Thursday, April 28, 2011

That Place...

It's been a week since we got home from our most recent vacation - an awesome week spent soaking up the sun, playing in the waves, exploring the little island in the Maldives that we called home for a week, and tasting all kinds of delicious food. It was seriously one of the nicest places we have ever been. Those memories will be floating around in my mind for years to come.

Walking the beach, Maldives 2011

Given my dreamy post-vacation like state this week (where I had a serious dinner conversation with my husband about the possibility of quitting his job and becoming employees of a surf shop or local restaurant on some tropical island, living in a beach hut and lapping up a simpler life... he said no, but a good discussion none the less), a friend posed an interesting question on Facebook that got me reminiscing.

His status said the following: Ever go to one of those places that you never forget, that you think of often, that you perhaps return to or want to, that when you think about it, you see it in your mind and wonder what’s happening there right now and how you need to go back? What place is that? It could be the Seychelles or your hometown. Tell me what it is right now…………

He got many responses, including mine. I quickly added a few favorites - the Cape Breton Highlands where I spent many happy summers as a little girl, the Texas Hill Country, where Colin & I would often get away together for a romantic weekend,  and the City of Halifax, where C & I both went to university, met, and fell in love.
Orlando, FL 2008
Rocky Mountains 2007
I checked back a few times to see where other people went when they day dreamed, where they drifted away to during a boring work day or a sleepless night. Very intriguing. 

Peggys Cove NS, 2005
So, my list has kept growing in my mind all week... the bungalow we rented in Peggy's Cove one weekend when we could hardly find each other through all the fog... the little Italian cafe in San Francisco that we shared a few laughs over a bottle of wine on a summer afternoon as we sat 'people watching'... the vineyard in Napa Valley where we spread a blanket and had, hands down, the best picnic ever... the day we canoed around Emerald Lake and talked about where we wanted to raise a family and where we might some day retire... or that random hotel we stayed at in Field, BC, where we ended up meeting some amazing strangers while sharing an exceptional meal.
Ahhh - the memories.  

I could go on and on. Seriously, I could. I am one lucky girl.

Christmas in Qatar 2010
It should be noted here that from time to time, I will grumble about living in Doha. Have you noticed?
Colin reminded me this week, as we talked about planning a summer trip to Canada, that some day, we will look back at our time in the Middle East with affection, as we've already made lots of great memories here. Yes, he is that kind of guy. Sometimes his optimism can really get to me, but in this instance, I know he is right. One of the reasons I married him ; )
We will look back at our time here as a wild and crazy adventure that we once had - 'Hey, do you remember that time we packed up everything we owned and moved half way around the world to Qatar?'
Yep, I sure do.

Napa Inn in Napa Valley - A snuggle on the patio
after an awesome day
Thanks Tim, for encouraging me to remember some fantastic moments this week. And thanks Colin, for helping me live them.

Please leave a comment if you have a place you want to add to Tim's list. I will read & enjoy every one :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Three Little Birds

It's only 8pm, the evening before we leave, and I am almost packed! This is a record. Has to be. C is another story (currently out golfing and hasn't even opened his suitcase yet), but the bean and I are pretty much ready to go. I have spent basically ALL afternoon organizing, doing laundry and packing. This is exciting. I am super pumped.

In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, we leave for the Maldives.
(Can I get a WOOT WOOT?)
Our first tropical holiday since becoming parents. Seriously... I can't even remember our last vacation to a beach. I am guessing about three years ago? Maybe four. It may be a 'bit' different since our last retreat to a tropical desitination (days filled with sleeping in, lounging by the water, reading a few good books and sipping a few good drinks) but we are up for the challenge.
Can't wait.
These three little birds will be doning sun hats and bathing suits first thing tomorrow.
Yahoo for vacations! Life is good!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bentley's Knees

The item most on my mind this week: Bentley's knees. His back knees, specifically.

Benny in Texas - 2007

Ben's first night with us - 8 weeks old
 Our tiny ball of fire with his floppy ears and tail wag that really wags his entire body  isn’t 100% right now. Ben has been having a weird 'thing' happen for the last month or so - almost not noticeable at first - but we still started thinking we should get it checked out.

Every night before bed, both dogs get a good long walk. We started noticing when we were on these walks that every so often (like once a week), Ben would pick up his back leg, let out a little noise, hop a few steps, then put his leg back down, trotting along like nothing had happened.

We tried to excuse it away - maybe he had a muscle cramp, maybe his nails were too long, or maybe he had a splinter in his paw. But, after ruling out everything we could think of, we decided it was time for a professional’s opinion.

There are not many veterinary clinics in Doha, but we have managed to find a decent one (which we've used since we arrived last year), and last Saturday, we took him in for a consultation.

His diagnosis: Grade 2 Luxating Patella

This basically means that Bentley's knee cap is popping out of place every so often, which could be a genetic thing, and will get worse with age. When he picks up his back leg (or, when he goes "lame", as the vet described it), his patella (knee cap) deviates from the natural groove in his femur.
Here's the thing - all the reading we've done suggests that if you are going to go ahead and do the surgery (recommended around stage 3) then you should really get a specialist who does this operation routinely, as the results can really vary if an inexperienced surgeon attempts this type of correction.

The vet here couldn't really answer all of our questions about Bentley's knee issues, and when Colin wanted to talk further about how involved the surgery would be, he proceeded to get out his handy 'Surgical Manual for Veterinarian Students' book (my confidence in him plummeted at this point).
I understand that there was a language barrier (our vet’s first language was not English), but I didn’t like how keen he was to do this to our three year old pup, who has only just begun to show any symptoms. He wanted us to book it right away. No discussion of any other options. Groan. I felt, knowing Ben, that this was/is not in his best interests at this point, without more information.

I believe his diagnosis is correct - pretty much EXACTLY how it's described online - and we've since found out that this commonly affects Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, as they are a smaller dog breed prone to joint issues. Performing such a major surgery here (with months of healing time involved) raises some red flags, though. Unless you are a camel, options for certain animal care here is a bit limited, sad to say. I know he will have to get surgery to have this problem corrected - I just hope it doesn't get any worse for a long while (our vet said it will probably progress slowly). 

Halloween 2009 - HATED his bee costume
We had some great suggestions from informed friends about dietary supplements and exercise that could really help, but talk about a bad scenario. It’s when these kinds of things happen that I really appreciate how fortunate we were in both Canada, and the USA, to have experts in any field (dog or otherwise) at our very finger tips.
We are going to try for a second opinion at another office we've heard decent things about, and until then, we'll do everything we can to keep him happy and healthy, with his tail waggin'. Neither C or I have seen him do the three-legged hop thing for over a week and a half. And believe me, we have been watching for it.

All suggestions, prayers and comments welcome!

 2011 - Never far from Cooper ... or Ella