New Traffic Pattern Ahead


It's not always about the dogs - just nearly so

A few of you know I’ve been pondering a blog name change for quite some time.  Thanks to some team brainstorming (gosh I really *DO* miss those group brainstorming sessions from my days with the City!), I have a new all-encompassing name and I’ve started fiddling with how to set it up.  (No, I won’t tell you just yet.)

However, I need your input.  I’m definitely (well, almost assuredly?) switching to my own domain name, but I’m also frustrated with WordPress and Blogger both; neither play particularly well with Flickr’s lack of a clear-cut URL option, and frankly, I’m too invested in Flickr to switch to Picasso (Blogger’s photo friend) or whatever it is that would make WordPress happiest.   (Upload directly from a computer?  Not a viable option for this woman who blogs from any of three computers, an iPad and potentially an iPhone and/or an iTouch!)


I'm more than a knitter...

Typepad’s entry-level pay for service option seems ideal for me.  It offers human hand-holding, up to four blogs (I count no more than 3 possible) but I’m worried about proprietary issues if/when I have the time and ability to switch to a real website with a blog connected to that.

I really do desire your feedback and advice, as I plan on taking action this very weekend.  It’s time to do this!!

So, what’s up for your weekend?

Nearer My Heart to Thee

Happy dogs on thursday, little friday and thankful thursday to you!  It’s been both a long week and yet it’s also passed me by a warp speed.  Can anyone else relate?  I’m rewarding myself with a  bangle, I do believe.   I think I’m going with that Joy charm and then will add a little dangly in Gretchen’s honor too.  Y’all are going to laugh, but I think I might go with the banana, because girlfriend (both dogs, really) LOVE nanners!  Of course, the frog could be cute too, because wee one would hunt them too if we’d let her.  (They’re poisonous, you know – seriously!)  I also like the oyster and pearl…

Oh yeah.  DOGS on Thursday.  Riiiight.  Sorry…  I digress…

But first, to lighten things up, pop over to the girls’ blog and see their silliness at my expense.

Isn't their beach logo awesome!?

Earlier this week, basically blogless Susan (why yes, that is a pathetic attempt to guilt her into blogging again, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t going to fall for that so I won’t even bother to link) introduced me to the Blind Dog Rescue Alliance.   We have been looking for YEARS for just the right rescue to REALLY support, and I think we’ve found it.  They have fabulous sponsor options, and it’s obviously a cause to which we relate. 

You see… (yes Alison, that pun’s for you!)  I learned this week that not all shelters are created equal, not even here in Virginia, which I feel is a reasonably pet-friendly (legally and otherwise) state.  I do realize there are needy shelters and rescues very near to me, and while we give a bit now and then, for reasons I can’t explain, they never captured our PASSION.  (Well… save one local friend’s pet charity passion…  I do look forward to the holiday open house pet food drive she hosts with her mom every year, but I’m digressing again.)

Anyhoo, I just had to share this special group/site with you.  Will you share your favorite charities (for pets, people or whatever else) with me too?

The thankful part is a little vague this week.  I’m thankful to live in an area known for its wealth – financial, charitable, knowledgeable and otherwise – but that also increases my sense of duty.  I grew up in a family where giving and serving the community was simply a way of life, and I married a Knight of a man who lives the same way.  It *IS* a blessing to have to juggle our schedules, but I’d bet money that we are the only combination of volunteer fire chief AND Junior League president-elect out there.

Are you thankful for things that are sometimes a burden too?


Down the rabbit hole…

Why yes, I did fall off the face of the earth, but we’ll get back to that another day, okay?  (And don’t anyone text me or call my cell; the sweet Knight hooked it up to the charger for me last night, and guess where it still is?!)

Among other things, I’ve been playing with small bags.  I’ve found I can’t wear them AS crossbodies, but luckily, most straps can be shortened so that they are more like wee shoulder bags.

I don’t have personal, in-use photos, but here’s a review of the most recent ones I’ve used.

July 2011 004Wallet on a string type, by Rosetti, a birthday gift from Ruth.   As I stated above, I used the adjustable strap feature to make it a very short strap, double-thick. 


Yellow IS a neutral.  Other than Ruth’s friend (Bonnie, maybe?) who assured her it was true when Ruth was shopping for me, who knew?!  But this bag never clashed with anything and made me a believer that this IS a style for me.

I didn’t think I liked organizer features, but I do.  I liked having a place for everything and everything in it. 

iPhone fit in that front pocket happily.

Sissy-friendly.  It’s a synthetic material, so drool on, wipe off. 


The window ID slot is also in that front pocket, so I still had to pull my ID out.  Not a fan of that and see the next item…

My Vera ID thingee was too bulky to be an effective solution.   Back in my college days, that Vera ID thing would have been the bomb.  Now, it’s just a bomb, although MJ uses hers as her coin/cash purse and just grabs that to make the lunch run.

July 2011 002Next up is a discontinued Vera handbag that Grace gave me for my birthday.  (Style name:  Oliva.  Other items in the fab Slate Blooms pattern can be found here.)


The colors.  Regulars know I’m a brown girl.  In fact, I still need a new dressy LBD – little BROWN dress – to update my new me sized wardrobe.  This is one Vera Pattern that never clashes, and since (this post aside) I am not a fan of changing bags to match my outfit, that’s important. 

Along the same lines, even though it’s fabric, the pattern is such that it’s Sissy-friendly enough.

Shape.  I LOVE the shorty handle.  Sweaty armpits be damned…  I like a bag tucked up tight.  I don’t like something I have to keep track of.  Despite going to college in DC and traveling enough that I’m not a total country bumpkin, I am not good about being really aware of my personal items in crowds, so best to just have things that already lend themselves to security.

The bows there where the stap attaches to the body of the bag.  I love bows!


Single pocket inside.  Up until that little yellow number above, I really thought all I wanted was a slip pocket for my cell and another for keys, but I was wrong.

Fabric.  Yeah, this particular pattern is more forgiving than a lot of Veras, but I still consider this a con, because I have worn Vera bags out, and despite the advertising, I’ve never had one wash well.

Dimensions.  It’s not big enough for any of my wallets.  It *IS* perfect for that ID set-up MJ uses and a very small knitting project though, so it will see plenty of use!

Next up is the Vera bag I bought myself with Vera’s birthday discount coupon.  Lizzy, in Twirly Birds Navy is another small crossbody with some organization going on. 


Navy is a great neutral, especially in the summer. 

The id window is IN the top flap on the front there.

It too has organizer features.


No coin/cash places.

Fabric – see above. 

Not Sissy-friendly, because the navy and white doesn’t break up that “pretty” sheen drool gets when it dries.  (Hem.  ‘Tis an ugly truth, but I try to be candid and real here.)

Too small for a wallet, but I was able to cram my currency in my Vera checkbook cover and I dropped my coins in the Vera ID thingee. 

Next up is the Coach Chelsea large wristlet.   Sorry for the lack of a photo, but evidently, Coach is quite proprietary about their stuff.  It’s going to be a GREAT evening option.  There are enough card slots that I hope to even remember to grab my insurance cards, which I never do now when I’m going stag.  It’s large enough for the iPhone and a VERY small cosmetic bag within, and the strap gives me shoulder options too.  It might even be a good travel option, dropped into a larger bag…

Last, but not least is the Tignanello Pebble Leather Wallet with removable strap.   I just switched over last night, but I think this is the clean-up hitter.   I got it in cognac.  I wish that hot red had been available, but as much orange and pink as I wear, this is more versitile. 


Pebble leather.  It doesn’t get more Sissy-friendly than that.  I’d own shoes, bags, belts – EVERYTHING – in pebble leather if I could.

That pocket?  The iPhone JUST fits in there, and being leather, even lined, it will stretch enough that soon I won’t be holding my jaw funny while I snap it closed.  (But it does STAY closed… BIG plus!)

One of the zippered center compartments opens “flat” so I have TWO ID windows that display perfectly.  (I slid my Junior League scan ID card in the other one.   The scanner reads over lamination, so that should work, right?)

There’s a place for everything, including a pen holder.


While the dimensions aren’t much different than the yellow version at the top of the post, this is a serious, pack the kitchen sink wallet.  Actually, that’s a pro AND a con… but I know me, and I will load that sucker up soon enough.

The strap.  It’s a bulky, nice-quality, rolled leather thing.  No adjusting.  Right now, it’s coiled up in a LARGE slip pocket in that darling fabric tote that is my summer BFF. 

A bit of silliness here, but after 6 years of french and two of Latin, I still have to ask you… how do you pronounce Tignanello?

Just Another Manic Monday

I’m totally feeling The Bangles today.  The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, we’re short a service crew today, etc. 

What made me think of that blast from my past?  Well, bangles… of course!

Those fab BonBon Rose Girls are having a giveaway.  I’m not sure I can wait to see if I win; I think I need one NOW, and then I need to ask Alex and Ani to design a “charm” for me… but that part’s a secret.

I’m a bracelet fanatic.  I have … more charm bracelets than I care to admit, in every “format” I’ve ever seen for charm bracelets, in multiple metals.  However, while I’ve always admired bangles (and cuffs, but this post isn’t about them), me and my tiny wrists can’t wear ’em.  While I have a fairly large frame, for some reason, I have wee wrists and “youth” hands.  This I know, because when I was trying to pretend I was a golfer, I had to wear medium or medium-large youth gloves.  This adjustable design makes me swoon. 

Anyhoo, don’t blame me when you order a collection of your own.  Just tell me what charms you get, gold or silver (or some of each?)…

My weekend was good.   More good food and better company, but at places I’ve already raved about.  The Knight and all but four students survived the CRAZY Saturday night training fire with all the heat, so what’s not to love?

How was your weekend?

Virtual Shopping

One of the beauties of virtual – online – shopping is I find it harder to make impulse purchases.  By the time I have to click to order, click to check out, confirm or add my address, payment, etc., I lose interest sometimes.  I thought I’d share some of the things I’m having trouble resisting today.

The Road Dogs have a great feature they call artsy fartsy friday, and while I’ve yet to purchase anything, I nearly do just about every single week.  Today’s post sent me to ArtsyDog and seriously?!  This pillow NEEDS to be on my sofa.  Seriously.  I’ve added coral/orange as our accent color in our brown/tan/denim living room…

Y’all saw my dress lust earlier this week, but I really can’t let this Lilly P frock go.  Can’t I wear it three seasons, spring through early fall, huh, huh?  Now, as is, and in the spring and fall with cardies, shawls, etc.?  (If you can’t see, there’s a cute little ruffle on the front too.  The link above will take you to a nice, big picture you can zoom in on and everything.)

And these shoes…  I don’t really like “slides” but these actually are thongs.  Yeah, I have a coral problem this season… what of it?!  (Anyone own Tignanello shoes?  See, I’m sometimes a 6.5, sometimes a 7, and I never know with a new to me brand…)

Last, but HARDLY least is Penn.  


Mugsy and HIS ball

No, seriously… that’s NOT a photo of Mugsy.  It’s a darling little about one year old Jack Russell boy who needs a home ASAP.  He’s deaf, can’t be in a home with young children, and a few of you already know he’s been tugging at my heart since I learned of him.   He is TRULY a special needs dog, but if YOU need him, just click over and make it happen.  (And let me know so I can be jealous and relieved.)  I feel he should be with us, but so far, the Knight won’t do more than glance at the photo.  (I try to converse about him daily.  I have Penn’s page open on whatever computer I’m on, at home or work…)

I want to go to Christiansburg this weekend, but I’m not about to bring home another dog without the Knight’s blessing.  What’s on your agenda?

Walk-walk Strike?

Happy dogs on thursday, little friday and thankful thursday!


That ’bout says it all.  It’s too hot to do much of anything outside.  Never mind that the photo was taken Sunday, before the intense heat REALLY settled in.  The Queen (aka: DIVA or Sissy) was actually having a full-blown tantrum-pout in the middle of our little country road, because a favorite neighbor I don’t get to talk to very often stopped to chat.  Hem.  DO note both pairs of legs are crossed.  Maybe Gretchen’s decorum lessons are paying off?  (Doubtful, but…)


Wee One isn’t any happier.  She doesn’t mind the heat much and is positively in a snit because walks were canceled yesterday (and don’t tell her, but they’re not looking good for today or tomorrow!).  At least she looks good while she’s pouting, thanks to a new banadana from blogless Mary.  You can see more cute fur-girlness on their blog.

November 2010 003

Even THIS gear is too hot for today!

Thankful?  I’m thankful for air conditioning.  I’m worried about my brother and sister firefighters; I hope the old rule of not suiting up for calls unless you’re first in is still holding true these days, in this heat.  I’m also worried about the Knight and all the others working out in the heat and sun…  As a local weather person says, “Check on the elderly, young and pets.” 

And girls, we’ll walk just as soon as it’s safe.  I promise.  I miss our walks too!

Lost art of customer service

(Note: photos included are not necessarily the items I was shopping for… just things that caught my eye this morning…)

Current dress-crush

I’ve been trying not to write this post, but it won’t go away.  Saturday, I had back to back, horrible retail experiences.  I won’t name the stores because I do frequent them, but one of them routinely leaves me steaming and I’ll vow not to shop there again until… I get drawn back in by one of the lines they carry.

I know I’m not alone in my impression; at least one of my friends simply won’t shop there anymore, because the sales staff just can’t be bothered to speak, and heaven forbid you ask for help… it really seems to make them grumpy. 

The other store caught me completely off-guard, because I’ve never had less than fabulous service there, but neither the owner nor the manager was in sight, and the young staff was chatting away.  I didn’t see the one item I’d gone in after, but my big loop through the store didn’t attract a “May I help you?” so I left.  Shame on them, because usually when I walk in, even if I can’t find precisely what I wanted, I don’t leave empty-handed.

Petite gal-friendly maxi?

Now, no one likes to be stalked by over-bearing sales staff, but a welcome greeting and an offer to help then or after I’ve obviously searched for something I can’t find is greatly appreciated. 

For the record?  I bought what I was looking for in store #1 online, and most likely will do the same with #2.  I’m all about supporting local small businesses, but golly, they have to do their part too.  No, there are no other stores in podunk that carry the items in question, just to set the record straight.

I have this silly notion that with the lagging economy, retailers should be on their best behavior, particularly in little boutiques.  Obviously, I’m not talking big box stores here, but heck, even WallyWorld has a greeter…

It doesn’t help any that at the grocery store nearest the woods, there is a man who is more than a bit fond of fire trucks and the Chief, so I’m greeted by name and handed a cart if he’s working.   Yes, I do like doing business with people I know; that’s part of why I came back to podunk instead of staying in Northern VA or DC, where the shopping is better and the restaurants stay open past 9pm.  (My biggest complaints about podunk, as the regular readers know…) 

Oh – and for the record?  I have NEVER had bad service in ANY of our local pet stores, independent or big box.  

So, talk to me about your customer service expectations and realities…

Food, Glorious Food…

We’ve had some seriously good eats of late.  I have no photos, but last week, we finally visited Brixx.   Their house salad is INCREDIBLE, especially in the little (unadvertised) “side” portion.  I’ve informed the Knight that when he’s working in the area, I require one.  Just bring it… no need to call and ask.  Their pizza was also outstanding, and their tiramisu was fine-dining quality, even in the take-home box, several hours (and in three portions over the next few nights) later.


See the bacon on top???

Saturday night, I went back to the BBQ Exchange with some friends from out of town.  They were good sports and tried the bacon brownie with me.  It was worth the experience – I mean, how many of you have had a bacon brownie?! – but it couldn’t eclipse the pumpkin muffin or the cornbread as my “don’t leave Gordonsville without it” item.  In case you’re wondering, you don’t taste the bacon per se.  It’s almost like a stale bit of nut…  you taste the salt (and who doesn’t love salt and sweet?!) and there’s a not-quite-crunchy chew for the bit of bacon, and that’s it.

Sunday night, we took advantage of restaurant week and hit (the original) Bavarian Chef with still more friends.  They had a blueberry soup on the prix fix menu, but they didn’t disappoint…   I didn’t want any of the entrees or desserts on the special menu, but I got the soup anyway.

Barbara's photo, but the presentation was similar... with drizzled cream

I wish I had photos.  It wasn’t a really creamy-based, chilled soup.  It was just pureed blueberries, something with a slow burn (we’re thinking white pepper and lots of it?) and some thinning agent, but I really don’t think it was the heavy cream Barbara’s recipe sports.  (Karen!  Look at Barbara’s photo… the soup was … bluer than that, wasn’t it?  Could it just have had more white wine and less cream, or not a heavy cream?)

The rest of the meal consisted of our group’s favorites, minus a chicken entree that won’t be ordered again.  Fabulous food and even better company in all three instances, although each place had a very different atmosphere and menu.

What makes a great meal for you?

Natural Balance

Sorry.  Really reaching for a post title this morning.  Don’t know why, but neither MJ nor I can seem to shake that morning fog!

July 2011 002Nichole sent a fabulous birthday box, and within was a cute bandana for Sis.  Ironically, it’s for the brand – but not the same formula – both girls are eating now.  I really like that color on the fur-girls, and they really like the food.  Gretchen has been on it for ages, but Sis just started the switch 10 days ago.  So far, so good but we won’t know for sure for maybe another 3 months or so.

Funny story…  Friday, while the girls were at work with me, a customer remarked that Sissy must like him because she kept winking at him.  I couldn’t decide if that was his gentle way of noting her missing eye or if he really thought she just winked non-stop.  She looks rather “zen” here, doesn’t she?

July 2011 009The ‘dana was FAR too big for Gretchen, but that didn’t stop her from sporting it as a halter dress.  Yes, funny wee one has a thing for the leaf blower.  See, she has a lizard problem.  She’d rather chase lizards that eat, I do believe, and a little newt likes to hide under the leaf blower, so…

July 2011 001

I’m very fond of the tote Nichole sent me.  I love gingham, and the colors are just perfect for summer.  Inside there are three slip pockets on one side… one large in the center and two smaller ones flanking it.  It’s just the right size to drop my small crossbody within and still carry the girls’ medicine bag (a small cosmetic bag), my sunglasses and a few other little things.  You can find the “maker” at Seacostbaby on Etsy or facebook.  Sissy wasted no time wiping her slimy mouth on it, and a damp paper towel made it all better immediately, so we have a winner for the summer tote!

Thanks, Nic!!  I love it!

We had a very full weekend and I have a couple of food reports to share, but it’s taken me all morning (and then some) to get this done, so that will have to wait. 

How was your weekend?

Wrapped up in the Outer Banks

Look!   Another finished object report!  I actually finished this about a month ago, but evidently, it takes me a while to block and get more photos.

July 2011 006

Blocked... loooong and lean

Outer Banks Aragante

Pattern:  Aragante, my first short-row, side to side shawl.  I can honestly say I’d knit this one again.  It was a pleasant, quick knit, and I’m delighted with the results.  Is it a scarf or a shawlette?  Dunno, but I like it.



Yarn:  Pout.  No, the yarn’s not called Pout, but that’s what I do every time I think about Springvalley aka: Alabama Fiber Dreams not really existing anymore.  Jessi has a great eye for color and really chose good bases for her yarns.  She dyed this Outer Banks light fingering with me – and our vacation spot – in mind, and I couldn’t love it more.

Needles:  US #7 Addi Clicks circs.  I love my Addi Clicks.  I have found some sizes have smoother joins than others, but…

July 2011 007

Lace edge

Verdict:  I’ll get a lot of use out of this one.  It’s long enough to be a scarf, definitely hugs my shoulders without need of a shawl pin, and did I mention the colors are fabulous?

How ’bout that weekend?  I’m looking forward to some time with a friend or two, and I’m trying to figure out how to get to see the last Harry Potter movie.  The Knight probably won’t want to go, and honestly, I do enjoy watching them with Gretchen, who definitely is at least part Crup and really is cute with all the head tilting, attentive watching/listening!