A New Normal

Dachshunds may be, in their own heads, invincible, gigantic, lion-like creatures. But big personalities notwithstanding, they have, as many thoroughbred animals, several vulnerabilities. With this breed, the obvious one is the spine, because of their long backs and short legs. Many of them experience disk prolapse, some to the point of becoming paralyzed.

Don’t worry – The prolapse happened, but the paralysis did not! After nerve-wracking days of diagnosis, emergency surgery and immediate rehab, and a good week of recovery, I can say that we were really lucky. We live in a big city with excellent medical service even on weekends, also, we have animal health insurance, thanks to my smart cookie of a husband who insisted we get it as soon as Charlie waltzed into our lives in 2019.

So, vet clinic, surgery and observation for 3 days, no visiting, and one measly phone call from the vet a day. It was an awful few days. Charlie being a dog (I was assured) was doing fine, and made friends quickly among the staff and other in-patients, thank God. I on the other hand was a hot mess: tears, worry, heartache and thinking All the Terrible Thoughts. When the neurologist called to say we were allowed to come get him a day early, I felt like I had held my breath for three days.

We went to the clinic after work, got the dog back, were given instructions and meds (I wasn’t paying attention because I was busy crying and so, so carefully holding and petting Charlie – good thing they gave us everything in writing so I could review it later!), and then we went home.

Ever since then, Charlie and I have been adjusting to a different daily routine. Carrying the dog to the park in my repurposed crafts bag (the only thing I have that is long enough so he doesn’t twist his healing spine), slinging a scarf under his hips to prop him up when walking, physio twice a week, meds three times a day, as well as exercise, massages, and rest. No walks, no running, no jumping, not for a long while. Three months, minimum.

The patient and I moved out of the bedroom to a mattress on the living room floor, so as not to disturb my husband’s sleep, and so Charlie won’t have to climb or try to jump. Over the last cold and snowy weekend, we did little else but cuddle, nap, exercise a bit, and watch a crime show of many, many episodes – The Blacklist, ten seasons all in all, bless them. I like James Spader.

Funny how life can become so basic over night. Now, it’s all about stuff like sleep, pain, food and digestion. Our radius is small, and I do little else but Florence Nightingaling, and moonlighting as a translator. I’m joking – I’m actually getting quite a lot done, being so much more productive now I can see and touch my little friend again. Happiness takes many shapes, and in my case, it’s this certainly this one.

He’s doing really well. Vet and physio lady have both assured me his prognosis is excellent, and that he’ll likely get 80% of his mobility back, over time. We need to be patient and keep the faith. I’m mostly optimistic, and I find myself being grateful for little things. My family have been great, and everybody is being kind, and careful, and supportive.

Again, we’re fortunate. I may have had a rough couple days, but my friend J in Munich just lost her lovely black lab, her companion and soulmate of 5 years, on Monday, to a vicious case of Lyme disease, probably due to a tick bite, 10-20% of which carry the wretched bacteria. My heart goes out to her, and her lovely tribute to Mila brought tears to my eyes. So, yeah: I’m immensely grateful we were spared, this time.

With my spirits lifted and my duty as carer for the sick keeping me in one place mostly, I finally got around to getting started on my Christmas gift, a chocolate brown sweater-to-be, made from a gorgeous Icelandic merino yarn called Kambgarn.

I showed you how I started to play around with colorwork in my last post, and after a few trials and errors regarding increases and width and such, I feel like I now know what I’m doing. The off-white is from my stash, and I think it looks really nice against the rich brown of the Kambgarn. I’ll try to do a ribbon of simple patterns across the yoke, and the body and sleeves in brown. A bit like this one below, but not that pattern exactly, obviously, as I’m using only two colors. Wish me luck!

As I recently learned how to use short rows in the neck, that’s what i did after unraveling my second failed attempt. Might as well do it right this time, I thought, and I am pleased with the way it fits, now. Those short rows are really something!

Apart from that, there’s not much else to tell. Have a good week, stitch readers, and wish us well with Charlie’s recovery. Spring will be here soon. Thank you for reading! 🐾

Characters, words, and phrases, oh my!

The last few work weeks were intense! Translating a big fat writing manual that I had to give my all to, to do it justice!!, I absorbed so much knowledge and useful advice for writers, that also applies to my own work as a translator. Today, I finally submitted the heavily revised version. (Client had very specific ideas regarding the formatting of the manuscript, also I needed to learn about indexing, holy cow!), and now I feel a tremendous sense of relief. I’m confident to have delivered what they needed me to, and then some, but I’m not going to lie: Very happy indeed to move on to my next, much less brainy project, an urban fantasy about a dude who can see dead people :-)).

Despite all the work stress, I managed a few smaller crafts projects (mostly at night, to wind down from the brain-fryingly long hours at the keyboard). So, I confess I have a long-standing secret wish for one of those amazing colorful fair-isle sweaters, and tremendous admiration for people who are able to make them. I mean, are these gorgeous, or what!! I haven’t really tried colorwork myself before, other than various stripies, and I guess the strawberry hat I made my daughter last year.

But then, last week, on an impulse, I tried this:

This obviously isn’t Fair Isle, but Scandinavian patterns, I think – I can’t be sure, because I didn’t follow a pattern, just played around a bit (yes, there was frogging involved!) Ultimately, I just did what I felt would look cute. The fabric is quite dense, because you carry the yarn at the back of the work as floats as you go, so you basically have two layers of wool. It’s like a turtleneck, sort of, so tighter than a cowl, not sure what to call it. But it keeps off the wind and chill nicely, that much I can tell you, and what a good thing, because it got cold!! again this week here, -7 Celsius, and despite all the desk work, dogs need to be walked.

Also, from the last of the midnight blue, I made a cowl to go with my Aubergine sweater.

Other than that, there is little out of the ordinary to report. Sick kid, very little sunlight, feeling cold a lot. In January, comfort food really goes a long way!

Last week, I made something that may seem like overkill, because it involves pasta _and_ breadcrumbs, but here it is, it was really good, and I’m not sorry! Also, easily made vegan without using butter and Parmesan cheese (my boy’s new gf is vegan, so I’m kind of starting to think about good alternatives).

Basically, heat olive oil (or a knob of butter, as the case may be) in a pan and add your breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, stirring all the while. Top your pasta dish (this was spaghetti and buttered brussels, and it might work with any sauteed or cooked vegetable, asparagus, sugar snaps, broccoli, mushrooms maybe) with the seasoned breadcrumbs, and don’t look back :-).

On this feel-good note: Bowing out again, thanking you for reading, and hoping you’ll have a lovely weekend – I for one am planning to NOT work, for a change, and go there: