Queen of the Woods

Happy dogs on thursday, little friday and thankful thursday!   I’ve actually altered my fireworks distraction plan from yesterday’s microwave popcorn fest, but you can read more about that on the girls’ blog.

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This is my new favorite photo of the girls.   Sissy definitely is queen of our realm.   I’ve been wondering of late why our crazy, sometimes naughty girl seems to have more fans than our sweetie pie who makes Jack Russells everywhere look like model citizens, and Sissy explained it this morning by reminding me of one of my favorite quotes…

Well-behaved women seldom make history. 

- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

No, I won’t pretend Sissy really uttered that quote, but I asked her why she was so popular and good little Gg didn’t seem to get as much press, and while we exchanged a glance, that quote popped in my head as plainly as though the words had come from Sissy’s slobber-wet mouth.

It’s true, but that’s also part of why I am so delighted with my ladylike terrier.  She’s no push-over.  She’s secure enough to stand proudly in Sissy’s shadow, and trust me, Gretchen has plenty of JRT pluck. 

Thankful Thursday is a little difficult for me today.   Cancer has been dancing through too many lives of late, and since they aren’t my stories to tell, that’s all I’m saying.  I’m thankful beyond measure for the “simple”, non-malignant diagnoses, but I’m also going to remind each of you to get those screening tests none of us like… mammograms and colonoscopies.  If you haven’t had either, no matter your age, mention them to your doctor on your next visit.  Depending on your family history, it might already be time…

It’s also the right time of year in my hemisphere to remind you to wear sunscreen even if you don’t burn easily, and to report any new moles, bumps or spots to your doctor.  Big ol’ floppy hats are in style this summer, so while I prefer a more structured wide-brimmed number, head to your local Target and snag some sun protection for the price of a light lunch. 

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So, I am thankful that protecting my face, shoulders and new hair color are trendy this season.   See the highlights?

I’m also thankful that I have a diverse group of smart readers, so some of you will have some tips on how to care for my first hair color.  (Hint, hint?)  I did snag some color-protecting shampoo and conditioner, and my stylist told me to only use products noted as safe for color-treated hair.

What else?  I’m pretty sure this is a life-long commitment I’ve entered into with COLOR.  My dad’s mom died with jet-black hair, as I recall, and although she died when I was four, she’s been a powerful role model just the same.  (Hem.  No, I don’t intend to age “naturally”.  Even the rude beasty in the Wii Fit game thinks I’m much younger than I am, so I intend to run with it as long as I can.)

What are you thankful for today?

Whistling in the Wind

Life’s be-bopping along, and I swear when Gretchen asks out at 4am, I have ideas for clever posts, but by the time I get a chance to compose something, my mind is busy with the 14 emails I need to answer but haven’t, customer angst (theirs… not mine AS a customer), etc.

Vera’s new fabrics come out on July 7th, which was Daddy’s birthday.  Gretchen and I are very optimistic that the pattern shown on the left will be as pleasing in person as the chocolate, PANK, pink and white are on all the screens we’ve viewed it on.  So far, nothing in the past year or so has tempted me to actually purchase myself any Vera. 

For your entertainment, I do have to rant about those knee socks.  I LOATHE knee socks.  I’m not built for them, for starters.  Even when I am slim and lean, my calves are short and strong, which is to say that knee socks are too long and they cut of the circulation at wherever the highest point ends up falling.

I also owe you a Project Spectrum, month of my historically favorite color (green) update, but alas, there’s more knitting to do on the truly green project and blocking too…  I do realize tomorrow is the last day of the month, and it is with both a heavy sigh and a lot of pride I accept that I’m not going to finish the main green project on time… unless I knit to the wire (midnight) tomorrow night.  I’m close, so VERY close, but see, I have a date tonight with two fur-girls who believe the universe conspired against them yesterday, what with storms from the very second I pulled in the drive until after dark…

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Green project on July 8, 2009

Are you confused about the pride?  Oh.  See…  Main green project was started over two years ago, and I can’t understand why I put it down no fewer than two times.  The yarn is stunning.  The pattern is well-written and made for this yarn – not literally, but they are very well-met.  So, I’m delighted that this ancient project is going to see completion!  (And trust me…  yarn AND pattern are so much more than that tepid photo shows!)

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Focus on the "pine" green in there!! It's in there!!

So, I’m looking ahead to July and the color blue.  Yeah, I cheated and knitted blue and green in June, because I was “homesick” for OBX (I’d be cute and say “seasick” but that’s got a separate connotation that is totally inaccurate…).  I can’t wait to block it and be able to wear it, but life keeps getting in the way.  If only I had a weekend with an extra day…

Oh!  Wait!  I do, don’t I? 

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Same show, 2009

That also means more knitting time, because I probably won’t do fireworks this year.  See, they upset Gretchen Greer.  She’s smart enough to realize there are no guns going off in the sky, it’s not thunder and yet there’s lightning…  She isn’t to the “freak out” stage yet, and I learned quite by accident last month that microwave popcorn distracts her.

(Yeah.  We live on the edge of a resort that sets of fireworks for weddings, parties, and I think just because it’s been a few weeks since they last set some off…) 

So I seriously plan on popping bag after bag of popcorn Monday night.  I’m lucky that I have an in with the local fire company, so I’ll get a call when the fireworks professionals move into position, and the first bag will go in before the first “boom”.  Here’s the problem though… 

Wait.  There’s an atta’ girl in it for anyone who already knows the answer.  Be honest…

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Sissy-ZsaZsa - No pictures and no popcorn!

That’s right.  Sissy-moo can’t eat popcorn.  So what pray tell shall I do with 27 bowls of microwave popcorn Monday night?  Have the firefighters come pick it all up before they return to the station? 

And seriously… how many bags will it take to outlast the fireworks show?  I don’t recall how long the show is, and since I usually pop the mini-bags, I don’t even know how long a regular bag would take in our microwave.  I should have bought a BIG BOX of it at Sam’s Club last night, huh?

Hmmm… somehow, I got distracted from pondering my July-blue knitting project.  I already have yarn and pattern waiting… and yes, you have to wait too.  It’s not July yet!

Picnic Game

Who doesn’t love a picnic?!  Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting the picnic game, which I must confess, I don’t recall playing as a child.   I do remember seeing other girls sitting in large circles, clapping and reciting and laughing, but I don’t remember participating.  I was probably playing soccer or lacrosse with the boys…

At any rate, what started as me being silly led to this post and our offering for the picnic.  I don’t have a go-to picnic recipe.  I’m known as the baker in my family and with my inlaws, but there’s no one thing I’m routinely asked to bring to our summer gatherings.  So, I joked with Louise that Sissy would want me to bring dog biscuits, and being a fan of my silly mutts, Louise jumped right on it!

Without further delay, here’s my first (to the best of my recollection!) attempt at the picnic game!

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing:

A:  Apricot Cobbler from Mae

B: Banana Cream Pie from Marjie

C:  Cherries in a Jar from Barbara

D: DIVA Doggy Bites

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Of course, when Sissy demands special treats, they must be CUSTOM creations, partly because she has food allergies, but mostly because she is a DIVA and it really is all about her more often than not in our little house in the woods.

Since I’m guessing many of you are visitors not well-versed in my special-needs dog’s world, she is highly allergic to corn and chicken, and corn starch is a popular dog treat ingredient.  She’s also sensitive to pork, beef and basically any animal flesh except rabbit. 

This is where I confess that life got in the way, so last night, I flew by the seat of my pants.  I’m delighted to report that what we created is perfect, according to the DIVA and the wee one.

DIVIA Doggy Bites

2 cups Bisquick

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 medium to large ripe banana

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or blender).  Mix until smooth.   Spread WET dough evenly on a greased jelly roll pan (I used a Pampered Chef large bar pan).  Bake 20 minutes.  Turn oven off, but leave pan in until the dough is as brown as you desire.

Cool 5 minutes in pan, on a cooling rack, then slice into whatever your dog(s) consider bite-sized pieces.  Remove to rack for continued cooling, then package in air-tight containers or freeze.

photoOf course, they’re DIVA approved.  I couldn’t use her title without her blessing.  And if you must know, they are BITES because the normally gentle gal did jam one tooth into my finger last night while I was trying to take photos, because she felt I was teasing her and she was trying to grab her yum and run!!

Yes, it’s an odd flavor pairing, but they are two of the fur-girls favorites, and they seem to find it an irresistible combination.  I held a treat in my mouth while I took more photos this morning, and it wasn’t vile.  Everything is human grade, so you could eat them if you desired.

photoGretchen likes them too, in case you were wondering.   Look for future versions with pumpkin and pear, peanut butter and more!

Do your dogs like “vegetarian” treats?  If so, what flavors?

Thanks Louise for inviting ALL of us to the picnic.  Gretchen is happy to share HER treats with any of the other dogs present. 

Do you have a go-to, often-requested picnic recipe?  Would you share it with me, even if you’re not playing the picnic game with us?

Oh – and do let us know if you and your dogs try the recipe.  Feedback is always appreciated!

I’m Still Standing

(You should be humming Elton John’s I’m Still Standing…)

It was that kind of weekend.  Friday night, I stayed at the firehouse until the bottom of the 11th and then raced home to watch UVA finally give it up in the 13th.  It was a good game and I’m really proud of them, but geeze I wanted to see them in the College World Series. 

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Might I distract you with pretty flowers that the deer ate the morning after this photo was taken?

That meant I was running on empty for the JLC board retreat on Saturday.  Add in a very long wait for a travel box of Starbucks, and it wasn’t a good start to the day, but we had a good meeting anyway.  I’m very excited about the upcoming year and the women on the board.

It went downhill from there.  I started feeling AWFUL Saturday evening, and really felt rough yesterday, but we made it to Tappahannock to celebrate one of the Knight’s relation’s 85th birthday.  We finished the day off with dinner at Lowery’s with the Knight’s brother and his family, and then made our way home. 

I’m feeling better today, but not great.  I think it was a bug of some sort, because the new League president didn’t feel so hot yesterday either.  Hope your weekend was better!

Pink Pout

photoWe misssed it.  Starspry let us know yesterday was National Pink Day.   Gretchen pouted when I told her, but then smuggly noted that at least she was wearing pink; she’s ALWAYS wearing pink!  That pink collar is always on her neck, and as you can see, she also sports a PANK harness and leash!

I like pink/PANK too, and would have worn it yesterday had I known.  Maybe I should put pink day on my calendar so I get a reminder next year?  (Okay, probably not.  I have enough to juggle without trying to celebrate really obscure holidays, no matter how cute they might be.)

My weekend is rather hectic, so let’s just check back on Monday, okay?  Do tell me about all your relaxing, fun plans though…

 

Working Dog Wishes…

Happy dogs on thursday, little friday and thankful thursday!  Tomorrow is Take Your Pet to Work Day, and Gretchen’s done a cute little post.   I’m lucky that the fur-girls get to come to work fairly often.  I know they’d like to come with me daily, but I’m not sure how productive that would be.  Anyone taking a pet to work for the day?

photoI’m thankful I’m knitting again.  I have another finished object, but I haven’t had time to block it yet, so no FO report.  Maybe next week, but no promises.  In the meantime, the DIVA did pose with the unblocked shawl… 

She’s such a funny girl.  It helps to have sweet, silly Sissy to balance poised, perfect Gretchen.  Gretchen isn’t a stand-offish stick in the mud, but it is annoying sometimes to have a dog with more grace than I possess.  Luckily, once in a while her inner Cracker Jack Terrier takes over and she does annoying, fun things like rip through the house, literally racing up walls, furniture, human body parts…

Yes, Sissy does it too.  It’s not nearly as cute to have nearly 50 lbs. of bassetude tear across your bare legs and/or feet, but we’re grateful for our happy, well-adjusted dogs.   We’ve been blessed with some fabulous dogs in our lives, but these two are so darned sweet and have more personality…

 What are you thankful for today?

PVC for me

I’m always amazed when PVC turns up in something other than pipe, because in my real life, PVC is king.  It’s what holds most of the wells we (and I use that word VERY loosely) drill open, and it’s sometimes what holds the pump in the (water) well. 

photoSo I found it ironic and entertaining when I bought this Christian Livingston bag in PVC…  No, I didn’t buy it from the site I linked to, but I honestly can’t tell you where it did come from.  I’ve developed a rather nasty habit of shopping all sorts of discount fashion sites, and one of them introduced me to the brand and bag and on a whim, it came to the woods.

(Color on the website is more accurate; it’s a little too grassy/vivid in my photo… wish it was so!!)

I’ve discovered to my GREAT surprise that I like the rather FLAT bag.  Upon further contemplation – because that’s what I do…  if you haven’t figured out that I analysis the daylights out of everything, then you’re not really reading my posts, are you?! – I realized that some of the bags I’ve carried the longest have been similar. 

DSC01232Remember Soi?  It was my first Vera Frill bag, and I carried it for months – which for me is quite a feat.   It was too deep to really be a perfect bag, but that didn’t stop me from carrying it, and I got so many compliments on it! 

I’m beating a dead horse.  Move on if you’re a regular reader, don’t care about bags, or if you find yourself reciting my plea as you read.

Vera has totally missed the mark by marketing Frill to tweens and young teens.   I’m finally getting over myself and understand that parents buy their kiddos iPhones, iPads and designer bags, so I’m not even going to touch that part of my Vera gripe.  (I do confess that if I had a little girl, she’d be decked out in Lilly P until she was old enough to revolt and refuse to wear anything that wasn’t in an earth-tone…) 

April 2011 004Anyway.  Teens don’t need vinyl coated bags nearly as much as moms and dog-mas.  I was a tomboy, and I STILL don’t EVER recall ruining a handbag, or even a frock.  However, let’s talk Sissy…

Yeah, that’s a BOX, but just last night, her nose was deeper into my handbag, even though it was sitting on the back of the loveseat!  And no, Gretchen’s prim and proper little nose isn’t a problem.  It has never ventured into my handbag that I know of, and if you don’t know bassets, Sissy’s nose isn’t REALLY the problem.  It’s her mouth and the ribbons of drool that often hang around the edges.

Anyway, what Soi has right is the vinyl, the happy colors, the patent leather trim, and the magnetic closure.  I don’t like flaps and strappy closures; I like to be able to quickly grab my cell phone when it’s ringing, remember?  There is another tote in the Frill line-up this season, but I don’t love it. 

Oh well…  That’s enough bag rambling for this week.   For now, I’m carrying the green thing, but I don’t love it and it has a zipper top.  I do like the flat, wider strap though…

31 – and holding

Remember when I went to that 31 party?  Well, I got my stuff a few days/weeks ago, and thought I’d share with you.

The main goal here was to get me a wristlet wallet so I could just grab my essentials – driver’s license, cash, cards, lip balm, iPhone and keys – and go.  I bought two options, both of which I was assured by friends would work with the iPhone, even in the OtterBox case.

Hem.  Riiiight.  I don’t use the OtterBox case daily, but there’s no way.  I don’t always get a chance to call the Chief (aka: the Knight) back, so missing a call while I wrestle the iPhone from its pocket isn’t an option.  I also had a snafu with “pocket dialing” a friend’s mom before I learned how to lock the keypad on my Blackberry years ago, so the fit has to be just right.

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Mini on the go organizer

This little – I mean LITTLE – thang went to live with MJ imediately.  I love the layout, but the iPhone was a TIGHT fit.  Her little flip phone is very happy in there though, along with her lipstick and that essential key fob with all the perks cards…  (Note to self:  that and your checkbook need to move into your handbag!)

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Interior of mini wristlet, with MJ's goodies inside

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Wristlet Wallet exterior

I kept and am trying to use the Wristlet Wallet.  I say trying, because in a second, I’ll show you the two-sided zip-around that is annoying as can be for me.  I like the outer pocket for my iPhone, and as you can see, the OtterBox fits in there slick as a whistle.  It won’t last long though, because the first time I have to show my ID for something, I’ll go buy a new wallet; I don’t believe in physically handing my ID or wallet over.  If the cashier can’t see it with a glance, it’s not a good set-up.

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Interior

As you can see, only my Burt’s Bees lip balm is living in there.  I got caught today without my checkbook AND without my wad of shopper tags, so clearly, I’m in transition and that isn’t ideal either.

I like the idea of 31.  The products are purdy, but I think these were two misses.  I’m glad MJ liked the little one, but I’m still searching for that perfect big wallet or wristlet that will do it all for me.

What say you?

The Barbeque Exchange

The Knight and I are both big fans of barbeque.  We’ve both been hearing that we really needed to try the place in Gordonsville.  He and his assistant finally got there last week, and he liked it so well we went to The Barbeque Exchange Friday night too.

We both got the pulled pork with two sides.  The pork was tender and tasty.  The Knight added the Hog Fire sauce, but I went with the Carolina sauce.  Yum.  He got macaroni salad, baked beans and cornbread.  I got macaroni salad, a brocoli salad I don’t see on the menu but everyone we’ve talked to seems to think it’s a regular item, and when I couldn’t decide between the cornbread and the pumpkin muffin, the gal behind the counter gave me both!

It’s rare that I do a photo-less post, but you need to wander out of your way to try the Barbeque Exchange.  I also have it on good authority that I need to try their bacon brownie.  (Say what?!) 

And if you’re a local, I do require more pumpkin muffin and brocoli salad if you’re coming this way.  It’s all good, but those two items are remarkably so.

See the corn? Ahhhh...

The Knight describes the cornbread as corn-poundcake.  It is THICK, sweet and not too dry.  How do you like your cornbread?  Personally, I like it a little gritty with real corn included, but I want it sweet enough and moist enough that I don’t reach for the butter…

Coffee and Teaberry

I’ve been reading a lot this week.  I read another of the tea shop cozies, the last currently available in paperback, I believe…  I do love teaberries though.  I’ve had the pleasure of plucking them from a bush in the wild, although I also enjoy the gum when I find it in some little country store.  (The 11th book in the series is the Teaberry Strangler.)

I’m two books into the Coffee House Mysteries now.   I know several of you enjoy cozies, but gMarie is personally responsible for getting me hooked on my third series.   As with the tea series, you can’t help learning more about coffee as you read along.  It is the main character’s – well, all of them actually – passion and she shares a lot about what makes a GOOD cup of coffee so much better than the average cup o’ joe.

Also on my reading list is a doggy biography.  Lapdog Creations had a giveaway, and I was one of the lucky winners.  We’re looking forward to reading this…  Gretchen just likes a good doggy story, and I suspect Sissy is looking for some pointers on how to promote herself even more. 

Gretchen’s no-pull harness is on my radar again this weekend.  I just have to get motivated to drive across town and make the purchase! 

I don’t know what else we’ll end up doing.  We’ll have to see what the Knight wants to do.

What’s on your weekend agenda?  Any big Father’s Day plans?