Buh-bye 2008

A year in review…

January saw the death of someone dear to me, but I also learned to crochet more than a chain.  My back hurt far more than I let on, but there was baby Sissy to keep the mood light, no matter what life threw my way.


February’s high point was Sissy’s first trip to the beach, and our retreat to recharge.  Little did we know that the hits were going to keep on coming. 


March was a good month.  Rosanne and I took our spinning class.  Lots of you began winking and smiling when I stated I wouldn’t be buying a wheel.  Blogging and the pursuit of a great Ravatar produced what is likely to go down in history as my favorite photo of me and the royal fur-kids.

April brought Michelle.   The River City Knitters retreat was also that month, and that was great fun, cementing my involvement in a great group of knitters.  We didn’t know it was Mugsy’s last trip to his beloved beach at the time.  I also gave drop spindles a chance, and threw them and my hands up in disgust.

May was unremarkable, which is to say I got a lot of knitting done. 

There were many lovely swap packages and much knitterly goodness recieved throughout the year.  That’s not to be overlooked, because truly my friends sustained me this year, through all the ups and downs.  Thank you.  Ever last comment helped, more than you know.  I should be ashamed to admit how much I enjoy presents, but there you go…

June was frankly, awful.  The Page failed to acknowledge Father’s Day, which seemed terrible at the time, but we didn’t know that was our last Sunday with Pop.  Again, the support from my blogging friends and those here locally, held us together.  We’re still grieving; as you know, that first year is filled with “first ___ without him” holidays and painful moments. 

July was the bearer of bad news – Auntie’s terminal diagnosis.  Still, my friends showered me with birthday packages and cards, and I discovered Namaste, and fell in bag love, even though that first bag didn’t stay at my house long at all.

August broke my heart.  I still can’t even stand to look back through the rest of the month to see what else happened.  Mugsy didn’t leave me until the 23rd, but so much of the month was spent caring – carrying – for him that I don’t remember much else, and everything else pales in comparison anyway.   Once more, y’all were there for us in our time of need.

September could represent the whole dang year.   We buried our friend the former fire chief and Auntie.  Chief Pissy and the Knight took over the reins at the firehouse.  My girlfirends kept me sane.  Anita drove up, and we journeyed to Knitters Day Out with Michelle and Amanda.   Gals, you’ll never know how much I needed that trip!   We also made our first trip to the beach without Mugsy, and realized how desperately Sissy needed a friend. 

October was the upswing.   After almost a whole month of just putting one foot in front of the other, we celebrated our anniversary and Sissy’s birthday by welcoming wee Gretchen into our lives.  A little bundle of happiness trumps all sorts of sadness.   Can’t imagine life without you, Gretchie Greer!

November was Stitches East and a “virtual” baby shower.  I missed a few birthdays and couldn’t get it together for Christmas preparations, but looking back at this year I’ve had, so what?!  There were enough small celebrations to keep on keeping on.

December brought more birthdays and more deaths, a birth and an engagement, reminding me that there is a life cycle and it goes on whether I’m ready or not.  But the big theme I see when I look back is not how wrought with loss our year was, but how blessed we are to have friends like you. 

Nichole and I came up with a concept that kinda’ sums it all up, because so many of my friends have had trying years too.   “You lean left, and I’ll lean right. ”  With friends, you don’t have to have a strong ONE.  Even if you’re both weak, you can still lean on each other and muddle through.

Any big plans for the evening?  We’ll be dining with the Chief and his wife, and some other friends, as has become our tradition.  That’s it; no fancy parties for us.  Tomorrow will be a quiet day at home, unless I venture to town for the big sales.  There will be a Dogs on Thursday post though! 

Wishing you a safe New Years Eve and a Happy 2009!

Sixth day of Christmas

I actually got gifts yesterday.  No photos, but the Knight had ordered a couple of accessories for my new camera – screen protectors and a set of magnifiers for the lens. 

Anyhoo, today’s the day to take the knitting blog back to knitting.  Novel concept, no? 

Meet Luxury Tudor Grace

Pattern:  Tudor Grace    Another Anne Hanson, aka: Knitspot pattern.  I have to say that aside from my friends, she’s my favorite designer.  Granted, it’s not easy lace knitting, and I don’t recommend her for a beginning lace knitter, because she rarely has a “resting” row, meaning that the “wrong side” required counting and a chart too; there’s no “WS – purl” or “WS – knit all rows” or anything of the sort.  Still, her patterns are well-written, so if you have your heart set on one, go for it!

You’ll note I didn’t block mine as strenuously as the sample.   Some of that was laziness, but Anita also pointed out that it’s a scarf, and by its very nature, it will get scrunched and crumpled.  It’s still plenty pretty, and the recipient was quite happy it wasn’t a long, bulky scarf.

Yarn:  Be still my heart.  Gretchen and I are in love with Creatively Dyed’s Luxury.    I can’t tell you which colorway this is, because I bought it at local sheep & wool festival, and the color tag didn’t make it home with me, but I can tell you I lurvers this yarn.  Gretchen does too, but she never chewed on anything more than the cast-on tail, thankfully.  It’s a cashmere blend, and you just need to get your own to stroke and snort.

Needles:  KA Bamboo straights, size US #3.  I used to like these needles a LOT, and they served this yarn well, but if you read my blog with any regularity, you know I’ve fallen for Bryspun’s rosewood straights now.  (Gretchen has learned they are NOT teething sticks, thanks much.) 

Verdict:  I’ve already cast on with the leftover yarn for Ms. Hanson’s Spiralucious, for me, me, ME!  It will likely cause flyaway hair, but who cares?!  I certainly wouldn’t mind doing another of the Tudor Grace scarves someday either.   It was a quick, fun knit.  I also wouldn’t mind owning all of her patterns.  I think I have about five, between cowls, scarves, socks and shawls.

The next post will be 2008 in review…

Days 2-5 of Christmas

Point of clarification:  I do realize Boxing Day’s origins are not Canadian.  However, my desk calendar here at work seems to be rather North-American-centric…

Christmas carries on at chez Haddon Wood.  Friday night, we had dinner with the Knight’s brother and his family.  (Finally!  They’re engaged and the step-niece-to-be has started calling all of us aunt, uncle, grands, etc.  The wedding’s a ways off yet, but it’s nice to know they’re making it official…)  Then, we went home and baked and baked.  Thankfully, my house elf returned from points north (I’m pretty sure he headed up to help Ann out; she was cranking Christmas out left and right, so I’m sure she had extra help, and my house elf was missing…) just in time to help with the big round of baking for Saturday’s feast at the farm.

Taken by the Knight

Taken by the Knight

Saturday, we loaded up with the fur-girls and headed out around 9:30 am.  (Note:  Lady Gretchie Greer requires a VERY empty stomach to travel.  Hem.  ‘Nuff said.)  Three unexpected stops later, we arrived at the farm, and a GREAT time was had by all.  We’d intended to leave the girls in the car with liberal walks, but my dear aunt would have none of that; her own dogs were ushered inside, and the fur-girls had the run of their lovely back porch and the fenced yard.  They were lavished with attention by all the relations, including my cousin from New Zealand. 

After Gretchen’s shy Mommy’s girl routine two weeks ago, we were pleasantly surprised at how well she did with the host of humans, ranging from four years to adult.    Gretchen even did well with the senior dog of the farm.  He’s a bit grumpy in his old age and doesn’t even like his folks to pet another dog while he’s in a lap or nearby, but Gretchen simply honored his grumps, while slipping under the chair where my aunt could still pet her without too much ado. 

taken by the Knight

taken by the Knight

Likewise, Sissy the wild woman played chase with the young human girls without incident.  There were no attempts to leap out of the fenced area, and the relatives thought it was cute when she bounded into the chair on the porch immediately behind where I was sitting at the table on the other side of the window.  The youngester did hold the door open too long and both fur-girls raced in, but they were polite enough to be allowed to stay while we opened gifts.

Then, we played fun game called Compatibility.  I won, but only because others “matched” me often, not because I picked matches well at all.  As soon as that ended, we headed over to visit Bec and her family.  Bec received the Tudor Grace scarf, and I promise to do an FO report soon.  Her dear young son had never found a dog he cared to pet, but Gretchen solved that problem.  She was a very good, calm girl, and before we left, he’d petted her three times.  Maybe she has a future as a therapy dog?

Then yesterday, we exchanged gifts with the Knight’s brother and his family just before we had a big ol’ family dinner with MJ’s extended family.  That completes our family holiday obligations.  We still have a few people to catch up with, but those are purely fun, if you know what I mean…

2008-1There are some really neat gifts I’d like to share, but whew!  Give me time.  However, Sue did create a lovely award which she bestowed upon me and several others.   Thank you Sue, and thanks to those of you who left comments saying how much you enjoy my blog.  It’s rather humbling to know that my ramblings are enjoyed by others.  I’ve met and made so many good friends through blogging, and it’s now as much a part of my life as breathing.

A-Boxing We Will Go

Happy Boxing Day!  My desk calendar says it is a Canadian  holiday, but I grew up celebrating it…  ??  

We opened our gifts from Nichole and her gang yesterday.  They spoiled us well, as always! 

That’s the group shot.  There were lots of goodies for all of us.  Sissy was so sure her Dadaw’s turtles were for her too, but chocolate is a big no-no for dogs, so no such luck!  While it was all wonderful and thoughtful, there were three VERY special items.

Those are cuff bracelets with Fred, Sissy and Mugsy.  They were made before Gretchen entered our lives.   How special! Thank you so VERY much, Nic.  Now I can take the gang with me when I’m feeling blue – er, pink or purple?



Then, there’s this adorable wall hanging.  The little bone on his neck is a magnet.  How cute is that?!






That’s the ornament Nic had made for us.   What I don’t think she knows it sthat the Knight and I adore gingerbread!  Thanks again, Nic and the rest of your gang!




Dearest Mr. Bettis and family

Thank you so much for your awesome Christmas package.  That’s the humans’ stuff, although we saw a ball (dog toy, right?), a smelly warm thing, and a half-crate pad for Gretchen, but Mom says they’re hers, not ours.

We did get our gifts, but we were too excited to allow Mom to get a photo of our goodies with everything else.  I REALLY liked the cube, and could tell you’d sent me a kiss on it.  I wouldn’t let Gretchen play with it at all; she’s just a baby, you know…  (Edited by Mom – Sissy’s loved this toy to pieces already.  She’s NEVER done that before, so I’m quite sure that she was so taken with Mr. Bettis’s kisses and smell…)

I let Gretchen have the “mink” baby.   I know it looks like I wasn’t about to share, but this photo was taken before the cube was presented.   The baby is bigger than Gretchen, but she’s a game little thing.

That’s Mom’s favorite photo.  Gretchie was more than a little excited about the baby, and could barely wait when I was checking it out. 

There was a little confusion over the foot warmer.  Dadaw thinks it is for him and can’t figure out how to fit his big feet in it.  Mom said he could borrow it for his toes if he’d take the swiffer sweater (red with paw prints) for a test wipe or ten, but so far, he hasn’t bothered.

This Christmas thing is pretty cool.  We got lots of pressies from all kinds of people, but Mom won’t let us have anymore right now.  (I told you last time she’s rude, and she has a mean streak too.)  I’m still waiting to try this snow stuff everyone keeps talking about.

Hope you had a good Christmas!

Sloppy kisses,

Sissy (and Gretchen too)

Merry Sis-mas

Sissy eyes her toy peppermint
Sissy eyes her toy peppermint

(And yes, that’s a stack of boxes and wrapping paper trash behind her head.) 

Sissy’s just not sure about that giant, not-crunchy peppermint toy.  Sissy, Gretchen and cousin Sam each got an Orbee of some sort for Christmas.  Gretchen was nuts about her pink ball, and Sam wouldn’t even let my sister remove the packaging before she dashed off with her bone, but Sissy isn’t as into her mint. 
We’ve had a very lovely Christmas, and tomorrow, we’ll provide more details, but now, we’re going to call it a night.  I have to work tomorrow.  The Knight is off the rest of the year, and if he wasn’t going grocery shopping tomorrow, I might be bitter.  (Check with me tomorrow, when I’m at work and he’s not.  Or better yet, next week…)
This photo’s for Anita.  We’ll be spinning in your room, behind closed doors next time you visit.  With Sissy’s fascination with bobbins, and Gretchen’s with roving, it’s the only safe way to spin.
The Orbee ball does seem to distract her from the roving she stole from “your” room at some point today while I was carrying presents out.  NOTHING is sacred in my home. 
Merry Christmas, and happy Dogs on Thursday, if anyone else is celebrating that…

Thank You Notes

In honor of WoW, Sissy and Gretchen take over.  I suppose this is also in memory of my dear Auntie, as she stressed the importance of a proper thank you note.  Some other stuff can be found below the note if you’re not entertained by pets corresponding via blogs.  (And if you’re not, spike your coffee or something, eh?)

photo by the Princesss lady in waiting

photo by the Princess's lady in waiting

Dear Most Lurverly Princess Jasmine,

We’re so glad you liked your toy.  We have to take your word for how fun it is, because Mom wouldn’t even let me (Sissy here), sniff it.  She was muttering rude things about cats (I take it that’s what you are?) not wanting dog drool on their toys?

We don’t know cats.  You look very pretty and princess-like, and Mommy has (rudely again, what’s with her?) suggested that I could learn a little about elegance and being a lady from you.  What’s elegance?  Is that something cats have?

We do lurvers our pressies VERY much.  Mom says to say she had trouble getting good photos, because we snatched our sheepies away before she got a shot.  (So much for that new photo maker being fast, huh?)  I knew the black sheep was mine right away.  (Mommy clapped when she saw that Auntie ‘Nita got me a black sheep – was she being rude again?)

Well, Mom wants to do this her way, so I’m gonna’ wish you a Merry Christmas from me and little Gretchie.  Write again soon.  We like taking over  talking to our friends on Mommy’s blog.

Licks and snuggles,

Sissy and Gretchen


Hem.  How does one take over when she’s already ruling the roost?  The fur-girls are in heaven, as I’m home today.  A perk of working for family is that my inlaws are old-fashioned enough to expect the Knight (and all the guys) to work today, while MJ & I are off to prepare for the Christmas Eve meal.  Before I head off to bake though, I want to thank Kathy (and Mr. Bettis) for their gifts, and as soon as I figure out how to download directly from the camera (on my first baking break?), I’ll share more.

That’s a shot of everything from the good princess – er, Anita.  The white sheep is Gretchen’s, despite the photo above.  Each girl really does prefer the sheep Anita sent her!  I’ll be slipping into that pretty red hoodie on Christmas Day, maybe after taking a nice soak with one of the homemade bath salt balls.  (The Knight thinks those are for him.)  The smelly jellies have already been put to use, and that book is next on my reading list.

Before I get lost in flour and butter, corn syrup and chocolate, I did want to share a little gift I sent myself from The Loopy Ewe.  The yarn is Scarlet Fleece Antique Watermelon, destined to be a Christmas knit for me next year.  The little ovals are the darling Namaste Buddy Case.  I ordered one in Saddle just because I wanted to see the color (I do like it!), and I couldn’t resist the PINK.

Now, to the kitchen!  I don’t even have a list of what I’m baking, aside from the corn pudding I ALWAYS do for the father inlaw’s family functions.

Happy Christmas Eve!

I Hate to Say Good-bye

Saturday, our family friend lost his battle with cancer.  I can’t imagine our community without “Big Ed.” 

Yesterday, Sue helped Monty across the rainbow bridge.  What a terrible time for such a loss. 


I’m sure Sue won’t mind that I stole that sweet photo of Monty to share with you.  Sue and her pack made Monty’s life as easy and comfortable as a dog’s can be, and I’m sure Monty treasured his forever home with such a compassionate, accomodating pack.  I’m just happy we got to “know” Monty and the rest of the crowd this year.  It should matter when a good dog leaves this world.

My sweet Cass is also dealing with the death of her mother inlaw. We’re sending good vibes and comforting thoughts your way, dear!

throwout21It seems almost disrespectful to also note that I’ve reached the 50 goal in the purging challenge.   However, if I don’t blog as I go, I’ll forget.  The challenge is met, but I’ve barely made a dent around the house, but I have made (yet another) start…

48 – 50.++   I parted with quite a few purses.  All are gently used and GoodWill-bound.  I only have two handbags that I truly go back to over and over, and here lately, I carry nothing but my Namaste knitting bags with a Vera Bradley something inside, to grab when I’m shopping. 

We also received a couple of packages yesterday, but I haven’t worked out the details on when to download my photos from the new camera, so I don’t have them yet.  Thanks Anita, and I’ll share photos soon!

I’m off tomorrow and Thursday, and not likely to work all of Friday, so I’ll blog when I can, but tune in soon for another letter from the fur-girls…

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Christmastime’s A Comin’

Santa’s grumpiest reindeer.  (The doggy gifts from Michelle.)  Gretchen was overwhelmed too, but it’s a darling concept, and you can bet your ham biscuits I’ll be attempting to get Christmas Card photos with them next year!  There were cute booties too, to keep Gretchie’s tootsies warm and dry, but she wouldn’t cooperate in the least.

Do the photos look crisper?  If so, there are two possible explanations.  Firstly, the Knight was behind the camera, and secondly, as he is wont to do, the Knight gave me my big gift yesterday.  It’s a new digital SLR camera, and he correctly figured that if he gave it to me early, I might have figured out how to use it by Christmas Eve.  He took about 35 photos with it yesterday, almost all of his fur-girls.  Boy, do they have him wrapped around Gretchen’s wee-est claw!

There were many packages received over the weekend.  It was a busy Saturday too.  We had a great lunch at It’s About Thyme with Rosanne and her SO, did a little shopping at The Frenchman’s Corner, and then had a delightful afternoon tea at their home, with their precious pups in their holiday attire.  Then, I got home just in time to feed the fur-girls and head out to my girls’ night.  THAT was awesome.  Good food, good friends, good wine…  Wish I could remember the name of the North Carolina wine I  enjoyed so very much.  Had the Hatteras Lighthouse on the label…

My custom ornament from Lynn’s Little Creations arrived on Friday.  I found Lynn when Natalie got her custom cake topper from her.  (Congrats, Gnat & Special K!  I’ve had a sneak-peek preview of the wedding photos, and I can assure you they’re off to a great start!)   

The Knight was even quite taken with it, so after the holidays, I’m going to order another ornament of two special angel dogs…    What you must understand is that on most computers, that photo is larger than life! 

Gaylen‘s package also arrived Friday.  Aren’t the stockings beautiful?  Gaylen spoils me; I admired the tissue case when she blogged it, so one found its way to Virginia for me!  Makes me feel twice as guilty that her birthmasiversary gifts will have to sit in Virginia for a while, but they will be waiting for her when she returns.  Aren’t those stockings incredible?!  G modestly says her machine did all the work, but since I can’t even turn on the sewing machine I own, I’m impressed. 

Last but not least, it seems that Jessi‘s package arrived here the same day our package arrived at her house.   There was something for everyone.   Because the girls wouldn’t give up their new toys and the Knight is a slow opener, there is no shot of the whole batch!

The girls love their toys.  They share well, so there really isn’t much point in pretending either toy belongs to a particular dog.  Do note the candy cane/peppermint stripes on both toys though, because I’m sure Jessi selected them for that reason, knowing the fur-girls lurvers some peppermint.

It’s an awful picture (taken by me, with my “old” camera) but you just had to see this cute “Christmas light” full of candy-coated sundflower seeds, my snack of choice.  I thought it would be cute to take it with Gretch, but she was startled by something in the process…

Likewise here is a leaves something to be desired shot of the stitch markers Jessi made me.   (In the future, all shots from home should be better, thanks to the camera that does all but turn itself on for me.  Only those taken at work are likely to be funky, because I’m not carrying the big camera with me!)  Aren’t they pretty though, despite my craptastick photo?

That’s the Knight’s ornament from Jessi.  Homerun, girlfriend.  He came to work telling everyone about it, and demanding that I share the photo for all to see.  (And hey, I took that one myself, with the new camera!)  Jessi, you’re in trouble if he makes one of these to hang on the front porch in life-sized proportions!  (There was more, but in the interest of time and space, I shared a few of the more unique items.)

Thanks to all!  We’re sure off to a tremendous start.  This evening, I’ll buy the last two gifts I need, bind off the last knitted gift, start wrapping and baking.

Phew.  I’m tired just thinking about it.

And good winter solstice and a very happy Hanukkah to my friends celebrating those holidays!

Dear Mr. Bettis #1

Dear Mr. Bettis –

Mommy read your letter to me.  While my humans’ friends are great about sending treats and including Gretchie and me on the cards they send, this is my first letter, all to me!  Gretchen enjoyed it too, but she just bounced around and raced here and there.  (Why is it when she does that, it’s cute, but when I must restort to running and jumping inside to burn off this energy, the humans seem to brace themselves and fuss?)

I’m very glad you like the treats and I hope you’re able to steal some soon.  Mommy instructed another friend to let her human kids open their gifts the moment they arrived.  I hope that woman doesn’t put the gifts away until Christmas after they’re opened…  Gretch and I get a broken bit of the same treats daily now, and they’re really good, so again, I hope you get some soon!

Oh, and your name and photo make you seem so dashing…   Mommy said perhaps I should urge you to be a gentleman and share with the little girl dogs in your home.  Me?  I don’t mind sharing.  Gretchen is so little that if she grabs hold to the other end of a toy, I can still walk around the house with her tugging and pulling like she’s really doing something.  My favorite version of sharing though is to simply help myself to what Gretchen has if it looks or sounds fun.

Gretchen doesn’t bark much.  She’s actually a cute little thing, and keeps me company when the humans aren’t around.   

Well, this is getting long, but no we don’t have that cold, white stuff around here.  I want some.  I like to eat it and snort it, and if we get enough, I bet Gretchen can make tunnels!

Oh – and I don’t know what the deal is about the special string Mommy calls yarn.  It smells, oh how it smells, but I must admit that I haven’t crunched her fancy sticks in a long, long time.  

Write again after you get some of those treats. 

I don’t know how to shake…


PS – I actually sleep in the humans’ bed, but Mommy does keep a pile of towels at the front door and she rubs us down and wipes our feet when it’s icky outside.

Last Friday…

… before Christmas.  Little reality check there for yours truly. 

A sweet package arrived from the North yesterday.  I wish I’d gotten photos of the dogs’ gifts, but instead, I’ll just tease you with a promise of photos of them wearing their goodies soon. 

Squee!  My own Lady February Sweater, and I didn’t even have to knit it!  (Bad hair day, but y’all are looking at the sweater, right?)  I love the color, the buttons, how soft it is…  Thank you, Michelle!

There’s a shot of the back.  I grabbed a phone call while MJ was taking photos, and she thought she was soooo clever to just snap one of the back while I was talking.  Isn’t it beautiful?  I’m glad I couldn’t find the 3/4 sleeved top I wanted to wear under it this morning; it’s toasty warm with the short sleeves.  Just right for this cold, nasty mist we have going on right now.

So, what’s up for this last weekend before Christmas for you?  My sister and I will head up to have lunch and do a little shopping with Rosanne tomorrow, and then I’m going to a girls’ dinner tomorrow night with another handful of friends, including one from out of town.  Sis is driving, so I’ll be dragging my last knitted by Christmas item along for some serious progress.  You’ll hopefully have an FO report early next week, and then I need to tackle that Special Olympics scarf, and then, something for me before I settle into some knitterly goodness projects.

What’s on your agenda?