Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great News!

I love the light here when the sun sets on stormy clouds. 

And our personal storm clouds became much brighter this week as we got a great report from the liver specialist: The targeted chemo worked, the tumor is gone. The Hepatitis C medicine is also working and the virus is gone. Unfortunately, liver tumors come back and the only hope for a cure is a liver transplant. But this is what I hoped for, buying some time.

Time for my husband to build up his strength, for him to be able to enjoy his life until the next phase of this process. Hopefully, that will be a successful liver transplant. But I am unable to think that far ahead. 

The other morning, I woke up to see a bright red sun rising over the mountains. I went outside and tried to capture it. The air was smoky from the fires up in Northern California and I thought, how amazing smoke can travel that far.

I was unable to capture the bright red sun, but something interesting happened. In the two pictures above the strong red color of the sun is reflected in the juniper branch, which perfectly captures the actual color of the sun. Something I couldn't do. 

Little Faith is getting bigger and bigger each day. Something interesting is happening to her looks. Her ears are changing to not quite upright, but half-way there, and her face is getting longer and thinner. She no longer looks like a lab, although I am sure lab is in the mix. She loves nothing better than playing in the water bowls, tipping them over, putting all four paws in and splashing away. I should get her a kiddie pool, but she would probably destroy it in no time. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hello, My Name is Faith

and I will be three months old on Monday, the 28th. This is how little I was when I first came here back in June. Looking at this picture, I think my legs have grown the most. 

First picture ~ 6/9/2014

Exploring the outside ~ 6/14/2014

Playing ~ 6/14/2014

At first I was very sad to have been taken away from my doggie mommy and my siblings, but then I sensed that there was a greater sadness hanging over this new home of mine.

I felt it the most from this big, fluffy, white dog that is now my new big brother. And from my new person mommy too. I soon figured out it had to do with my new daddy being ill.

My mommy's favorite picture of us playing. 6/14/2014

And then I got it! I will make them all as happy as I possibly can. I will play with this big, kind, dog and give him exercise when mommy is too tired. I will snuggle up with daddy in the bed and make him smile. I will be the best dog EVER for my family. I will try to do ALL my business outside, but, well, you know accidents do happen.


I have learned SIT, STAY, COME (but that come I don't always obey, depends on how comfy I am laying in the shade somewhere)and my name: FAITH. 

Faith: Hey, you! It's mine, I saw it first.

Samson Says: Yes, but I'm bigger than you. Faith: Try if you dare, you big old fluffmonster, you!

Faith: Give me that bone! 7/7/2014

Samson: No way!

Faith: I'll poke you in the eye, I will. You think you're so tough. Samson: Ouch!

I got up here by myself, getting down is much scarier. Help, me someone! 7/7/2014

Look at me run! All the way from daddy at the top of the hill. 7/19/2014

Nap time! 7/16/2014

Mommy's Story About Me

One day in June, after he had been told he had cancer, my husband went to the hardware store to get some snake repellent and came home with a six-week old puppy someone was giving away in the parking lot. 

He was numb after the diagnosis, depressed, no doubt. He said, "she's life-affirming." Then he said, "She will take good care of you, she will be a great ranch dog for you." "For us," I said. And went to town to buy some puppy food, which of course he had not thought to get.

Sitting in the Jeep outside the store, I wondered what we should call her. Faith, seemed about right considering everything that lay ahead. When I got back home, my husband said,"I think we should name her Faith." 

I was mad at first, after all, a puppy is all we don't need now. I'm way too old, they cost money, and on and on. After a few days though, I was in love. Of course I was.  

Since then I have come to realize that little Faith is a great help. Samson loves her and she gives him so much more exercise than we ever could. Samson is also very in-tune with his daddy and he knows he is seriously ill. Or at least he knows something bad is going on with daddy. So it is great the way Faith plays with him and cheers him up. They play all the time, chase each other, play tug of war, and have so much fun until they collapse in a tired heap. She loves to sleep wrapped in his big and furry tail. (Go figure, he won't let me touch, much less brush, his tail. Faith ~ she gets to sleep in it!) 

She cheers both me and my husband up and makes us smile all the time. Smiling is so good. 

I took her for her second set of puppy shots yesterday. They kept her in the back a long time, apparently a love fest was going on with Faith in the center of it; cuddles by the vet techs, licks back by Faith, or so the guy said who brought her back to me. She weighs 19 pounds. Soon, I will not be able to carry her around........

Come on, Samson, I'm taking you for a walk! 7/20/14

Monday, July 21, 2014

10 Randoms From the Canyon ~ Catching Up

1.  I have lived in a fog of tiredness these past few weeks with no energy for anything. But my husband has been home from his latest hospital stay since Monday, a week ago, and is feeling better. 

This is the latest, randomly put together, as I am hoping for some normalcy.


2.  After a ghastly 4th of July holiday weekend, with my husband in severe pain and running out of medicine, I took him first to the ER here in town, which was useless. The next morning, I drove him down to UCLA Medical Center Emergency. There we spent most of a day, waiting for the liver specialist team to appear. Once they did, they admitted him and he spent a week in the hospital, getting lots of tests, including a CT scan and an MRI. 

3.  After receiving conflicting and very scary information about the status of his liver, the final word came in that need for a liver transplant is not as urgent as we were told at first. Such wonderful news I had not dared to hope for. And he is feeling very much better. He still has cancer, of course, and will need a liver transplant eventually, but the targeted treatment is working right now, and each good day is a wonderful gift. 

4.  Thank you all so much for your kind and supportive comments.  I haven't been up to visiting your blogs with all that's been going on and I know you understand, but please know that for me blogging is the entire experience of putting together my own posts, reading yours, and leaving comments. According to my statistics, lots of people stop by my blog and leave without commenting. I sometimes wonder who these people are, if they enjoyed my post or maybe not. 

Thank you also for your emails, what wonderful friends you are ~ you are no longer virtual, you are very, very real to me. Thank you. 

5.  While the mornings are cool and lovely, it gets very, very hot in the afternoons here in the canyon. Much warmer than in our town. The other day, huge black clouds appeared, but any rain they may have held evaporated before reaching the ground. Then yesterday, for a brief moment, it rained. I can't find words for the joy I felt. 

6.  Someone asked if I still have a Swedish accent and the answer is:  Yes. Computerized answering systems have a difficult time understanding me, which can be very frustrating. Imagine me, annoyed, sitting there, yelling, "agent, agent," trying to be transferred to a human being, while the computer voice goes, "I'm sorry, I did not understand," and proceeds to repeat its instructions over and over again. Other than that, I like my accent. 

7.  My friend Judy sent a large box full of good books. They have helped me no end to cope with what's going on in our lives right now. I just finished one I liked a lot, called Clara and Mr. Tiffany, based on the true story of Clara Driscoll, who may have been the first person to design and make a Tiffany lamp. Written by Susan Vreeland, the book tells the story of the triumphs and hardships of Clara and the 30 or so women who worked for her at Tiffany Studios around the turn of the last century. 

Fran, I think you would enjoy this book as it provides in-depth details of one of your artistic expressions: The making of Stained Glass Art. I found it fascinating.

I just started on The Goldfinch, a critics' favorite and Pulitzer Prize winner, but put down by many others in articles I have read. Judy sent it, and I figure it's time for me to read it and make up my own mind. 

8.  I have lost 10 pounds since my husband was diagnosed, he has lost much more. Now that things are calmer, we are eating again and making sure we both get our nourishment. 

9.  Our container vegetables, mainly peppers, tomatoes, rosemary and thyme, are doing very well, but our large garden is nothing like it was last year. And a chipmunk has discovered it and will no doubt end up the best fed critter on all of our dry, dry land. I don't begrudge him our garden goodies, so many animals have disappeared; the rabbits are skinny, I see no more ground squirrels, snakes, coyotes, or bobcats. It's scary and sad. 

10.  Finally, this is Faith, also known as Princess Faith or Miss Bigfoot. Check out those paws! Faith came to live with us in mid-June and will be three months on July 28. I will tell you her story soon. 

Puppy Love, how sweet it is.

Samson Says: 

Gracie, she's my little sister. She will always be my little sister. She's frequently a big pain in the butt, so not to worry, you are my love, my feisty one. XOXOXOXO, Your Samson.

Monday, July 7, 2014



You are the BEST! Thank you for being such a wonderful friend, protector, joy, companion, and all the rest that you are. Mom and Dad wish you a very, very Happy 5th Birthday!

Samson Says: Here are five things you may or may not know about me.

1.  I am happily, long-distantly, virtually engaged to Gracie, a feisty little Cockapoo from Maryland. 

2. While I am for the most part kind and sweet, I am a fierce protector of my people and our home.

3.  When I was 3, I suddenly become totally blind. I couldn't see a thing! My vet didn't worry about me seeing a vet eye doc, he diagnosed me on the spot with UDS, gave me steroids, which made me drink lots of water and ruin our carpets. And gave me my eyesight back! Thank you nice doctor F.

4. I have many different kind of tenants here at the ranch: rabbits, ground squirrels, lizards, snakes, mice, and so on. I get along with most of them, but will kill anyone who comes in my dog run. Only tenant Gopher, I can't stand. He's very obnoxious and the way he SMELLS! 

5.  I belong to one of the most ancient breeds of dogs. My coat is white and my fur is silver tipped. Very pretty it is, if I may say so myself. Since mommy can't capture it in a picture, you just have to take my word for it.

P.S. Both mommy and daddy are extremely TIRED. I think daddy is a little better, but so, so tired. They both thank you for all your prayers and good wishes and mommy says she'll be back to blogging as soon as she isn't so tired any more. 

Have a nice day everyone!

Last part posted by Samson, the Samoyed Dog. 


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