In the blink of an eye

It’s Dogs on Thursday again, just like that. And, just like that, I’m packing my bags again too. Mugsy’s separation anxiety is high, and I’ve been apologizing to Jake, dog sitter #1, for about two weeks now, because I *KNOW* they are going to be bad boys. Jake’s never sat for us before, the dogs don’t really know him, so that’s going to make it so much worse. The world will be a better place for all of us when LT, our neighbor-boy all grown up, takes over dog duties on Sunday. A million thanks to Eric, who is dog-sitting for LT’s family until they return from their vacation on Sunday, and is going to bridge the gap and take care of our boys on Sunday morning! Evidently, it takes a village to keep the dogs out of a kennel too. All three of our sitters are members of our volunteer fire company, further proof that they really are like another family.

So, in an effort to get my mind off of this little unexpected mess, I present a favorite baby picture of Shadow II. He’s two now, and he’s the second sable Sheltie Mark’s grandfather has named Shadow. For some crazy reason, this little boy liked to nap in boxes. We discovered that on this day, when Mark thought he was playing with the pup. Nope. Shadow II thought it made a lovely little nest, and quickly fell asleep! Two years later, he still favors tight, enclosed napping spots, like between the chair and the wall, under my desk, etc.

We leave in the morning. I am counting on the hotel having a wireless connection, so you may still hear from me – or not. Much knitting must happen, and after all, we are going down for a convention. So, have a great weekend and/or week, and I’ll definitely be back again for a very real Dogs on Thursday next week, when my boys and I reunite after being apart for nearly a week!

Noro by Another Name

Not all Noro yarns are created equal. You’ll recall that I am not the least bit fond of yuck yarn – aka: Noro Kureyon – and I believe I have shared that thought more than once. However, Noro makes more than yuck yarn! I had pondered Silk Garden, and my new knitting pal Crimson Purl has been more than gently urging me to give it a try (check out her nearly completed Lizard Ridge!). Now, thanks to Flowerpot, I have some SG of my own to try! What I failed to capture with my camera is that there are also some rich to vivid blues in this colorway. Here’s a swatch photo I finally found at Royal Yarns. Obviously, the colors are a bit off in the swatch (at least on my monitor, the photo I took is more true-colored.) Still, the swatch shows the blues and other hues in there. Now, what to knit? It won’t be a blanket or a scarf, so just don’t go there! It also won’t happen too soon, because I have the Sockza socks to finish (I’m ready to move into the heel on sock one; thank goodness for the LONG ride to Myrtle Beach!), and a baby blankie to start and finish post-haste. Yes, yes, I said no non-socks this summer, but my hubby insists that “Baby Ploeg” will arrive with a blankie to be wrapped in. Never mind that since Mommy P (or so we’ll call her) is due on August 26th, it will most likely be so hot that a simple cotton blanket will be best. Mark rarely insists upon anything, so BP will have a blankie before he/she arrives, God willing! (Going to Myrtle Beach? I’ll be easy to spot. The freak knitting a blankie on the beach…)

But wait! There’s more! I also got some shea butter soap – love me some shea butter – and some minty lip balm. There’s also a very lovely handmade card, which reminds me that I spent a small fortune in cardmaking and stamping supplies, mostly in the name of making my own cards. I even selected the hostess only stamps that included some yarn and knitting needles, so there’s no reason for me to keep rushing to Hallmark. Sigh. Can someone tell me how to make cards without putting down my needles?
Now, you must excuse me, because there’s this little white dog, pacing the length of the house with his ball in his mouth. You see, in two days, his eight weeks of no running, no fetching and no jumping (yeah, right) is complete, and we can begin to slowly reintroduce those things into his life. His wee little ACL has mended as best it can, and once again, Mugsy will be chanting, “Throw the ball, throw the ball, throw the ball…” as only he can.

Dog Days Contest

So, we’re supposed to post our favorite homemade item. As I wore my bamboo vest yesterday and received the ultimate compliment – “But it doesn’t LOOK handmade!” – that’s currently my favorite. This photo doesn’t do it justice, but alas, it’s all I have to offer.

As for something I’ve seen on another blog I’d like to make, I want to make the socks Devon made her Sockza pal. (That’s not the best photo of them, but you can always visit Devon’s blog for more!)
Folks, I am alive, but life is still crazy. My Green Yarn Junkies package did arrive yesterday, but this is the truth; I had to have Mark open it for me while I was preparing a new brownie recipe to take to our Pampered Chef meeting. I will post pictures and details this evening. Thanks to Flowerpot for sending out a great package.


We’re finished reading book #7. Mugsy missed a few chapters late last night, but insisted that we finish reading when Mark left around 4:30am. Who am I to argue with a crup? Since I know a couple of friends are still reading or haven’t even started yet, please hold off on any comments other than “I’m done too” or something of the like. 😉

There are a few little things I need to tend to, since I was away for four days, and haven’t really had time for normal computer-type activities until now.

Firstly, Paula and Mary both nominated me for the Rockin’ Girl Blogger. Thanks, ladies! I can’t remember the last time I was nominated for something, and I surely didn’t expect anything from blogland!

Next, and also from Paula is the new Dogs on Thursdays logo!

Maybe later today you’ll get some knitting photos, and/or a knitting book review. Right now though, I’m going to find some breakfast and being on the mountain of laundry I have to tackle.

But wait! There’s more! We all love contests, right?! Well, pop over and check out this one. I found it via another blogging friend, so I hope you’ll visit them both too. It’s a point well-taken; if we don’t leave comments, most bloggers don’t know we’re reading.

Please Hold While…

… the blog you are trying to read is being processed. Keep those dreams coming. After all, one single mom made this whole Pottermania possible only because she soldiered through several rejection letters. (How stupid do those publishers feel?)

Didn’t Amazon do a great job with the box holding my precious cargo? I love it! Had I know they went to all that trouble, I would have pre-ordered at least books 5 & 6! Way cool. A great treat after driving to town after the baby shower, only to find that Giant’s pharmacy closed THREE minutes before I arrived. Sigh. Maybe Mark will pick it up tomorrow for me, because Mugsy and I are going to be busy reading all 759 pages before work on Monday.

There will be no knitting, no blogging, and probably not even much eating or sleeping until we finish. No spoilers here either, not without warnings galore anyway. Can you believe one of my friends bothered to go get the book early this morning but announced, “I have about 30 pages of this other book to finish first.” WHAT?! Mind you, she’s really more of a friend of a friend…
So, pardon me, but Mugsy and I are going to read. He has this odd notion that crups will be important in this book, and get more than one measley sentence of mention. No self-esteem problems in that one!

Goals and More

Anne issued a challenge on Fitter Knitters, and you know I love a challenge – and a contest! You know, I discovered while in Chicago on business earlier this week, that it’s not so hard to be fit while traveling. I drank lots of water, ate a salad with every meal (even with the deep dish pie at Giordano’s!), and picked up a piece of fresh fruit every time it was offered. We walked a lot, and I unabashedly packed nothing but my favorite “thong” style Birkenstocks, so hoofing it around the McCormick Center and downtown was almost painless, even at Val’s brisk pace. (She’s not a blogger, folks. She’s my dear friend, who’s just moved back to Jersey after becoming a single mom to two BEAUTIFUL little girls…) Lorraine (a local friend!) and I shared a whole wheat turkey sub one day for lunch, partially because it was a whopping $8.50, but mostly because we knew we didn’t need or want a whole one. A little self-awareness, healthy friends, and it’s a breeze to feel you’re making progress on fitness while traveling!

Some of you know I was in Chicago with four of my best friends for Pampered Chef’s annual conference. They talked a lot about dreams and goals too. I’m still working on that, but it’s interesting that the same words show up in different phases of my life. Do you have dreams? You do know that if you take a deep breath, develop an action plan, and set goals along the way, virtual any dream is achievable, right?! I know that for me, as I’ve aged, I’ve forgotten to dream. Oh, I have goals, but right now, I lack any kind of big carrot out there to motivate me. (Cables though, for my knitting goals, but that’s another post for another day!) Working in a family business, there’s no need to strive for another step on the ladder. When my inlaws retire, Mark and I will step up. No assessments or competition, just the natural life cycle within a family business. I am complacent, and I need to change!

So, how ’bout it? Will you share your dreams with me and help me find something about which I can truly be passionate again? (So much for knitting content, but I did mention cables, right?) I know many of my friends have big, beautiful dreams, and I love to hear about them. They inspire me to reach higher and to continue to work on my personal growth. (I took my shoes off in the airport and cooled my feet on the concrete! I let Missy sit on my bed pillows without freaking out!)

And if you haven’t tried Pampered Chef products, swing by my website and check them out!

There’s No Place Like Home.

Let me assure you that after thinking you will have to spend the night in O’Hare with three of your best friends, while a fourth dear-heart sits on another plane on the runway for THREE HOURS, there’s no place like home. Having my darling boys rush out the front door as I pulled in at nearly 7am – awake virtually 25 hours straight – was all the balm I needed to soothe this weary traveler. So, here’s how my boys rest, for this week’s Dogs on Thursday. Mugsy is indeed the little prince of the castle. Here, he reclines amid several pillows and a handmade throw (just beneath his belly), on the sofa.

Fred isn’t inclined to perch up high. He likes his beds big and fluffy, and on the floor. (Pardon the dirt and drool; the cover is washed weekly, but that’s not always enough for a true hound.) Yes, he generally is partially off the bed, despite the fact that it is indeed plenty large. That’s just how he likes it, I guess.
So, since I’ve only had three hours of sleep in the last 35 hours, I hope this canine eye candy will do for a while. There’s a wedding you need to hear about, a trip to Chicago with tear-rolling, side-splitting laughter, and so much more. There’s even a box of books from Knitpicks you need to hear about, and a the beginnings of a Wick yoga sock, which enjoyed the flight into Chicago, but “slept” through the flight home, such as it was. I have a busy couple of days ahead, and then there’s that book Mugsy and I will have to read Saturday and try to finish on Sunday…

The Postmistress Always…

…makes the dogs bark more than twice.

This could also be titled, why one should always get dressed, even on Saturdays. Luckily, it was the postmistress herself, and not the young man substitute. I, in my nightie and dogs in the yard… You don’t want to hear much more of THOSE details, but the postmistress left my package by a tree, as the dogs refused to come in, I couldn’t go out, and she wouldn’t believe they wouldn’t bite.

That’s the first thing I saw when I ripped open the box. I was just getting ready to paint my toes, but I can always wear something with a closed toe to the wedding, right?! A *GORGEOUS* bag, from my incredibly generous felted bag pal, whom I now know as Lia. I’ve enjoyed her blog for a while, but I was hardly sure she was my pal. Hooray! I continue to be spoiled. (Bamboo handles! Rich brown and vivid blue on the bag. Bliss!)

This is what I saw when I unzipped the bag. Yep folks, I said UNZIPPED. I can’t sew much at all, so I can only dream of such grand construction. There’s a better picture of the lining and the goodies coming, so just enjoy the show. I was so blown away by the awesome bag that I surely wasn’t expecting anything within. I just unzipped it to appreciate its largeness, and to ponder taking it instead of my Healthy Back Bag as my “purse” for the flight tomorrow, and wow! More spoiled goodness!

Here’s a peek at the lining, and more of the bag. Wonderful, yes? Between the above shot and this one, you can see that it’s a great, coordinating brown and blue paisley. I am positive I never mentioned how much I love paisley, but there it is. Squee!

The goodies. The Vogue On the Go Felting, Gloves in a Bottle moisturizer, some Tehku Pacific Jade Green Tea, hand-tied into rosettes (what a beautiful luxury!), my beloved Tofutsies yarn in a great pink colorway, and the cutest honey spoon (more on that in a bit.) I can’t wait to get home from Chicago already, so I can make some tea and take photos, so my tea swap blog readers can share the incredible beauty of ornamental teas. Again, WHAT A TREAT!

As excited as I am about the tea, you have to see a close-up of the spoon. See the bend in the middle? That’s so the spoon can perch happily and ungooily (oh, how Blogger will hate that word!) on the edge of my cup or mug! It really is a very practical, pretty honey spoon, and interestingly enough, it coordinates nicely with my favorite teapot, but that’s a post for another day, and even another blog, honestly.

Thank you, Lia. That is a most impressive swap package. You went so far above and beyond, and can serve as a model spoiler! Sure, the package was a tad late, but she stayed in touch, and I had the very distinct impression that it would be worth the wait. (Was it ever!) What truly makes Lia a great swapper is her attention to detail. She obviously read not only my questionnaire, but my blog, and not only took a stab at producing packages I would love, but went out of her way to send things she *KNEW* would delight me. (By no means am I snubbing or overlooking my other spoilers. I have had some AWESOME pals, and have received wonderful swap boxes. It’s just as I co-host more swaps, I can’t resist taking the opportunity to point out what’s so perfect about a good swapper!)

Pardon me, but I must hit publish, eat the lunch my dear hubby picked up in town, when he picked up the wedding card I forgot, and see about these toes that need some paint!

Gone to the Dogs

Paula has created an institution. Fred and Mugsy are pretty excited about it. My evening was very full last night – worked all day, drove to DC and back home – so I missed my first opportunity, but humor me, okay? My boys knew I was worn out when I got home, and just smothered me with puppy love. They deserve their moment, even if it is belated!

So, some dog shots you haven’t seen before:

That’s Fred and Shadow II. Shadow is the second sable sheltie Mark’s grandfather has owned, and so, Pop used the same name. This picture was taken two years ago, but Fred doesn’t come to the shop with me much anymore, because Shadow *STILL* insists upson licking Fred *IN* the mouth. My patient old man just walks away and counts on me to make the brat stop. That’s why he’s my hooey hound!

This is Farmer Mugsy. (And “Dadaw” as the dogs call him, but he’s not a willing subject.) Yep. He likes to ride the tractor. He won’t approach a running vehicle of any sort, but if Mark cuts the tractor off and reaches down, Mugsy climbs the steps and up he goes! The black box is his collar for the invisible fence, and it comes off once Mugsy is safely in Mark’s lap. They’re both very content and happy, in case you can’t tell.
Fred likes to be photographed, but Mugsy isn’t always a willing subject. (Gets that from his father, I suppose.) I suspect you’ll also see the other dogs in our lives too, as the weeks go on. We’re all about dogs, kind of like Pedigree.

Check this out

Y’all know I love Carodan Farm. Their newsletter had a bit in there about a new project they’re doing, in conjunction with Socks for Soldiers. I thought some of you might be interested. I also want to stress that one needn’t knit socks to participate! There are other, non-sock options, including washcloths and beanies, but read the guidelines, because they’re very specific.

I remain in awe of the knitterly kind karma out there.

PS – Blogger? Knitterly *IS* too a word. So there! (I’d stomp my foot, but Blogger wouldn’t hear me.)