big day yesterday as she returned to the vet for her followup visit and to get her stitches out. When Dr. Nairn came in the room, the first thing he said to me was "I need to talk to you. I think you need to keep Maggie". I laughed and told him the thought had crossed my mind as I feel pretty attached to her at this point- having gone through 2 big surgeries and everything else, I do feel attached.  He sees her as a special girl who is clearly attached to me, and he wants to see her in the best environment for her senior years. Not sure it should be me, but well, that's a whole other issue.

We talked about her surgery and the results. When I got Maggie, she had 2 lumps. By the time she went for the second surgery, she had 4. They removed all 4 the second round, in an attempt to get clean margins. It's been a rough recovery, and while her stitches are out, she still is bleeding and not healed under her arm put at this point. (surgery was two weeks ago today).  All 4 lumps, even the one he thought was a skin tag turned out to be either a Grade 1 or a Grade 2 Mast Cell tumor. And, she has a new one, this week. I showed it to Dr. Nairn last night, and while we don't know 100% that it's cancer, based on what we've seen so far, it is likely that it is another Mast Cell.

I am devastated. I can't put this dog through more surgery. New Hope doesn't want to put her through another surgery for her sake and the sake of our wallets- she's cost us upwards of $3500.00 as of yesterday.  So, I contacted the powers that be and we have made a plan.

As of today, Maggie will live with me. Mags will live out whatever she has left in my home and be kept as comfortable as possible, until I don't think we can keep her happy anymore. She isn't appearing to be sick at this point, but the cancer is spreading, seemingly quite rapidly. I am treating her with Benadryl and Pepcid in an effort to keep the cancer at bay, but it doesn't seem to be helping at this point.  So, the decision is made: Maggie will come off Petfinder and remain a New Hope dog- but essentially mine.

I am happy to give Maggie as comfortable a home as possible, for whatever time we have- it could be weeks, it could be years. I am being realistic, and I think we have weeks to months together. In any case, if she starts to appear to be feeling worse or the cancer spreads more, I'll have lots of say in determining when enough is enough, and for that I am grateful. And, it just seems like the right thing to do, to see her through to whatever her end will be. She's a lovely dog, and I feel blessed to have been able to rescue her (ironically, after her owner died of cancer) and to take care of her this far- she's showed her quirky, spoiled rotten, only dog mentality to me through this whole time. But, she's also showed me a gentle, wants desperately to be loved side that is endearing.  So, there it is. Maggie is home.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Catching up

I took a couple days of "doggy therapy" to get over the flu I had.  They are VERY helpful you know.... just look!

Maggie is cuddling with me on the love seat. YES, she's wearing a TShirt. She's finally figured out she had surgery and she's itchy. So, there you have it- the latest in post surgery fashion, hehe!

Nap time!! Yeah for Labrador cuddles.

Doesn't she look great in her pretty-in-pink shirt??

Sophie and Guinness spent the day napping on the other couch. They seem to like each other. 

Sophie... I think she's watching TV here. 

Speaking of Mr. Gorgeous Guinness himself, he's moving out tomorrow!! He's found himself a stellar family and I couldn't be more pleased for him!

Murphy likes to cuddle UNDER my blankie, on the floor.   Just her little legs showing, hehe.

Spikey, in his crate. It's his "I want to be close, but it's too hot in here to cuddle, so I'll stick myself in my crate so at least I'm still in the same room" plan. He is quirky, that boy. 

He did come out to watch the street from his favourite chair at least.

In other news, I got the Christmas tree up.  Crossing fingers it won't get knocked down this year!

Oh, and I haven't done this, this year yet, but it makes me feel better about the LONG nights and SHORT days of winter in Canada. I keep thinking, at least the weather has been mild. Anyway, Dec. 1st, this is what it looked like as I was leaving... just mostly dark. The shortest day of the year also happens to be my last day before holidays so I will get a photo to compare. Hopefully I'll have figured out the settings on this camera by then to actually get a decent photo. :)