Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

Wow.. it’s been a while April 17, 2009


Freia finally got her freedom and for two months was the happiest, sweetest, happy-go-lucky pup. No more sneering at other dogs, just play play play. Made me realize how much the injury has affected her this last year.

Sad to say though, about 3 weeks ago she injured the other knee. Though till then she never showed any signs even under sedation, the additional stresses can and often do take out the good knee. The ratio of dogs is some 50% go on to require surgery on the other leg, so I’m bummed out, but not entirely shocked.

She is bummed out too. We still go to the park and I let her run about, but if she does more than an hour and a half of intense play then she’s out for the count and very limpy the remainder of the day, though right as rain the following morning. Though I’ve not had confirmation from the dr. yet, I recognize the signs. The soreness and limping after exercise, and toe-touching the rest of the time. And of course, out at the park, running about, you’d never know there was anything wrong with her.

Such a drag.

I have a call into the doctor today and I guess I will take her in next week for confirmation and schedule the surgery for the following week. It’s a bit tricky as I go to Ohio for TNNA in June, this would put her 6 weeks post op when I have to go, but her doggie day care can do the job of walking her at that point. She will be mobile and the hardest part will be keeping her calm more than anything. The timing of the surgery is tricky as I have a series of shows from June on, so I really have no 8 week stretch when I will be here.  At least if I do it now, even if it seems early, then it’s done and she will be able to enjoy the summer. I have to keep in mind, though this injury is not (yet) as severe as the first one, it won’t get any better, short of keeping her on a leash, which only disguises the injury, it is no cure. And I certainly don’t want to keep a 3 year old, high energy dog on a leash for months on end again. I promised myself that if the 2nd knee went, I wouldn’t wait.

The rest of my life has been quite a ride too. I’m referring to it all as a series of unfortunate events. Nothing major, but an endless river of annoyances.

  • Garbage disposal broke, replaced, new one broke.
  • Computer crashed beyond repair and wasn’t backed up for 3 months, but that wasn’t the worst of it, I also lost over a year of data for my company’s accounting. Fortunately taxes had been done, and I have everything printed out, but I will be spending the next few months re-entering it all.. this time I’m backing it up.. lesson learned.
  • Car needs a service.. again
  • When doing the data entry for the new laptop I accidentally deleted a day’s worth of work.. luckily this time I had it backed up, but still.. sheesh.
  • Oh, and the new laptop? (paid for with my tax refund – in one door, out the next) The new laptop that I received just a week ago needs to have the keyboard replaced. Luckily I have on-site service and though they tried to tell me that it was easy and I could do it myself, I figure the way things are going right now.. bad idea.
  • Spent $20 on new bulbs for my under cabinet lights in my kitchen, still didn’t work. Bought a new set of under cabinet lights. Did, at best, a mediocre job of installing them, the wiring is sort of funky. Had a friend come over to help me pull the fridge out so I could remove the last of the wiring of the “broken” lights only to find that the plug had simply become dislodged and my old, nicely installed lights actually worked just fine.. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend.. replacing the new ones with the old ones… sigh..
  • Wrote a list of 10 goals for Knitwhits, been already shot down on 2 of them.. ouch. (but I’m not giving up on that.. I’m stubborn that way and will pursue these ideas further) I’d give you more specifics on them but they aren’t really things I can talk about in a public forum. Still stings  though!

So.. see what I mean? nothing life-shattering, but just sort of tedious and endless.. at least I haven’t stubbed my toe lately – that’s always an eye opener.


Under the Knife – Freia’s TPLO Week 7 & 8 January 9, 2009

Oh Brother.. so much for willpower. Well Christmas was the beginning of my downfall.

I think for about another day or so I kept Freia in her Xpen, but probably daily have given her more and more freedoms. It started with letting her watch me prepare dinner with her lying down on the rug nearby. Then she got a case of the zoomies one day and tore around the house like a 4 month old puppy. She survived that just fine, though I thought I would keel over. I kept watching her for a limp, but nothing. So then one night I let her have the whole bedroom, instead of only access to her sleeping area. Another time I let her hang out outside the pen in the livingroom, but kept the stairs blocked off.. you see where this is going, right?

The one thing that I did notice, and this was a big giveaway that she was feeling good, is that her behaviour went completely down the tubes this week. She was very snappy to other dogs, becoming extra territorial and bitchy. Watch out, Freia’s back in town.. Well. Not if I have any say in it. I realised that I’d completely slipped in the training/reminding of good behaviour since her injury in May. I let it slide. Not so good. So this was also a crackdown week in the training dept. Lots of kibble rewards for ignoring other dogs on our walks. By day 3 she got it, now she’s back to signalling me when she sees another dog, not by growling at them, but by turning to me for a treat.. Good girl! This isn’t going to make her an angel overnight, but will act as a reminder of what is and is not acceptable behaviour.

What I love about this is that now, a week into it, she’s no longer the dog freaking out, she’s the good dog ignoring the other dog (who’s barking it’s head off) As far as she’s concerned, she has more important things to do than worry about other dogs on our walks. Dogs to her mean something good might come from me to her, if, and only if, she’s good and ignores that dog. You gotta love the trainer that came up with this, it’s so simple and works like a charm. I almost want to tell the other people with the crazy barking dogs, but I’m still getting too much satisfaction out of having the ‘good’ dog! 🙂

New Year’s Eve. Some doggy parents came over for a glass of champagne. Freia had not seen one of the parents, the owner of her best friend, Rufus, (the dog who sadly was killed in a car hit & run earlier last summer) since her injury back in May. She was sooo excited to see him – she brought him her bones, gave him lots of smoochy kisses and tail waggles and finally just curled up as close to his lap as an 80lb dog can get and contentedly gnawed another bone. Well, since that night I just decided to continue letting her run free in the house. A little bit of guilt and concern for getting into trouble with the surgeon at my appointment this week, but then I would look at her thick, bony, grown-in rock-hard knee and it just seemed OK. She occasionally had a bit of limping which would quickly pass and I chalked it up more to a muscle ache than anything else.

So, today was the big day. Day 56. It’s been 8 weeks since the surgery. The first two were hell. Trapped downstairs with spiders crawling over us at night, uncomfortable, sleepless nights for the both of us. Lots of medication for her, multiple times a day. By Day 5 we’d cut back one of the three meds, by Day 10 we were done with the antibiotics, after 30 days, the antinflammatories were tapered to one pill every other day, till finally two weeks ago, no more pills. It started to feel like we were getting somewhere. I’m so glad to have found the ortho that I did. He encouraged exercise within limits which helped keep us all sane. Somehow in the beginning 5 minutes was all she wanted, and at week 3, 10 minutes was just right. Having an adaptive dog has certainly been very helpful for me. She’s been a most excellent patient.

She’s definately a little frightened of the ortho, though she doesn’t hold it against any individual there, she looked at me when I led her in as if to say “what?? again? how many times do we have to do this? Is this gonna hurt????” poor thing. I dropped her off at 8am, and came to pick her up and meet with Dr. Sams at 11:30. He said that “she looked like a million bucks” and proceeded to run through her freedoms and restrictions. Basically it ain’t bad, she can do almost anything on leash, her main restriction is no full out crazy play at the dog park. She can hike, swim, walk, play gently – all within the limits of her not-as-fit-as-she-was body.  As she rebuilds muscle, my concerns to watch for are her achilles tendon and patellar tendonitis. Since it’s been such a gradual, yet consistent, increase in her activity, she has so far not shown any signs of soft tissue injury. He did also caution me that someday she will probably tweak her knee and may need rest and NSAIDS for a couple of days – along the lines of how my own knees are after 30+ years of skiing. If the tweaking lasts more than a couple of days then to call him for a check up. But that’s all she wrote!

Day 1 - Day 56

Day 1 - Day 56

Day 1- Day 56 - side view

Day 1- Day 56 - side view

In another 4 weeks he wants me to come in for one more Xray, she still has some bone growth to come in yet, but overall she’s done great. He expects her to be toe-touching for another 6 weeks or so, but that also six weeks from now, she can.. wait for it… wait for it.. be OFF LEASH at the dog park again!! woo hoo! That will be one happy day for this not-so-little dog!


Welcome to E’ville! – Dana the Intern – Week 1 June 24, 2008

Filed under: House and Home,Knitting,knitwhits,Uncategorized — knitwhits @ 12:50 pm

the winding tableMy first week at the Knitwhits studio has been an exciting experience.  When I first arrived at the apartment complex that I would be living in I discovered that I was close to the “hood”.  What a great way to start out a two month adventure 2500 miles away from home.  I was concerned as to how I was going to know what was a good area to be in and what was not. Tina was a tremendous help by showing me around the city of Emeryville and explaining the in’s and out’s of the Bay area.  She took me to a fantastic fabric store called Stone Mountain and we went to the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles.  Both of those places are a must see if anyone visits the Bay area.  After the tour my nerves were much calmer and I knew I would be okay for the duration of my stay.
more yarn The most fascinating thing I learned so far is all the hard work that goes into making these kits.  Tina does this all by herself, making sure each skein of yarn is spun to perfection and the right amounts are given in order to complete her kits.  She is cautious and wants to make sure every customer is 100% satisfied with their finished product!  She spends hours of her time perfecting her patterns.  Several people will test them before she considers having them purchased by her customers. kits I am fascinated by how she comes up with her designs and how she converts them into patterns.  She told me I could come up with a design of my own and then we can translate it into a pattern!  Do not worry though it will not be one that we will try to market!

yarnsTina came up with some projects for me to complete while I am here.  One project that I have completed was the email list update.  We also put together a Summer newsletter where I was able to introduce myself and tell where I came from.  I had a great time learning how to put that newsletter together.  In fact I was so excited I emailed it to my family for them to see.  Soon to come is a “Pattern of the Week” newsletter sent out weekly, and I get to choose some of my favorite patterns to include in the email.  This will highlight the pattern and tell a little story behind it. 

The biggest project I am looking forward to is reorganizing the studio.  With my label maker and organization skills in hand I am going to transform her studio.  Take a look at some of the before pictures and stay tuned for the after.

ETA – Tina here: In my defence, I’ve put up some yarn pictures of nicely wound balls of yarn! My studio has it’s own familiar chaos, which is I think a family trait.. My father has the same “organized chaos” method in his own office and he too gets a bunch of grief from all of us as well.. think of it as an endearing quality..


Doing my part for the economy April 19, 2008

tax reliefThis came in the mail the other day. Gave me a really good chuckle, I mean really, what’s the point? It probably cost them four times as much to cut and mail me the check. I’ll do my best to not spend it all at once.. Actually, I think this one is going on the wall, it’s a keeper..

Some good news.. My fears of Freia’s bump are assuaged. It’s not cancer. But it in all likelyhood is my/her other nemesis – the foxtail. It sure is early in the season for her to pick one up, but they are out in full force at Cesar Chavez Park where we go about 4 times a week.

The vet put her on Amoxycillin (again..) which we get for her from Costco. I checked the pills at the pharmacy to make sure they were correct, but when I got home I realised it was the wrong dosage. Called the Pharmacy and asked if it would be OK for me to just double up the dose until I could get back in to exchange the rest. It was rush hour and I wasn’t about to sit in it for an hour for what is otherwise a 5 minute drive. Instead, the pharmacist went way above and beyond the call of duty and actually drove to my house with the correct prescription, and a full refund!!! I was really floored. It was very nice of her to do that, sure it was her error in the beginning, but that was really outstanding. And she left she said: “Take care of your dog!”. I guess she must be a pet owner too.

I’ve also figured out that Amoxy makes Freia really grumpy, she’s become really bossy at the dog park, and snapped at Pancho, her little Shitzu friend cos she thought he was after her (imaginary) treats. So.. as usual, until we’re through with the meds she gets no dog park time. And that way I get to have an angelic dog on long leash walks, instead of the stress of constant monitoring her rotten behaviour in the wilds of the offleash dog park. Bossy little so-and-so she is.

knitting undoneAs for the other bump, undoing ALL that knitting.. I went to my knitting group held at a friend’s house for a 2nd and 3rd opinion and they agreed – it was too wide, so I ripped it all out.. Took 2 hours or so, then cast on again and got two rows done before it was time to head home. I think if you have to undo something all the way, it’s the last few rows that are the worst, as that when it really sinks in that all that work you did is truly gone. It’s a drag, but it is rare that I rip out quite that much knitting.. C’est la vie.

Two nights later I hooked up with another knitting group hosted by Knit-One-One at Rudy’s in E’ville twice a month. I got there an hour late, delayed by work, only to realise that I didn’t have one of the two sets of needles I needed for this project, so I could only do another 4 rows.. blech.. annoying. So I had a veggie burger instead.

I love eating out at restaurants. Lately though there has been a string of takeover robberies at restaurants in the East Bay, which has put me a bit off. A friend’s son was at one restaurant when it was held up last weekend, and then a local restaurant here in l’il ole E’ville was held up a couple of nights ago. Bummer. So far, no one’s gotten hurt, but it’s only a matter of time I think.. Stupid people.


RIP my dear friend September 3, 2007

Filed under: House and Home,Uncategorized — knitwhits @ 1:09 pm

“The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very brightly” 

Raif and I went to boarding school together as kids back in England, he was only there a short time, but he was a cool guy and part of my expanded circle of friends. He caused a stir by building himself a coffin in woodworking to sleep in – I thought it was funny, some thought he was disturbed – I remember him as kind.

A few years back, I don’t remember how, but through the internet we got back in touch with each other. I made a trip to LA and we met up for dinner. We talked easily and comfortably for hours, and though there was some reminiscing as is typical of long lost friends, we also found we had much in common and somehow so much to say.

We kept in touch via email, with him writing me long and fantastic stories, telling me of his excitement of his latest venture, travels or new boat – through his emails I lived a vicarious life in the horrors of Las Vegas and in the warm waters of the Bahamas.

And yet, like others I’ve known who’ve shared his early fate, he seemed like a star that burned too brightly and was destined to fall. He was almost too much for this world, handsome, kind, generous, thoughtful, intelligent and very clever. He chose to live of little means, at times virtually homeless. When I met him in LA he was living out of a beat up old Mercedez truck, and yet offered me an open invitation to stay at his house in the Bahamas. He has a son, Joseph, who he fondly called “my little hippy boy”, he may not have spent as much time with him as maybe he should have, but I know he loved him.

He wrote songs and played guitar, and with his band played a weekly gig for passersby on Venice Beach. He sung with a soulful voice that was a cross between Al Stewart and The Pogues. He gave me a couple of his CDs which lived for weeks in my stereo, becoming the records that you somehow get addicted to. (


We didn’t see much of each other in the short time that we reconnected, but the connection of growing up together, of shared friends and shared experiences created a deep bond that is so rare. Every email between us ended with a promise of one of us visiting the other soon. He was the type of friend that drops in and out of your life, and it was as though you had just seen him the day before.

He wrote me this in his last email:

“I can’t sleep. I need to get up tomorrow at 4 so I can be out of the harbor by 5. I have been tossing and turning and finally gave up and took a sleeping pill which will probably kick in soon. The sleeping pill is called Imovan, and if you take one you Ain’movan for very long. It is a type not available in the US , they call it a ‘hypnotic’, your eyes cross, your knees no longer support your weight and you could sleep on a bed of nails. Bet you want one.

My boat is 49 feet long, she’s a bit of a handful, especially when my back is bad. The anchors weigh 65 lbs each, each foot of chain weighs about 2 lbs and there is about 300 feet of it! Every now and then I get into a situation which reminds me that she is far too big, then I curse at her and call her a heavy slug and that usually helps. Thing is that I can’t charter with anything smaller. She has two cabins, two heads with showers, nice big salon and a huge cockpit.

Let me tell you what happened yesterday because it’s funny. First thank you for remembering my ear, it’s doing quite well. In fact I am freediving my ass off. I told you I was into freediving didn’t I? Yes, well, I’m holding my breath for well over 5 mins now! Five and a half is my record to date! I’m going for 165 feet, 50 m. I’m bragging, but let me.

One of the cardinal rules of freediving is to never do it alone, pretty obvious really. Still because I am most often on my own these days I sometimes solo freedive anyway. I know, I know, but I do. So yesterday was a lovely day, just beautiful. Flat calm seas, no wind, crystal clear water, tieni presente? So I decided to do a bit of diving. I took my dinghy out to 70 feet of water and hopped over the side.

I was bouncing up and down, happy as a bee in a lavender patch, playing a game of grandmother’s footsteps with a 60 lb grouper who wasn’t sure if I represented some form of food or a threat. Then out of the blue haze a monster shark came along, myopically oblivious of my presence but unnerving, he was swimming straight at me. I was on the bottom. (the imovin is kicking in, ill never make it, must type faster). I put my arms straight out like a starfish, to look bigger, it worked, he pulled a ninety degree turn and took off and I though that would be the end of it. But no, he turned around and started coming off the bottom and swimming up at me with his back arched and with exaggerated aggressive movements. They usually don’t behave that way unless they smell blood, so I swum right at him. This is my M.O., I swim at them and that usually makes them bugger off, they are like dogs, cowardly, mostly. (The computer screen is all bubbly now. I digress.) So the shark, intimidated by my charge, skulked off again for a loop and then tuned again, coming back at me quite quickly, he looked irritated. So I swam at him again. He was really big, bigger than me anyway, which is big enough. I doubt that my arms could have spanned his girth. (Wow, I am spacing, this is getting mighty difficult.)

Must finish. As we were playing this gay little game the dinghy had drifted away and now was about a hundred yards away, forcing me to capitulate and swim fast to catch it.

I got out of the water with rather less cool than I muster in front of people I am choosing to impress and did not get back in the saddle that day. Anyway, freediving alone = not good.”

July 22nd, 2007 Raif died doing one of the things he loved best, free diving in the warm Bahamian waters.

Though it makes the pain of losing you so much greater, I am so glad and honored that I had the pleaure of knowing you once again as an adult. But now I will miss you, dear Raif, I truly will.

Raif 2


a sad tale April 27, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — knitwhits @ 6:01 am

Take a minute to read this, it may take your breath away – it did mine.


A Very Portland Christmas December 29, 2006

Filed under: Dog Training,Uncategorized — knitwhits @ 8:46 pm

Freia got bit yet again. I can’t even believe I’m writing this. This time it was her trainer’s dog. I think she must have “bite me” tattooed on her forehead or something. She had two tooth scratches and a small puncture on her nose. Fortunately she has healed quickly, the trainer was mortified and has offered to comp her next Rally class. I’m going to take her up on her offer, but keep Freia well away from Slick.


On Thursday I began my drive to Portland. When Heather first moved there, I had always thought that Portland was really just the other side of the CA/OR state line, or in the center of the state at the furthest. So, when Heath invited me to come for a visit, it didn’t seem like such a drive. That is, until I looked at a map two weeks ago.. wow.. it borders WA state. That’s a drive. Lately for work I’ve had to drive to LA and San Diego multiple times a year, and years ago I bought a Volkswagen in Germany and drove it all around Europe for months on end, so long drives are not a big deal, but this was just a little unexpected.

i5 treesSince I now have the hound, and would be bringing her with me, I decided to split the drive, stopping in Grant’s Pass on the way up. For the drive I bought David Sedaris’ “Me Talk Pretty Someday”, “My Life” by Bill Clinton and “Tourist Season” by Carl Hiiasen. Over 24 hours of books on tape. Since I’ve got to drive to San Diego in another two weeks, it seemed reasonable. Stayed the night at the La Quinta hotel in Grant’s Pass, and it was great. I’m not one to normally have anything to say about any hotel, but it was reasonably priced, clean, quiet, free wireless internet, and they allow pets, oh, and killer make-your-own waffles in the morning with drinkable coffee. I liked this hotel.

Heather had told me that certain spots on the drive were stunning, but sadly neither the weather nor the timing permitted me much of a view. It was either raining, foggy or night time for most of my drive. I didn’t even see Mt. Shasta, which I know now to be right next to the freeway, all 10,000 plus feet of it.. I would have never known. They did have some very impressive trees in one of the rest stops. Freia was loving the soft pine needles that covered the forest floor.

Stopped in Eugene to give Freia a break on the 2nd part of the drive the following day. This way she could have a good run around off-leash and be nice and tired before we got to Portland. Heather has wonderful dogs that are not so good with other dogs, so dog parks did not look to be in the cards while I was to be there. We stopped at Alton Baker Park which seemed to be a fairly decent size and easy to get to from the freeway. The people and dogs there all seemed friendly enough and we stayed there for just under an hour. Nothing super special, but I guess good enough for a city dog.

Christmas in PortlandFound Heather’s house easily enough. We re-introduced the dogs to each other and took them all out for a walk. Freia is super-submissive to Darla, Heather’s dominant dog, which is good, but sometimes she drives Darla (and hence the rest of us) a little crazy with her puppy crazy smoochiness over her – this not only lasted the first introductory fifteen minutes, but the full 3 1/2 days I was there…Heather’s house sits just off Alberta Street, which is a has lots of cute, creative and interesting stores on it. Very funky, artsy and cool. I stopped in at CloseKnit, a nearby store that recently started carrying my kits. Cute store!

Heather did, as always, a fantastic job of showing me around town, with drives, dog walks, restaurant eating and window shopping. We took the dogs out for a long walk one day checking out the cool looking houses for sale, and comparing prices with the Bay Area. There were some that were interesting, but not really my style, a lot of small-ish craftsman homes, and I imagine they were probably stunning on the inside. Portland is a nice town, but there was nothing that gave me a burning desire to move there.

To add to it, in the early morning hours of my first night there, some cops, guns drawn, arrested what looked to be some real hoodlums right outside her house. It was a full on scene from the Cops tv show, yet somehow, weirdly enough, it all ended very amiably, with the cops and two of the kids talking and smoking cigarettes together while another cop made the 3rd kid crush his crack on the sidewalk with his foot (and it was no small amount judging by the marks on the road we looked at later that morning). Then the cops took off to another call, and the kids got a ride home.. Just weird.

Heather’s DinnerChristmas Eve and Christmas Day we ate, chatted, relaxed and played Scrabble. She’s a smart girl and it was fun to play with her, though Christmas Day I had snacked too much, gave myself a tummy ache. Alka Seltzer, beer and champagne did the trick and then Heather made a lovely Christmas dinner of Salmon with Mushroom and Leeks, Brussels Sprouts and Mash. This was no ordinary meal. Heather is also a most amazing cook. I hate speaking on the phone with her as she will inevitably describe some incredible meal she has made herself which is always perfect in balance, simplicity and elegance.

All in all it was a nice trip, nice to get away and see a good friend, have a few good laughs and good chats, be able to hang out without saying anything, and no crazy family style pressures or expectations. It was a very doggy Christmas, debating prong collars, stuffing Kongs and watching the dogs figure each other out (or not at times). It was a lot of dog management, but I think though a little nuts, we all had a good enough time. I was happy to spend my Christmas with Heather and happy that she had the time to let me in her new home and world she’s building for herself there.