‘Tis the Season

Thanks to everyone who entered the contest.  There will be some warmer shelter pets because of Gaylen‘s challenge (I haven’t made mine yet either, so it’s all good), and if you need great gift ideas, read the comments!  Sue is the winner, and I’ll get her prize in the mail soon.  (Maybe even this week, maybe…)

I’m in one of my moods where EVERYTHING moves me to anger or tears.  The holiday issue of Knit Simple has an article on the Special Olympics Scarf Project that choked me up today.  There are only two requirements that I can find –

  1. You must use the prescribed Red Heart colors, as they PERFECTLY match the logo for the Special Olympics.
  2. The scarves must be received by January 15, 2009.

For more information, visit HERE.  Of course, good ol’ Ravelry has its own group for the cause, HERE.  Likewise, this means my Pay It Forward gals will be waiting that much longer, because I want to do at least one scarf, maybe more.  You see, there was one VERY special woman in my life more than 20 years ago, and I owe her that much.  I haven’t seen her brother in over 20 years either, but she’s the one I think about.  Is she still alive?  Was she ever able to live independently?  Does she understand that just because her brother and I grew up and went our separate ways, to different colleges, I didn’t forget her?   Would she remember me? 

I can’t even show you photos or talk up my FOs, because… well… it’s that time of year.  Secret knitting abounds.  I can show you where Gretchen likes to sleep while I knit, if it’s a warm, sunny morning.  Otherwise, she’s in my lap.  She’s claimed the window behind the sofa as her own spot.  She and Sis were playing hard yesterday morning while I cooked, and next thing I knew, the noise stopped.  If you have kids or puppies, you know that’s a cause for concern, so I raced into the great room to find Sissy pouting amid their toys, as Gretchen had simply abandoned her and put herself to bed in her sunny spot.

I also don’t have photos of the dog ROLLS I made last night.  You see, they began life as the yeast rolls MJ requested for our meal yesterday.  They were rising happily atop the stove, waiting for time to hop in the oven, last thing before we packed up to head for the family dinner.  They’d doubled, but I wanted tripled.  I was doing something in the great room when I heard a strange noise.  Then, Sissy trotted by with something in her mouth.

“Leave it!” twice, a little more sharply the second time.  I was sick when I saw the raw, naked dough, but I scolded her and took the ick back to the kitchen to save for Sissy’s Dadaw to see just what she’d done.  Stupid human.  A few minutes later, from another room, I heard more noises, and another rolltobe was removed from my Sissymonster’s mouth.  Because there was evidence of some shopping before the second roll was lifted, I could only be thankful that the Knight had insisted he was going to pick up some “back up” rolls while he was in town, just in case. 

Sissy lifted a third roll after dinner, before I got the poor suckers – even the ones we’d removed from her jaws – into the oven.  I figured there was no point in wasting my efforts completely, so I baked them for a very long time at 325 degrees.  I set them out to cool, and was more than a little shocked when the Knight came in with four, split and stuffed with peanut butter.  The real shock came when he put them in HIS mouth!  Crazy man.  I guess he figures Sissy has licked him in the face enough it doesn’t matter?

See my ribs?  I was hungry!

See my ribs? I was hungry!

Now, for a little knitting while the dogs slumber, if Gretchen doesn’t mind…

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Friday Flash

News flash, that is.

Just a couple of things to share, late Friday here on the East Coast.  Please pop over and wish Cathy and her guys well.  They were in a hit and run accident last night.  Her teenage son was quite the hero and got her out, but her guy friend is still in the hospital.  There’s no good time to have a wreck, but I can tell you first-hand that this time of the year SUCKS.  Car shopping isn’t fun when you have to do it before the rental has to be turned in, but I’m glad that no one was more seriously injured than they were.  Heal well Cat and guys!  And the rest of you, stay safe, please?

This is also your last chance to enter the contest.  Gretchen is also 13 weeks old today, and will be four months old tomorrow.  More things to celebrate!  I’ll announce a winner the next time I post.

Does this count as a weekend post?  I’m at home and posting…

National Dog ShowLastly, Sissy has taken SERIOUS issue with the announcer’s comment yesterday on how athletic Noodles looked.  (Photo is linked, and not a great shot of chunky, purdy Noodles.)  Sure, sure, compared to any overweight, under-exercised basset, Noodles has some muscle definition, if you use your imagination, but if you compare her to my fine-boned filly, there’s nothing jockette-ish about Noodles.  The Knight actually got grumpy when I tried to soothe Sissy by noting that she doesn’t meet the AKC breed standard, but we think she’s the most beautiful basset girl in the world.  (Apologies to the other basset females and their owners.)  Our vet is sure Sissy is built for a longer, healthier life than the average basset because of her lean build and longer legs, and we’re counting on it. 

As I type, Sissy is running the Basset 500, with wee Gretchen rather literally nipping at her heels.  For those of you wondering, that’s Sissy WIDE OPEN, in the house, ripping and racing wherever her legs will take her.  (Sorry.  Had to stop to grab my box of business cards from her.  Evidently, she wanted to make tonight’s event a relay, and my cards were going to be the baton.) 

A TRUE basset athlete at work

A TRUE basset athlete at work

Tack Hammers Fred, our Beauty Boy

Tack Hammer's Fred, our Beauty Boy

See the difference?  So, those of you with hounds with good confirmation (like our Fred, nephew of a former model), don’t leave a message pointing out Sissy’s flaws.  Believe me, we know, but she knows she’s beautiful and we’re inclined to agree.  Bassets – save Sissy – are built for endurance, not speed.  They’re built to bulldoze through a thicket without emerging as a bloody mess.  Noodles could probably pull that off better than Sissy could, and if that makes Mr. Announcer think Noodles is an athlete, so be it.  Sissy could take Noodles in a dash or a long run, and I’m positive Sissy’s vertical leap would leave Noodles with whiplash.

My point?  I don’t think I really have one, except that the announcer said a rather silly thing.  All dogs are beautiful, and that’s that.

Scattergories and More

Monica tagged me for this one.  As usual, I’m not tagging anyone, but do let me know if you play along.

Take up the challenge! Erase my answers, enter yours, and tag a few people. Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following. They have to be real places, names, things.. nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question & you can use the same answer twice.

WHAT IS YOUR NAME: Channon

BOY NAME: Charlie

4 LETTER WORD: Chew

GIRL NAME: Cheryl

OCCUPATION: Choir director

A COLOUR: coral

SOMETHING YOU WEAR: clothes

BEVERAGE : coffee

FOOD : chocolate

SOMETHING FOUND IN A BATHROOM: Charmin

A PLACE : Charlotte

REASON FOR BEING LATE: car wouldn’t start

SOMETHING YOU SHOUT: Come here!

*********************************************

So, how was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was simply delightful.  We stayed home, the Knight and the fur-girls napped, I knitted, and everyone was happy.  There was a HOUSE marathon on, so what more could you ask for? 

No, you can’t see my knitting.  Most of it was a VERY special project for the holidays.  I’m rather pleased with myself, so not sharing it a bit of a hardship for me too.  I did grind away on my guild‘s KAL stole, so I’m feeling pretty confident that I’ll have it done in time for the holiday party.

throwout21Oh!  I also owe a purge report.   Since I’ve admitted I’m a packrat, I’ll be counting in groups, bags, boxes, etc., at least until about Dec. 30th when I realize I need to pick up the pace to make it to 50!

  1. One crock’s worth of kitchen utensils
  2. One bag of books for the used book store
  3. One box of random things that I haven’t used in the past year for GoodWill
  4. One bag of old jars from the refrigerator
  5. One bag of out of date baking supplies from the cabinet
  6. Bag of trash from the Knight’s corner in the living room
  7. Bag of torn and well-used dog toys
  8. Bag of junk mail never opened
  9. Bag of wrapping paper scraps I saved to use but Sissy chewed on and/or the Knight set other things down on top of them
Yes, but Sissy only wore it in the house

Yes, but Sissy only wore it in the house

Now, in my defense, most of these bags were those plastic grocery bags, or a brown paper bag, thanks much.  I also found Mugsy’s devil costume, so that and the fur-girls’ costumes from this year have been packed away.

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t found the Palm.  I’m pretty sure we’d have noticed Sissy toting it around, so I’m betting it’s in a safe place.  (That means so safe I’ll never find it again.)

What does your weekend hold?  I think we’re going to try a new steak place near us tonight, and then tomorrow’s the fam-damily dinner.  I’m making corn pudding, cranberry sauce, yeast rolls and as a surprise (MJ doesn’t know how to find my blog), a strawberry cake.  I’ll be up baking tomorrow morning.  I think that’s about it, other than more knitting, purging and enjoying the dogs.

And you?

Dog Savers

That’s what you are.  You’re not just blog readers, but you’re dog savers.

You see, when I saw that last night, dangling from Gretchen’s mouth, with the scarf on the other end (remarkably unharmed, I might add), once I snatched it away and restrained myself from beating her with the rosewood stick, I realized that y’all would commiserate.  Some of you (Anita?) will think it’s funny that my dogs are so brazenly destructive, but most of you (Kathy?) have been there and seen worse, and you’ll know that you love the little beasties even as they eat your favorite needles.

Lest you think Gretchen acted alone, this is the other needle.  Sissy so innocently strolled up to me with it dangling from her lips like a candy cigarette.  At least that one is still very functional, and upon further examination this morning, I think the Knight and some super-fine sandpaper can fix the other one.  The needle will be shorter than its mate, but ten years from now when my girls are slowing down and haven’t harmed anything but their own toys in YEARS, it will make me smile, right?
Oh!  And Happy Thanksgiving.  We’re watching the Macy’s Parade, when Gretchen isn’t exploiting her new skill – asking out.  She spins like a top at the front door, with Sissy racing to her side and making noise to assure that I realize Gretchen wants out.  That’s cute, but both dogs have figured out that I’ll drop EVERYTHING when Gretch asks out, so we go out every few minutes, just because “we” can.
And happy Dogs on Thursday.  My girls believe every Thursday should be celebrated with their humans at home, catering to their every whim.  If you’re just stopping in for the DoT post, scroll down for another doggy post just below, and this one might make more sense.
Visions of chewy knitting needles danced in their heads...

Visions of chewy knitting needles danced in their heads...

They are good when they’re asleep, although I’ve come to suspect they merely rest to dream up the next adventure.
In the itchy, scratchy, rashy Gretchen saga, I did find both Zyrtec and Claratin in a children’s liquid, which means I can manage the tiny dose for a wee puppy.  I bought the Zyrtec, because like a good commercial-watcher, I recalled that it works on indoor AND outdoor allergies.  Since we don’t know what sets Gretchen off, that’s a good plan, right?  However, Zyrtec makes me feel so funky I’d rather suffer, so I’m hoping that it won’t have a similar impact on Gretchen.  How on earth would she tell me that the medicine makes her feel weird? 
Tomorrow, I’ll share a decluttering report.  I had a great evening last night, and will likely continue today. 
I hope your Thanksgiving is just the sort of day you enjoy most.  For me, just chilling at home and skipping turkey, having an extra day with my sweet, bad girls, and having the Knight to myself for 24 hours is a great way to celebrate!

Testing?

photo by Anita

I think Sissy wants a job as a quality control inspector for Lupine.  (Here’s she’s practicing inspecting tree bark.)

Those two VERY short, frayed pieces used to meet in the middle to form the chest strap on Gretchen’s harness.  I’ve already started the process to make good on the guarantee, which does include chewing, thank goodness!

That’s Gretchen attacking Shadow’s bunny yesterday.  It’s also the last shot of the harness before its untimely demise.  They don’t guarantee that I’ll get the same pattern in return, and this one was recently discontinued, so I think I’m going to order one more, just in case. 

Gretchen went to the vet yesterday for her 3rd round of shots.  It was kind of a mixed bag, as visits go.  Our vet proclaimed Gretchen nearly the most perfect Jack Russell Terrier ever, excepting her allergies.  Sigh.  No wonder Gretchen’s head is so big!  (You can’t tell in the photos, but there’s no way a collar that fits her slender neck can pass over her melon of a head.)

Some of you are aware of Gretchen’s struggle with pyiderma, also know as “puppy rash.”  Well, it’s so much more than that.  The girl has contact dermatitis.  The vet is suspecting either grass, as the rash came on almost immediately upon Gretchen’s arrival at our house (we’re not sure she’d ever been in grass at the breeder’s), or a fiber, most likely nylon or something similar.  If it is grass, she should continue to clear up as the stuff dies for the winter.  If it’s an indoor allergen, the struggle will continue.

So, for now, she gets regular baths and sprays with Mugsy’s leftover Relief.  I also get to spend some time today figuring out which over the counter antihistamine comes in a liquid, so that I can get the tiny dose my little 5.5 pound girl needs.  Her dosage is so small that I’ve yet to find a tablet I could split into even quarters and be close.  ARGH.

But, she’s cute, sweet, and all around-delightful, so it’s worth the trouble to make her comfortable and happy.  I’m just glad she landed with us, dog lovers with plenty of experience with JRT skin issues, and the patience and funds to try to find the right drugs for her.  (Good thing she isn’t diabetic and doesn’t have a nut allergy.  MJ thought it was cute to let Gretchen serve herself from her candied popcorn and nut bucket.)

Again, I’m left wondering how to help others keep their pets and provide food, medicine and veterinary care in these tough times.  I hate that some are forced to surrender pets they can no longer afford, or to give up a pet because foreclosure means no home for the pet too.  Do any of you know of a program in place to help, or do you have a great idea?

Don’t forget my contest either.  The ideas aren’t just for the Knight, but for any of us looking for spare-the-bank gifts.

I’ll post tomorrow, as we’re having a very quiet, we hate turkey non-traditional meal together at home tomorrow, just the Knight, the girl-pups and me, but I realize many of you in the States will be deep in your own Thanksgiving celebrations and you might not be checking blogs.  So, happy Thanksgiving, happy early Dogs on Thursday, and happy not even little Friday yet!

Scattered and Confused

In a past life, I was known for being organized and on top of things.  Birthday cards/gifts were mailed so they arrived on or before the special day.  I was always at least 10 minutes early EVERYWHERE I went, and I sure as heck never completely forgot an appointment.

When the Knight became Asst. Chief Knight, we got matching PalmPilots.  (Well, nearly matching; mine got mega memory so I could store a knitting pattern or two within – seriously.  He thought of that.)  He loaded his up with his regular run of meetings and obligations, and I don’t even know where mine is.  I remember playing a game on it when it arrived…  We were going to sync them nightly, so that there was a master calendar on the home desktop, and so that we each knew what the other was doing, even when someone forgot to mention a meeting.

Well, last month I argued with my doctor’s office manager about the time of my appointment.  She said I was 15 minutes late, and I assured her I was not.  I felt smaller than ant dung when I returned to the office and realized that my appointment was 10-15, 10AM, not 10:15, period.  Then yesterday, I argued with my vet’s receptionist about Gretchen’s appointment.  Wednesday, 5PM.  I was sure of it.  I’ve ridden it around in my car for a month now.  Wrong.  Today is the 25th, so away we go.

Now, I also must mention that these sweet gals know me, moreso than the average office staff might.  The doc’s office manager went to school with the Knight, and we’ve made fun of him  shared funny stories about him regularly.  The vet’s receptionist’s mom was my babysitter, and her uncle lives on our road.  The Knight even lived with said uncle briefly during their overlapping post-divorce, pre-finding the loves of their lives phase.  So, it’s not like I’m a shrew…  They laugh at me, know they’re right, and I’m stuck sitting here blabbing about it you, wondering when I lost it.

So, how ’bout those FO reports?

First, the quickie, the Presto Baby Hat

Pattern:  Presto Baby Hat, from the 20 Hats Project.  (follow the link above)  This was a super-easy, super-quick hat.  They said its unique design (like a collapsible top hat) would provide lots of growing room, and Katiebell told me yesterday that 3 yr. old Boybell was able to wear it, although his ears weren’t covered.  (And I made the newborn size, shown here on a pop-up dispenser of doggy ear wipes.) 

Yarn:  Bernat Softee Chunky, in the fun circus colorway.  I think I have enough for one more small baby hat.  It’s soft acrylic, and it’s a happy colorway.

Needles:  My bamboo #8 circs.  A little short to Magic Loop, but I made ’em work.

Now, the Uh-ohs require a bit of a story, so stick with me.

Pattern:  Uh-ohs   Great pattern.  Fun knit.  It’s not the pattern’s fault I didn’t realize ALL of my sock yarn is/was superwash.  There are plenty of cute, felted version on Ravelry, and one of these days, I’ll make another set that can be felted, and I’ll really feel the love for this pattern.

Yarn:  Two of my favorite sock yarns, both gifted away (so hence, the reason I didn’t know they were superwash?).  The pale Uh-oh is Claudia Handpaints Blue Ridge Blue, done just for SoXperience.  The green is another Virginia dyer, Blue Ridge Farms Jubilee, in a colorway I can’t recall.  (And if I had the @#$% ball band, wouldn’t I have known it was superwash?)

Needles:  Sadly, I used the #4 circs, thinking I was gonna’ felt these babies.  And believe me, I tried, despite the rather gently given advice from MANY wise fiber friends, telling me that superwash doesn’t shrink.  It’s true, it’s really true. 

See this photo?  If you have a small monitor, click on the photo and/or go look on my Flickr page, at the original.  For once, I’m not trying to divert your attention from the dog hair in the photo.  I want you to see that nearly every flippin’ stitch has a dog hair poking out.

Here.  You need an even closer look at what was supposed to be the ears/feet on the toy.  Please note the ODD number of pieces.  There should have been another light blue “foot” but that didn’t surface until the NEXT morning.  (Use your imagination.  It wasn’t brown, but I did use a paper towel to pick it up.  I think the culprit’s tummy finally rejected the wool wad, thankfully!)

So, my first set of Uh-ohs were too large because they didn’t felt, AND they only had ears because Gretchen just couldn’t resist ’em.  (I don’t think Gretchen could have swallowed the piece whole, so Sissy isn’t blameless, it would seem.) 

Because I do love y’all, I did indeed snap photos of Gretchen in her new sweater.  (She isn’t scratching or breaking out as much, so is it possible there was something in Abby’s sweaters [laundered since Abby had worn them] that irritated her?)  I’m pretty sure they’re getting their stories straight here…

And just because she was cooperative, another shot of the Uh-oh attacker.  (Why did the furball “red eye” fixer work so well on the right, but the left, not so much?)  She seems to like her “sleeves”, Robin!  First chance I get to knit her a sweater, it’s going to have legs. 

 

Poor MJ.  She didn’t realize DMV had changed the renewal policy on licenses, so hers expired on the 11th.  Now, she has to go home and find either her birth certificate or her passport, and then brave the lines again.  She’s livid, and is going back in the morning instead.  However, she was good enough to fetch each of us a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Twist.

May I go back to bed?

(not Sissy on the bed, but whatever)

(not Sissy on the bed, but whatever)

I need a do-over this morning.  I slept like a rock until 4:30.  It’s a bad thing when the puppy can sleep through the night and her human can’t.  Like Fred before her, Sissy is my nurse.  If she even THINKS something’s off, she is very focused on me, even if the bright lights from the bathroom hurt her eyes.  Sweet girl…

I’m quite certain that if I could go home, have about a two-hour nap and then reapproach the day, it wouldn’t be a bad one.  As it is, the jury’s out, but it’s not looking good.  So far, even peppermint tea isn’t making the world a better place. 

So, how ’bout a couple of Finished Object reports?  (Never mind.  Ravelry is down, and without Ravelry, I have no FO info.)

Instead, how ’bout I sing the praises of downtown Culpeper?  In case you don’t know the wee spot on the map, there used to be nothing but downtown.  Then came the strip malls to the north, and now, there’s a whole fancy-schmancy bypass to the south too.  In order to appreciate my enthusiasm for this tiny shopping spot, you have to know our history.  By a very cruel twist of fate, both of my divorced parents AND my best friend’s family moved to Culpeper County while we were in college.  Imagine being used to being 30 minutes from the edge of Northern Virginia proper and its shopping meccas, and coming home from your first attempts at adulthood to find yourselves in cow pastures with nothing but run-down movie theaters and smoke-filled “diners.”  Yay.  Every college girl’s dream, no?  To say that I hated the little town would be an understatement. 

With that vision – and bitterness – in mind, look over the photos HERE.  Culpeper has always been plenty connected to its roots, but now, there’s a darling main street community to make it a real destination.

rcdlogo_smallI’ve already mentioned It’s About Thyme.  Another place I never fail to visit is Reigning Cats and Dogs.  I’m even more excited about it, because the owner is going to start collecting outgrown Lupine collars and such for the local shelters.  Of course, if one needs an incentive to donate, she’ll be offering a percentage off your new Lupine purchase too.  We talked at length Saturday about how tragic it is that many of the new arrivals at animal shelters are due to the fact that the elderly and others on fixed income cannot afford to feed their pets in these hard times.  The shop owner is going to talk to her local food bank and see if they’ll accept pet food donations too, and I’m thinking I might call our food bank as well.  If any of you have a better idea, speak up!  She also bagged my purchases in a great, re-usable tote, which I heartily appreciate.

Another favorite is the website-less The Cameleer.  Too bad, because it’s a fun store filled with novelty items from around the world.  Same is true of Pepperberries, which is my Vera Bradley vendor of record.  (Yes, yes, a couple of stores in Charlottesville carry Vera too, but I like the friendly folks at Pepperberries.)  They also carry Pandora beads, and I should be ashamed to confess that I purchased a couple of beads on Saturday, but I’m not.  (A flipflop and another doggy… I only have three doggies, so I need yet another, different one I suppose.)

There’s lots more to see and do – coffee, more restaurants, more shopping – but you can follow the links above.  If any of you do head for Culpeper, let me know…