Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh, What a Year...

Yes, there were good things, but there were also bad things. Jupiter and Ganymede have been a glimmering high point in a difficult year as we watched them grow and discover the wonderment of life through their amazing blue eyes. I don't know what we would do without these wonderful Siameezers.

We are still renovating the house, starting with the removal a brick fireplace, which nearly demolished our bodies. Renovating can be everything between utter exciting creativity to absolute terror. When it all falls into place and I see glimpses of the beautiful house it is going to be, I say to myself, "Did I really do that? Is this really my house?"

We just lost a delightful, precious member of our family. Toshiko, my brother's wife, was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the stomach at the end of September and gradually slipped into a coma as the cancer went into her liver. She died the morning of December 11, 2008. Life will never be the same without her, but my life will forever be touched by her.

Toshi: You inspired us with your grace and strength throughout that horrible disease. Between rainstorms, I have been spending time planting in my atrium Japanese garden that we planned together, it will be a happy place to reflect on what a wonderful angel you have been to us.
My brother made this beautiful video to honor his princess, Toshiko. This is the Buddist temple, Byodo-In, located in Oahu Hawaii, a replica of the 900-year-old temple in Japan of the same name.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Picking up Knitting Needles

Well, it had been a while since I have touched knitting needles, the house renovation has been the focus for the past few months. Everything is so dusty from the drywall sanding, I am glad we are not living there yet. Yeech! Next weekend I will start cleaning up one room at a time and priming and painting with low VOC paint. If I don't focus on just one room and not the whole house, I will get overwhelmed.

We found out just three weeks ago that my precious sister in law has stomach cancer. The doctors tried two separate operations and backed out, the tumors were all over her abdomen. We are all so devastated. This has been so surreal in a bad way, yet we maintain a positive attitude, fueled by the strong, brave princess. I am so proud of her and of my brother.

I have been inspired to pick up my lonely knitting needles to knit two soft hats for the princess. We don't know if she will lose her hair or not on the chemo, but it is good constructive behavior on my part, instead of sitting in front of the television, wallowing in self pity--never a good thing and not at all productive. We are being victimized whenever we find ourselves not in control of our lives. Avoid being a victim.

Back to the subject of knitting. The first hat is a beautiful brown-ish, blue-ish black yarn, with a small floppy brim. That gorgeous yarn I am using is from Green Planet Yarn, the place for fair trade, eco-friendly yarn. I saw the pattern on Head Huggers and thought it would be very feminine and cute on her pretty little head.

The instructions say to pick up stitches around the bottom of the crown to construct the brim. I was almost finished tediously pulling the new yarn through with a crochet needle and placing them on the circular needle, then I got to a weak spot on the yarn and it broke. I yanked it all out and started again, picking up the stitches. Now I am happily knitting the brim. I will be finished tonight.

The next hat is also from Head Huggers; a lighter weight style with a lacy edge. The yarn is a black organic cotton and milk fiber!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Little Pink Socky

Jupiter has a Little Pink Socky--he chose it himself... I am not making this up. He will chew it, toss it in the air, even insist we throw it for him, and then he will retrieve it until we stop, then he will stare at us until we continue, he will even drop it on my face when I am sleeping. Ew! He gets into his own weird little zone where nothing else matters except his Socky.

Ganymede loves to taunt Jupiter about his sock and threaten to take it away, something Jupiter loathes and will angrily hiss back at Ganymede. But Sir Ganymede is not one walk away from a challenge. When things get out of hand, Little Pink Socky must go to the hall closet.

It is difficult to tell in the photo, but the Orlon sock is pale pink and is easily over 25 years old. I'd give Little PInk Socky another month, then I will have to find Jupiter a replacement. 

Jupiter doesn't realize he isn't the first kitty with a pink sock...

This delightful comic strip is Mutts by Patrick McDonnell, about the adventures of Mooch and Earl.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ganymede and Jupiter -- Squirrel Lookout Through the Screen

Ganymede and Jupiter are ten months old, each weigh ten pounds, and are tremendously happy. We regret the long absence from blogging, work has been busy and after a long day, I am not eager to spend yet more time at my computer. We are also renovating a house nearby with an atrium that will be ideal for the Siamese boys.

The boys have a busy schedule that they adhere to like Gorilla Glue. Mornings are spent watching the squirrels through the screen door, followed by a long nap. Evenings are all about playing with their feathered contraption on a stick, operated by cat-dad, whilst transforming themselves into "war kittens". At 9pm, I shout, "treats!" and they respond with a stampede into the kitchen for their dental chews. For added excitement, they bat the chews under the fridge to watch the human retrieve them... several times with the dedicated chew retrieving fridge yardstick. It is our mission and pleasure to serve the war kittens.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ganymede is Feeling Superb!

Just a quick update. Ganymede has been romping around with Jupiter, almost as if he had not had surgery the day before. For anyone just tuning in, he has congenital abnormalities, such as facial nerve paralysis on his right side, dermoid in the corner of his eye, inguinal hernia, and undescended right testicle. He will always have the paralysis, but his eye is now free of the dermoid and his cornea is now protected. Since he has no problem with his trigeminal nerve, he is beginning to pull his eye into its orbit in order to blink.

He is so content, it must be a great relief to him, either in relation to his eye or hernia, or both. Here he is, napping after playing all morning. You can see his face is a little puffy on the left and the nictating membrane is somewhat inflamed. Don't let his sedate composure fool you, he has been leaping and running like a maniac.

Today, I have been listening to the music from Miss Potter, a movie I like very much, about the life of Beatrix Potter. I played that album three times this morning, now I have moved on to the soundtrack from another one of my favorite movies, Stardust.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ganymede's Surgery and a Knitting Tip

Ganymede is having his surgery tomorrow (Monday). The dermoid cyst will be removed from the outer corner of his right eye and the eye opening will be made smaller to help protect his eye and make it easier for him to blink. He is also being neutered, which will be a little more extensive than usual since he has not dropped on his right side; he is a cryptorchid. I should be worried about his surgery, but I am not. I have complete faith in his wonderful veterinary ophthalmologist, Dr. Kristina Burling.

Ganymede and Jupiter are still playing and it is nearly midnight, well past their bedtime! We need to make a video of the latest thing they do that we call "Rock 'um sock 'um, Siamese". It reminds me of the three Stooges, but with just two.

I finished the pink sweater for one-year old Annabelle, last week. The sweater pattern is from Filatura di Crosa, Baby Too, knitted with Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK. I was worried that it wouldn't fit her since it took longer to get done than I thought it would. I wasn't knitting for about a month. She put it on today and she looked so adorable! It was just wonderful to see little Annabelle. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see how happy and content her mom, who is a long time dear friend, is now with her gorgeous home and beautiful family. Annabelle is such a cutie--what a doll!

I am also knitting a Winter-berry fruit hat for Annabelle. I have a hot tip for you: After castng-on the first row of stitches using the long-tail method, instead of joining the first stitch using just the working yarn, knit the first three stitches with both the working yarn and the tail yarn together. You will find this way feel much more secure.

Ganymede's Surgery

Ganymede is scheduled for surgery tomorrow (Monday). He is having the dermoid cyst removed from the outer corner of his right eye and have that eye opening made smaller to help protect his eye and help him to blink. He will also be neutered, which will be a little more extensive than usual as he has not dropped on his right side; he is a cryptorchid. I am not worrying at all, I have complete faith in his wonderful eye specialist, Dr. Burling.

The Pink Sweater has been completed!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Update on Ganymede and Jupiter

I have been a bad blogger, again. I know I promised an update after Ganymede's procedure. He went under anesthesia two weeks ago to have his nasal passages scoped. One nostril was very badly blocked up, so they flushed it all out and could see that the tissues were extremely inflamed and infected. No polyps were found, which I thought he might have and would be the cause of his facial paralysis. I guess I was just hoping the paralysis could be reversed and he could have full function on both sides of his face.

They did a biopsy and culture while in there and the results indicated herpes, but not currently infected. I read that eighty percent of all cats have feline herpes virus (FHV-1) to some degree. DNA for mycoplasma was found by the lab using something called polymerase chain reaction. He is on Azithromycin, which is working. He is like a different cat now, even sharper and with more energy than before. Now the dynamic duo are a real handful!

Jupiter was neutered last week and was back to climbing, jumping and doing all the things a six-month old kitten does in just one day. I need to make an appointment for Ganymede's eye surgery next week. It is important to get that over with.

I am going to finish the little pink baby sweater tonight. I just need to knit the neck line and I'm done. I'll have a picture soon.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Videos of the Cats and Absolutely Zero Knitting Done

We have two new videos. This one below is Jupiter's first video, just before Christmas, which has been kindly edited and uploaded to YouTube by my brother. I look like a mess in my sweat pants and moose socks, but Jupiter is adorable. I can see how much he has grown now.

The second video is a clip demonstrating what it is like trying to do laundry with two six-month old Siamese kittens around.

It has been raining fairly hard since noon today. In addition to the rain, the air has been very brisk, almost as if we lived in the mountains. The hills above 2,000 feet are all dusted with snow.

Ganymede has an appointment this Wednesday at Veterinary Medical Specialists to evaluate what has caused the paralysis of his facial nerve. A flexible fiberoptic endoscope will be used to see if he has a nasopharyngeal polyp, not a common condition, but one that occurs with young cats. Not being able to blink fully doesn't bother him very much, as long as we keep applying eye ointment throughout the day. He is just a happy six month old blue-point Siamese, seriously addicted to playing with a tired red cotton shoestring.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ganymede and Jupiter's Veterinary Adventure

Ganymede's appointment with the eye specialist happened today. Both Ganymede and Jupiter jumped into the cat carrier, so rather than pull Jupiter out and risk Ganymede also getting out and then hiding under the bed, I let Jupiter go along to keep Ganymede company.

After a thorough examination, the diagnosis is that Ganymede has a normal eyelid, unlike our substitute veterinarian's thought that he may be missing an eyelid. What he has is a paralysis of the facial nerve on his right side. At this point it is idiopathic, but some researching with Google has return several examples of facial paralysis especially in younger cats due to nasopharyngeal polyps. Could be...

Surgery is scheduled for January 23rd to remove a small dermoid from the corner of Ganymede's eye and decrease the size of the eye opening, which will allow him to close his eye much easier. He has had a runny nose on one side for a long time, most likely a viral infection, so he is taking a course of Famciclovir to help clear that up. I am relieved that this will be a much easier operation for him. In time, he will learn to blink by isolating other muscles.

Jupiter was happy to be there to give Ganymede moral support while entertaining the doctor and her technician. Jupiter will forever be known as the Siamese cat who tried to climb up a succession of framed pictures in their exam room just above the examination table.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Kitties' First Video

Jupiter and Ganymede are fascinated with the Hallmark animated singing snowman and penguins.

This Wednesday is Ganymede's eye appointment. I am anxious to find out what the doctor has to say; she has been highly recommended and is only three miles away. Both kitties are doing well and are such great pals.

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