On Christmas eve, we noticed a bit of swelling on the right side of Panda's face. It wasn't too bad, and she was in great spirits, so we didn't worry, but we kept an eye on it.

By Christmas day, she was very lopsided

Christmas 2008

Still, her mood was great, she was eating, playing, and generally feeling fine. We called off our plans to go hiking, just to be sure, and decided to closely monitor her for any signs that might suggest an emergency. We'd gladly eat the cost for an emergency vet visit on Christmas, but if we could avoid it and go to her normal vet, that was definitely preferable.

I consulted with a friend who works with dogs, and she assured me that it was something that could wait and an emergency visit wasn't necessary. It was a little nerve wracking but we kept a close eye on her all day.

Panda seemed happy enough that we walked to the neighboring park for a little play in the snow.

Christmas 2008 Mosaic
1. Leo and the girls, in front of his snowman, 2. Happy girls, running in the snow, 3. Thea goes all Exorcist with her head, 4. Rolling a big snow ball, 5. Tug-o-war, 6. Rolling the second snow ball, 7. Just added snow ball II, 8. Rubbing a sore face in the cool snow, 9. Refining his artwork, 10. Adding the final snow ball, 11. shaping the head, 12. Almost done, 13. Romp in the snow

Throughout the day, her swelling increased, until that evening when her cheek started draining. The pressure was off but by morning, Panda was a little less bright eyed and bushy tailed. The vet was able to see her first thing, so we packed up the girls and headed to the doctor.

Panda goes to the doctor
Little miss squishied face

After checking her out, the doctor decided that it was probably her cracked molar and that it had abscessed. He gave her some meds for the swelling, infection and pain, and we are scheduled for an extraction next week.

Panda goes to the doctor
Thea helps her big sis stay brave at the vet.

But we didn't let Thea off the hook, on this trip, while we were there, we had them expel some of her, *ahem* glands. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I will spare you. If you know what I'm talking about, you KNOW what I'm talking about. Apparently, she let out quite a little squeal of displeasure when the procedure was being performed. This is a new thing for us. Panda is far too proper and clean to ever have stinky gland problems. Somehow, it just seems appropriate that the little stinker would.

The sweet spot

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I get up for 5 minutes and I lose my spot on the couch. Sheesh.

Still working on unbloggable items. Don't think I'll have anything crafty to post for a little while. You'll have to make due with dog photos until then.

Till next time, a Happy Festivus to all of you. May your grievances be aired and your feats of strength be impressive.

Flaky

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Wintery
1. Red berries covered in snow, 2. Bush in our back yard, 3. The last of our bachelor's buttons, 4. Pine needles

Ice makes everything look pretty, even our sad little bachelor's buttons.


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Leo, Thea and Panda all chase each other around the yard.


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Where there's dog, there's fetch.


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The roads aren't great for driving, but they are fine for walking.

As you can see, it's a winter wonderland here in Portland. It's great knitting weather but I have a feeling I'll start to be a little stir crazy by Christmas. You should hear the local news, we're all doooooooooooomed.

The girls couldn't be happier, though.

This is my third winter in Portland. From what I can tell, winter is a lot of rain. We get an occasional bout of hail that leaves the yard looking like you just murdered a bean bag chair, and there might be a little flurry of flakes, but it rarely lasts long and almost never accumulates.

Well, this weekend, we got a little taste of some of the winter I remember from my childhood in New Hampshire. Of course, if I still lived there, I'd be holed up in a hotel until my power returned. This is way more my speed, for winter.

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Can you see the couple in the background, trying to build a snowman?

The girls get seven kinds of frisky when their paws touch snow. Panda loves to roll in it and Thea wants to eat it.

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These shots are from early in the day, so you can still see the grass peeking through, at the park. By nightfall, the roads were compressed into solid ice and there was about 5" of snow everywhere else. Anyone without chains on their tires were finding themselves struggling to stay on the roads.

I guess it's a testament to how rarely it snows here. I don't ever recall having chains on my car, in New Hampshire or Massachusetts. Roads are plowed and sand or salt are applied as needed. It took most of the night for that to happen around here.

Man alive, I love working from home.

Luckily, Leo's a real boyscout, and had his chains on before the sun set, yesterday, which means he just had to do a quick preflight check before leaving for work, and he was good to go.


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Thea oversaw the process.

Taking my own advice

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You know, sometimes I talk all knowingly about how there isn't one right needle and you should swatch and blah blah blah, but you know what? I love metal needles. I use them almost exclusively. I like that they are smooth and fast and many have sharp little points. It's all about efficiency to me. Wood needles seem slow and plodding to me, like swimming in molasses. Plastic needles range, but are often just too grippy for my taste and certain brands are all wobbly bendy.

But you know what? I've been hating this sleeve I'm working on for a particular pattern. It's lace, worked in the round, on a small circumference. The lace requires working 3 stitches together, and every other row, those three stitches shift, which means that stitches have to be moved between needles. Worse, it's laceweight black yarn worked on big ol' needles.

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I tried two circulars, but the problem with this method is that it's nearly impossible to move stitches back and forth between needles at such a tight circumference. One, essentially, has to use a cable needle or spare DPN. Talk about inefficient.

So then I moved to some metal DPNs. I'm sure there'll be gasps of disgust but I have absolutely no issues knitting with Susan Bates DPNs. The really small ones are a bit bendy, but anything above a US#1 seems to work fine and they come in pretty colors. Who could complain? Unfortunately, working with laceweight yarn and these heavy needles was almost as bad as the 2-circs. The weight of the needles was so great that I couldn't maintain a comfortable tension on the yarn. This got even worse between needles, forcing me to maintain a constant death grip on the yarn while also fearing that the needles would make a run for it. I finally had to admit it, I was using the wrong needle. I'm a stubborn woman.

I went over to the local craft store, picked up some cheapo bamboo needles, and it's been smooth sailing since. The wood's grippiness keeps all the needles in place and the weight is light enough that the thread isn't pulled from my fingers as I work. I'm not a convert, I'm just reminded that sometimes I have to step out of my perceived comfort zone.


And since my 1970s ripple afghan has received so much attention, here she is again, albeit a bit rumpled. Oh, there are also a couple of dogs next to her.

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Thea seems to think she's a cat.

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