Thursday, December 24, 2009 may remember me from Sand and Tsunamis

Guess it's been a while since the last post.

Life just seems to happen, and when it does, some things have to take a back seat.

The past year has been a great one, filled with many blessings, and a few sad times as well. We covered the main one back in June, when Oji died. We've still got our moments when he comes to mind, but were sufficiently through our grieving enough by mid July that we went out to the Animal Defense League to browse. Well, we came back with a little Terrier mix initially called "Rudy" but who within a few days, became Charlie.

He's been a handful. Where Oji was sweet and sedate, and our "Training Baby," Charlie rapidly became our "Training Toddler." He has chewed to date (this list is not totally inclusive, just what comes to mind):
  • 2 bluetooth headsets
  • laundry baskets
  • laundry fabric hamper frames
  • windowsill
  • door
  • anything he can steal from Isabella's room
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • balls
  • stuffed animals (Isabella's)
  • wing chairs
  • lap desk
  • couch
  • bed
  • cordless phone
  • box full of Christmas presents
  • sticks
  • stones
  • acorns
  • diapers (clean)
  • diapers (dirty)
  • Blocks
  • remote controls
  • books
The list could go on, but Isabella's waking up from her nap.

Here's a picture of the little guy though (Isabella looks like she just woke up from a nap in his bed...that's not the case, I assure you)...he's a Rascal, but we love him. He's helped us get the house ready for Isabella who is now walking, babbling, and stealing our mobile phones and car keys. Just a good thing she can't yet reach the door knob!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Oji...June 12, 2008 - June 9, 2009

Well, I hate to finally have to write this, but Rest in Peace, Oji.

As many of you know, back in March, Oji was diagnosed with lymphoma. We were stunned. I mean, here we had the best dog ever, and he gets cancer? What's up with that?

One morning, while scratching him under his chin, I noticed that his lymph nodes were swollen. I scheduled an appointment with the vet, figuring that it was just an infection of some sort. Unfortunately, when they did the tests to rule out cancer, that's precisely what he had.

A week or so later, they took out one of his lymph nodes for a more definitive diagnosis, which confirmed that it was B Type lymphoma, and already at stage 3. Typically, dogs who contract it last only a month or so longer. Lymphoma being uniformly fatal, we decided not to spend thousands of dollars on chemotherapy which would still have the same ultimate results. However, nor did we want to just do nothing. So, we picked a middle ground and used a holistic therapy that our vet recommended. It had to be prepared with cooked meat, rice, and vegetables, so for a while, he was eating as well or better than we were. In fact, usually, the night I made a big batch of "Chicken Oji" or "Beef Oji," we would also eat it for supper. It is now one of our regular meals (or would be if we had a kitchen...that's another story). And after supper, ice cream.

We took him back up to Decker Creek a couple of times, and I let him off the leash while on our walks through the property. He had a great time...he got to run around, and he actually came back when I called him. I was so proud.

Oji did great up until the last three weeks or so. He stopped eating his food with the Neoplasene (the holistic stuff) in it, so we tried a shot of prednisone to perk him up. It fought back the symptoms for about a week before we needed a second shot. That one lasted about five days. We gave him two more before he had a particularly bad night. After I gave him a bath, he began to have very labored breathing, having to extend his head and neck to get a clear path for the air. A couple of times, his eyes began to slowly close, and we thought we would lose him right then. Eventually, he found a way to get sort of comfortable, and got a bit of sleep. He would get up periodically, though and cough or pace around. I could tell that the time was near.

We were getting ready to start a long overdue kitchen renovation in a few days, and after discussing it, we decided that it would not be fair to Oji to put him through the disruption of his quiet home with the noise, people coming in and out, and general destruction that would happen. So, after talking it over with Melody's cousin, Micky, she agreed to come to our house to put Oji to rest.

That day was a surprisingly good one after what we experienced overnight. We went for two good walks, he ate two hamburger patties and some eggs, and even got to chase some birds at Bella's daycare (caged parakeets...he got the feathers flying. Hilarious!). He had a good last day.

When it finally came time, we took care of him in our living room, on his favorite blanket, surrounded by people who loved him.

Now, the house and our hearts have a dog shaped hole in them. We always expect to see him, just behind us, or at the window watching for us to come home. The curled up blanket on the bed, out of the corner of our eyes, looks like him. He's gone, but we are constantly reminded of him.

He was everything we wanted in a dog...sweet, quiet, well mannered and funny. He could be petulant, and every time I gave him a bath, he would sulk for a few hours and avoid me. He would chew on his pillow when he was tempted to chew on us or something of ours, including Bella. He eschewed all the toys I bought him except the rope and a blue washcloth. I remember so well how he would grumble and look up at me with his brown eyes as if to say, "Geez...could this guy be any slower? Let's go already!" In short, he was an incredible dog, and a great member of our familiy. He is missed terribly.

Oji, you were with us for far too short a time. You gave us unconditional love, and I hope you know how much we love you and miss you. Thanks for being our best, first dog.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Gaijin San Desu

Check out this clever video done by a westerner in Japan. She puts her camera on the belt of a kaitensushi (sushi-go-round) and takes a video as it goes around the entire restaurant. As it goes back into the kitchen, one of the ladies inquires of one of the sushi chefs whose camera it is, and he says, "Gaijin-san desu," or "it's the Gaijin's."

Check it out here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Sponsor of Sand and Tsunamis

A couple of days ago, I got an email from one of the advertising representatives at the Adventure Center.  As regular readers know, I've taken three trips that I set up through them.  The first was to Morocco back in 1999.  The second was with Melody and our friend Lori to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 2006.  About six months later, I used the company again to set up a trip to China with my buddy Steve.  

Alan, the AC rep, wanted to know if I wanted to put up an "Adventure Finder" widget on the site.  This will be a portal to finding the perfect trip for anyone who would like to use it.  Just fill in the blanks with where you want to go, when you want to go there, and what type of adventure you want.  It will churn around a bit and take you to the Adventure Center website and a multitude of choices.  Give it a try!  

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, the widget is an advertisement for the company, and I actually will get a few cents for each click.  In the event that anyone books a trip, I'll get a small percentage of the price as well.  But don't let that stop you from taking a look. It's a great site, with trips that can fit any budget and traveling style, from family to ultimate, multi-month London to Kathmandu via Cape Town overlanding.   

I've been really happy with the trips I've been on, and look forward to our first family trip that we'll book through the Adventure Center.  

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Holiday Pictures

A few snaps in front of our Muppet Christmas Tree (so named because it's fake, and reminds me of severed Muppet limbs...).

Bella's first fashion shoot

Finally, a more willing subject for my photographic pursuits than our willful dog, Oji. He's quite photogenic, but is somewhat reluctant to sit for pictures. He either wants to come sniff the camera, or he realizes I'm trying to get a shot, and runs off.

Our dear friends in Japan, Ginny and David of "Day at the Sumo Tournament" fame, sent Bella a really sweet gift. Ginny is a talented knitter, and she made Bella a dress and sweater. I set her up on a couple of pillows, and snapped away. In between some crying shots, and her about to fall over, we got a few good captures.

The dresses kind of swallow her so far, but we love them. The detail is incredible, and the fact that they were hand made for her is really, really special.

Thanks Ginny!