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Fiery 3rd Anniversary

So Michael and I both had to think for a second to try and remember which anniversary it was…we’ve been together over 9 years now but this September we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary! We must be getting old (or maybe it’s just baby/toddler/brain fog) because it’s hard to remember. LOL

We planned on spending our anniversary staying at Edgefield in The Gorge. We stayed there in January for my birthday and loved it! We loved the food and wine tasting and the hotel was great. We were bummed that we didn’t get to check out the soaking pool (because it was the middle of an ice/snow storm) and wanted to go back to try it.

I’m not sure if anyone else in the country is aware of what’s going on here in the NW, especially with Harvey and Irma and all the other natural disasters happening everywhere (!!!), but there have been tons of wild fires burning all over Oregon and Washington.

It is so absolutely heartbreaking and devastating the damage that has been done. The Gorge is a wonderful, beautiful, picturesque place to visit. I’ve been hiking in The Gorge too many times to even count. For awhile there, Multnomah Falls was being threatened by the fires. I was glued to Twitter and newsfeeds looking for updates, holding my breathe and hoping that the fires wouldn’t completely destroy everything. Thankfully the fire department was able to save the Lodge and Falls.

We are 35 miles from Multnomah Falls and the next day we woke up to our cars covered in ash, the air thick with smoke and ash. In the days after the fires started, there have been many harrowing stories. This one in particular is a good read and a GOOD REMINDER (even to me, who already knows “be prepared in the woods” and has ignored it many times) to be prepared for EVERYTHING. Read this.  How amazing is this below photo?

We had plans to stay at Edgefield for our anniversary but in light of the wildfires, we weren’t sure if we should cancel or not. We decided to wait it out and watch the news and weather. I’m really glad we didn’t cancel (although my first instinct was to) because by Sunday (8 days after the fires started), the air was clear, the skies were blue, it had rained in the Gorge a bit and the fires were more contained.

It was so weird driving out to the Gorge and then getting of I-84 at Troutdale because 84 was closed! It’s been closed for a week and I think it will be closed even longer. We stopped by my aunt’s house to see everybody for a short visit (they were in Evacuation Level 2 — Level 3 was GO!) and then we headed to Edgefield for our anniversary. We were happy to discover no smoky air, no ash, and clear blue skies! (My parents were down from Seattle to babysit Logan overnight.)

We had a nice room — a King sized bed with three windows overlooking the trees. It was a nice room and super comfy bed. We were right by one of the 2nd floor balconies, which we enjoyed several times. It’s European Style, so the bathrooms were down the hall.

We checked in and dumped our bags and then walked around the grounds. We didn’t get to do that much back in January (snow and all) so it was cool to just walk around and see everything. There were several cute little bars tucked away in different parts of the grounds. Michael got an Old Fashioned at one of the hidden bars by the concert area.

We walked around a bit more. It was nice because you could walk around the grounds with your drinks. Then we did the wine tasting. It was part of the package and came with a tasting, a snack plate and free bottle to take home.

We picked the Syrah as our bottle to take home.

After wine tasting we changed and went down to the soaking pool! They give you big, fluffy robes in your room. So we put on our suits and made the short walk down to the spa.

The soaking pool was SO amazing! We LOVED it! It was really big, my photos don’t do it justice. It’s kind of like a lazy river. The water was 102 degrees and felt amazing. We were there about 6pm or so. We ended up spending almost 2 hours in there.

We relaxed in the pool with our drinks. I got a sort of pina colada and Michael got something called funkadelic. LOL We just chilled–for the first time in a long time. 😉

After spending two hours in the pool, we cleaned up and then walked down to find something for dinner. We ended up at one of the outdoor restaurants. It was really nice out, warm and romantic and there were lights all over.

Michael got a burger and I got the BBQ pork slider with coleslaw on it and tater tots. My dinner was incredibly salty, which was disappointing. Last time we were there the food was pretty good. I was disappointed with the food in general this time. But the atmosphere was perfect outside.

We shared a dessert, brownie with ice cream and caramel drizzled on top. The brownie was piping hot. It was really good! We were totally stuffed!

The next day we got to SLEEP IN! Until like 8:30!!!! I can’t remember the last time that happened and it was so nice!

We went down and had breakfast and then packed up our stuff. We checked out and then went over to the spa.

We had appointments at the spa but before that we got to enjoy the soaking pool again. We had the pool to ourselves, too! We spent about 1 hour in the soaking pool and then got ready for our massages. They had showers and tons of towels and robes for spa guests, so it wasn’t hard to clean up since we checked out already.

We got the couple’s massage. I got the relaxation massage and Michael got the cyclists massage. It was so nice to just unwind and relax. After our massages we got beers (for lunch lol!) and relaxed on the deck. I was pretty stuffed from breakfast so didn’t get food. The place was pretty empty since it was a Monday and after checkout so it was nice to just chill with no one around. We laid back and enjoyed our beers and eventually had to make our way home. 😉

Here are a few photos of some of the art from around Edgefield:

I’m really glad we didn’t cancel our trip and I’m glad the fires are more contained. I am crossing my fingers that the damage won’t be too severe. I think hiking in the Gorge will be closed for a long time, sadly.

It was nice to get away but it was nice to be home, too. I missed my little buddy. 🙂

Yggdrasil

This is my first baby. His name is Yggdrasil. He’s been known as Fat Kitty here on the blog. I wanted to share his story and tell you guys what’s been going on in our world the last few weeks.

I got him as a kitten 15 years ago. I’d never had a pet before and when I moved out on my own after a bad breakup, I decided I wanted a cat. This was before the internet was really a big thing and I went through the newspaper ad section for people giving away kittens. I picked up the phone and started calling.

It was probably the fourth ad I called. No one else picked up the phone, or the kittens were given away already. The fourth person I called said they had a kitten named Gizmo they were giving away. I drove out to their apartment to meet him.

I had no intention of getting a cat yet. I wanted to meet him and see how I felt. So as a result, I had nothing–no litter box, no travel carrier, no food, nothing.

I met “Gizmo” and immediately fell in love. He was this tiny little kitten with so much spunk and energy:

The woman giving him away had rescued him. He was homeless on the street and saw some kids abusing him with rocks and sticks. She rescued him but couldn’t keep him. I knew immediately that he was my cat.

I took him home after just a few minutes of meeting him. I put him in the car and he ran around smelling and looking at everything. He loved the car and actually got up and looked out the windows like a dog.

On the way home I stopped at Target and bought litter, a litter box, toys, food, a carrier, and a scratching post. Then we went home to get acquainted.

His new name was Yggdrasil. (Drazzle)

Our first night together was rough. In the middle of the night he managed to knock over a giant (and very heavy) planter of lilies I had on a bookcase. It broke and shattered everywhere. I decided to put him in the bathroom with his litter box for the night because I thought it would be safer.

I got up to use the bathroom early that morning to find that he had managed to escape out the window in the bathroom! He had pushed the screen and slithered out! I was SO DISTRAUGHT! I panicked. I went outside in the dark and searched everywhere for him with a flashlight.

I was sobbing. I couldn’t believe he was gone! I imagined him lost and scared or hurt. I lived right by a freeway and a really busy street and I knew that was dangerous.

I left the front door open and put a bowl of cat food just inside the door hoping he’d come back. I laid down on my bed and cried. All of a sudden I felt a little wet nose on my hand. He had come back! And jumped on the bed and gave me little kitten kisses. I was so overjoyed that he was ok!

That was our first day/night together.

The next few months were great. Yggdrasil was the most playful, active, sweet kitten I’d ever met. He loved me fiercely and I loved him back. The only problem? While I was at work he destroyed my apartment. He got into everything! He was probably bored, or lonely, and just destroyed stuff. I’d come home to all my books on the floor, the garbage overturned…you name it.

I realized he needed a playmate.

A coworker’s cat had kittens recently and I decided a playmate was exactly what Yggdrasil needed. I met the kittens and picked the runt of the litter. I brought her home (a little too early, I think) at 7 weeks old and introduced Maya to Yggdrasil.

The first two weeks were brutal. He was not happy. I honestly thought he might kill her. 🙁 So much growling and hissing! I have a scar on my leg from their first meeting! I kept them separated for about a week. I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to keep Maya.

But one day I came home from work to find them snuggled up together on my chair, grooming each other. And it was sealed. They loved each other. I was so happy! They kept each other company, they cuddled, they played, Yggdrasil stopped destroying my apartment…. 🙂 And he got really fat because he ate all of Maya’s kitten food!

This is how I used to read books:

He always helped. 🙂

And whenever I’d come home from work or the gym, he’d be waiting for me in the window:

These two are always together:

When we brought Bella home a few years ago, Yggdrasil wasn’t too happy. It was a very long road before he finally got over it. And then last year when I was pregnant it was like these two bonded over it and they even started sleeping next to each other and cuddling a little bit:

I was glad he got over the new addition(s) because at 14 years old he was finally no longer a kitten (he acted like one until last year) and was kind of turning into a grumpy old man.

Yggdrasil was always a little plump. Several times the vet told me he needed to lose some weight and I tried a lot of different things, nothing really worked. I did get a special feeder a few years ago that did work well and we’ve been using it since.

The last few years Yggdrasil has had some health issues, but nothing major. His kidney levels were a little elevated, so I got special prescription food that helped that. He’s also had issues for most of his life with throwing up. Part of that is that he’s always been a binge eater. I think it stems from being homeless as a kitten and not knowing if he’d have food. He just never shook that fear, I think. So he scarfs down his food and it upsets his stomach so he throws up.

The vomiting started to increase this past year. I saw the vet a few times and we tried different food. We got some liquid antacids that I give him once or twice a day to help. That helped a little bit.

At his last vet appointment in November we switched the food again because the vomiting was getting a little worse. The doctor wanted to run some blood work after a few days of trying that. I put it off. Part of the reason was scheduling, we were constantly sick and everything got put off, and the bigger part was denial. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to get bad news. I just couldn’t deal with it. 🙁

Recently I’ve noticed that he’s lost more weight. My Fat Kitty was no longer fat. He was noticeably skinnier and that was upsetting to me. I took him in to the vet for blood work. It came back normal, which was good I guess…It wasn’t his kidneys. But the vet said the only other thing she could think to explain his recent lack of appetite, vomiting and weight loss was cancer.

My heart split in two. Yggdrasil was my first baby. I loved him more than anything for a decade and a half. I couldn’t imagine something serious being wrong with him.

The next step was to schedule an ultrasound and x-ray to see if there was something wrong. This happened the week of my birthday. I sunk into a very deep sadness and grief, imagining the worst. It was breaking my heart and he was all I could think about.

A week later I got the news of the ultrasound and tests. Thankfully it wasn’t cancer. Unfortunately it was pancreatitis. The treatment for that is often steroids and because he has a slight heart murmur, that might not be an option.

The vet felt like his pancreatitis was “mild” enough that we could skip the steroids. She also felt like he might have inflammatory bowel disease. These two illnesses are probably going to be chronic and flare up occasionally. Having a diagnosis is good and I’m glad I spent the money on the tests to find out. It’s better than just assuming it was the worst (cancer) and not enjoying whatever time we have left together dreading the inevitable. I’m hoping that we can manage these illnesses and have a few more years together!