Category Archives: family

Doggy vacation

The ending of 2014 and start of 2015 have been both amazing and bittersweet for the husBen and I. One thing that sticks out the most is Curie’s diagnosis of cancer. Curie and Voltaire, our two mini schnauzers, have been with us since June and September 2010. They’ve pretty much been the love and fluff of our lives, opening our unexperienced eyes to all sorts of adventures and “Oh god, is this what it’s like to have kids?!” kind of moments.

We noticed a change in Curie’s movement and energy back in November. Just to preface, she is without a doubt the most spunky and OUTSPOKEN dog I’ve ever met with an appetite that rivals my own. With this grandma policing the grounds, not a single rice kernel or Dorito chip gets dropped unnoticed. Curie’s nose always appears out of nowhere only to touch the spot and…just like a Dyson…it’s gone. Sometimes even her bowl of kibbles is not enough. Voltaire, our more submissive boy, is always happy to move aside and let his sister finish his bowl (a lot like how I jab my fork at Ben’s bowl of panang curry while he’s still eating…) Anyways, in November we noticed she was eating less and less. Her movements were getting slower and, in December, there was a scary fluctuation in her body where one second she seemed find and then all of a sudden she would be hobbling in pain, practically immobile. Her entire belly was large and tender and we could no longer touch it or pick her up without her yelping.

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We went to the vet many, MANY times. Once or twice a week. The first blood work came back to confirm she had pancreatitis (very common amongst schnauzers). So every time she was struck down with pain, we assumed it was that and switched her to a low-fat prescription diet. But the belly aches always returned, leaving even her gums and tongue so pale (nearly white) which the doctors said was a sign of dehydration and possibly a leakage of blood somewhere internally. In January, we finally took an Xray as well as an ultrasound. The Xray showed that her lungs were free of cancer cells which was a huge relief (because by the time those reach the lungs, it’s usually too late) but her ultrasound showed huge masses in her spleen that somehow went unnoticed in previous vet visits (probably because when it did get large she would do something like jump on a couch too quickly and tear the mass, causing it to bleed and disappear for a short time only to return).

Curie went into surgery immediately and had a splenectomy after they found three masses. After the biopsy, we were told that it was indeed cancer. The really bad kind. Frankly we were shocked and I couldn’t hold back the tears while the surgeon explained what would happen. Canine hemangiosarcoma is a tumor that lines the blood vessels (essentially a tumor of the blood) which makes it extremely tricky and destructive because it travels quickly and usually hits the lungs, liver, heart or brain first. 1 out of 5 Golden Retrievers will battle this during their lifetime, and “1.5 to 2.5 million out of 72 million dogs will get hemangiosarcoma and succumb to it”. The cancer cells in our baby Curie were going to spread in the next 3-4 months and she would pass a few weeks after that. That was the hard fact and I panicked inside because we were almost out of time. 3 or 4 months? That’s it. That would give us until April or May. June if we were lucky. Curie might see us in our silly costumes for Emerald City Comicon and excitedly bark at all the episodes of Game of Thrones season 5 (she loves watching those horses run on screen) but there’s no guarantee. She most likely won’t make it to her 13th birthday in June (we adopted her on June 4th, 2010) and we’ll have to feed her a delicious box of canine cookies early.

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(Did someone say TREAT?!!)

 

But even with the grave news, there were so many things to be grateful for after the surgery. For one, Curie was no longer in excruciating pain like she was back in December. It was a night and day difference and it made the surgery worth every penny. After a week of bed rest, she was relinquished from the cone of shame, bouncing around and barking like her usual self. She was munching down on her food like the little piggy that I know, though her belly was tremendously smaller than it was before since there was no longer a spleen or three tumors. But the most heart warming thing was what our amazing friend, Erin, did on Curie’s behalf. After I told my friends and co-workers what had happened and about the financial expense of the surgery, Erin took it upon herself to set up a Tilt account. Basically it’s a campaign site where you set up a page that describes a goal you want to reach, and then you start collecting donations from family, friends and even strangers who wish to contribute. You set a minimum “tilt” goal (so no one’s credit card is charged until you hit that number) and you continue raising money towards the goal after you tilt. When Ben and I found out what Erin had done, we were just overcome with gratification and what can only be compared to as the best heartburn. Wow. Just WOW!!!! Our amazing friends (even my boss!) had pitched in on behalf of our baby girl and raised a whopping $1,779!!! Holy schnauzer!!! I can only cry (some more) and thank each and every person who sent us their love. We were overwhelmed, truly.

 

With a few precious months left, we decided in early February that we’d go on as many adventures as possible and at least one memorable trip (which we did just this past weekend!) With our dear friends Kelsi, Ryan and their puppy Bourbon, we drove down to Oregon and rented a cute little house only a walk away from Cannon Beach. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever set eyes on (that line kind of upsets me because it’s definitely an understatement…everyone says that psh). William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition once described this beach as “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…” back in 1806 (meh, basically what I just said). I’ve never seen the sky and giant rocks reflected in wet sand the way it is on the Oregon coast. Everything shines, and if you span the beach with your eyes, your left and right look misty and blue but the sunset in front of you is ablazed in pink and gold which makes the blue seem misplaced but hauntingly alluring. It’s what I imagine the coasts of England to look like.

 

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Those few days we spent frolicking in the sand, barking at other dogs, playing board games and just soaking in all the wonders around us.

 

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It was the most perfect trip and I think Curie had a blast :)

 

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Aqua & Gold

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My sister-in-law fell in love and is getting married in November. It will be (a qua)int and golden occasion (aqua is her main color with accents of gold…can you tell how hard I tried with that pun?)

As a lady, this meant one very important thing…

 

Tiiiiime to shop for an outfit!

Finding an aqua dress proved to be the hardest part for some reason, but I bought one online and it just arrived today! Looks just like the photo and it fits great (I just have to remember not to overeat that day…tricky tricky). I’ll be adding a golden belt as a garnish along with the rest of these accessories.

Aqua Wedding

Retro Polka Dot Tights – Forever21 – $7.80

Vintage Inspired Lace Overlay Dress in Turquoise – Lily Boutique – $42.00

Lion Parade Bracelet – Forever21 – $6.80

Classic Chain-Link Bracelet – Forever 21 – $8.80

Classic Curb Chain Bracelet – Forever21 – $10.80

Glam Bejeweled Necklace – Forever21 – $12.80

Gold/Black Strappy Heels – Love Culture – $24.95

Chain & Elastic Belt (not shown) – Love Culture – $6.95

 

As you can see, I purchased most of these through Forever21. You can find spectacular jewelry there that give your outfit just enough pop for amazing prices. We’ll see how it all comes together next month!

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EDIT:

Here’s how it turned out! ‘Twas a beeaaauuuutiful November day, not a cloud or snowflake in sight (which is miraculous for Utah). We were surrounded by family and a bride & groom who couldn’t stop looking at each other :) It was perfect.

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Tis the Season (to be grateful)

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Wishing family, friends & WordPress extraordinaires a holly-jolly Christmas and a happy new year! Curie and Voltaire howl in agreement :)

There’s so much to be grateful for, this season and always. My heart swells up just thinking about my rich life where I’ve never gone hungry or wanting for anything. I have too many amazing family and friends who go out of their way to make me smile. I live in a beautiful home that would appear to be a castle for those less fortunate. I come home to two ecstatic dogs who are always overjoyed to see me even when I’m a grumpy beast. I work at a place where I absolutely love what I do and the people I work with. I live in a country where I can wear what I want, eat what I want, read what I want, speak my mind (and get my craft on at Michaels 24/7) without being shot down or hunted. Just the fact that I can walk into a store and buy a plate of tofu teriyaki cause I crave it is an absolute luxury. Best of all I get to hang out with this guy (points to husband) for the rest of my life and we’ve only just begun.

So lets not fret about the small, meaningless things in life and just be darn happy to be here! Go out there and laugh a lot. Eat good food. Buy a meal for someone, homeless or not. Hold hands. Donate to charities. Pick up trash. Give your best smile to a stranger. Tell your kids you’re proud of them just for being them. Paint a picture. Dance like you’ve never danced before. Tell your significant other they look ravishing. Adopt an animal at a shelter (there’s so many that crave love!) Light a candle and remember those we’ve lost. Spoon one another (pretty sure that’s a commandment in the Bible). Read a book based on a true story. Or just read a book!

The possibilities are endless. Happiness is within reach :)

25

My husband turned 25 today and we are, once again, on the same plane. A quarter of a century old. 5×5. XXV.

So here’s to you love! Haaaaappy birthday!!! Card designed by yours truly.

To celebrate, we ate at a restaurant chain called The Veggie Grill in Seattle. Um, I can’t rave about this place ENOUGH. It’s now one of my top five favorite restaurants. The staff was so friendly I thought I was back in Utah. The restaurant had a clean, modern ambiance (this one must have just opened up because there wasn’t a ball of lint in sight). And of course, the food was BEYOND delicious. If you like sweet potato fries, you’re in for a treat (at this restaurant they call it Sweetheart Fries…pretty sure all the love went to my butt). These pictures do the actual food NO justice…sorry if they even look a little gross!

And everything on the menu is vegetarian! Also they gave the birthday boy a free slice of carrot cake…funny considering that there’s one of those on the front of his card :)

So, with two hours left before the day’s end, a final happy birthday to my brilliant husband. A practical and philosophical fella who works hard, loves books, draws beautifully, cares about animals and can’t turn down a hearty plate of mashed potatoes.

Book Hunt 007

As you can see, I was “very hungry” for Eric Carle books (Haha…anyone? Anyone?!) Also the pancake book really takes the phrase “cooking from scratch” to another level (that kid has to milk his own cow, churn his own butter, pick his own eggs, etc. just to eat a SINGLE pancake). Good lord son. Here’s a nickel…buy yourself a popsicle. Although props to him for teaching (the spoiled kids of America) the importance of hard work and perseverance ;)

But enough about the book hunt. Check out these gracious gifts…

I received David Wiesner’s Flotsam from my sister-in-law Bethany as a birthday gift…WOO!!! Gracias Hermana! These illustrations, which take you on a journey through the lens of a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, will have you dreaming about giant fish and other weird stuff. Such fantastic illustrations from the same man that brought you Tuesday, The Three Pigs and Sector 7. He’s like…the Al Pacino of children’s book illustrators.

This next bunch was such a lovely surprise from my friend and old colleague Missy! This precious collection flew all the way from Logan, Utah and they’re probably the most antique stuff I have thus far. A series of 12 books by The Golden Hours Library copyrighted in 1957 – the predecessor of the Little Golden Books I’m guessing. So precious in size and aesthetic…everything down to the ornate clock face icon. I held each one in my hand and may or may not have sniffed the pages (like I do with pretty much all books). Thank you Missy!!!

Marvelous Mum

Happy Mother’s Day to mums everywhere! But especially to my own. You did good mom, you did good :)

Lucky Finds

It’s been forever since my last post! My excuse? I’ve been super busy with work and personal life (wah wah waaaah). But it’s true! Our cousins were over this past week and we had an amazing time showing them around Seattle. Luckily for us, Scott and Caren also have an affinity for books, so naturally we hunted down as many used book stores as possible. My recommendations if you’re ever around this area…

Twice Sold Tales in Capitol Hill

Not only has this bookstore been around since the 80’s, but upon entering you’ll be greeted by three or more fatty-fat cats and a very eccentric store keeper who can (and will) recite Shakespeare to you with theatric passion (also her hair was amazing…it deserves its own zip code). The store was surprisingly large and housed all sorts of genres. You’ve got the usual surplus of Angela’s Ashes, an impressive collection of Frank Herbert’s Dune, the untouched cooking section, and glass cases that showcase the classics like Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Melville and the rest of the AA club locked away lest you want to pay a hefty buck for that vintage touch (AA = awesome authors). Also here’s a picture I found online of that really enormous black and white cat – Cow Cat. It looked bigger on Caren’s camera.

Half-Priced Books on Belmont Avenue, Capitol Hill

This is probably the best half-priced book store we ever went to just because of the sheer size. The prices for children’s books could be a little cheaper, but I did find Jumanji illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg (also known for The Z was Zapped, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi and Zathura) and A Porcupine named Fluffy, both in hardcover. I’ve become a bit of a children’s book snob, avoiding paperbacks whenever possible and only buying the best illustrated or most memorable books (i.e. Caldecott Medal or Honor) I will talk more about that soon in a later post!

Once Sold Tales in Kent

So this place is impossible to find unless you know the exact address. It’s behind a network of warehouses all the way out in the boonies, but when you DO find it…oh boy. What a treasure. It’s an outlet/warehouse that houses over half a million books. The best part is that they have an online inventory, so you can search for books by title/author and have it delivered to you, FREE SHIPPING. No joke. You can order a hardcover children’s book in fairly good condition for $3.85 + tax – that’s it! Pretty sure this offer is good for anyone in the states but you might wanna check their site. I purchased Leo Lionni’s Fish is Fish, Don Freeman’s Corduroy and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar all hard cover. Sooooo excited!

Going on a tangent/book spiel here, but last night I found even MORE books at Value Village and Half-Priced Books in Tukwila which include Graem Base’s The Eleventh Hour, A Curious Mystery, Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit, David Wiesner’s Tuesday, Jacqueline Briggs Martin’s Snowflake Bentley, Donald Hall’s Ox-Cart Man, Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, and Jon Scieszka’s The Stinky Cheese Man and other Fairly Stupid Tales all in hard cover. I repeat – all in hard cover. WOO! I’ve made a wishlist of children’s books on Google Docs to help me keep track of what I have and don’t have.

Summary: I got lucky and scored me some pretty awesome books on St. Paddy’s Day (or this whole week for that matter). The search continues – I hope it never ends!