Anyone familiar with Spartina?   A friend discovered the line, which a local retailer has carried for a while, but I confess I’ve walked right past them to the Vera Bradley selection…

(Not my pattern, but pretty!)

Turns out the Spartina Cellphone Wallet is just what the doctor ordered.  It holds my iPhone well enough in the front pocket, and there is just the right space inside for the essential cards, cash, etc.  There’s even room for one lip something and my car keys. 


The wrist strap is detachable, but I find it highly useful.  The whole thing happily drops into my tote-style handbag, but I find myself grabbing just this little wallet more often than not for quick errands and dinner out with the Knight.

And how did it get to be the end of August already?!  Gah!  So many deadlines…



Reba McIntire’s “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” has been running through my head since I got the news yesterday afternoon.   Our hearts broke when we learned that the biggest, gentleman-dog of our doggy bloggy world crossed the bridge. 

Photo borrowed from Thor's mom's blog

We never got to meet Thor, but we met some of his people last year, and we loved him as though he really was the dog next door.  Please pop over and wish his grieving family well.   

We’ll miss you, Thor, so much so that we’re going to call Thursdays Thorsday indefinitely. 

And yes, we did still have cupcakes for Gretchen’s birthday, and there were presents, but everything was rather subdued and there were no pictures.

DSC01972In happier news, there’s a still a spot in OBX waiting for us.  My relations confirmed yesterday that the damage is minimal, so much so they’re staying there and regret leaving their own dogs at home.  Our hearts go out to those not so fortunate, up and down the east coast. 

At home, Gretchen was NOT amused that Dadaw bought a new back door on her birthday, but that too is a story for another day…

Birthday Baby


Sissy says, "What IS it?!"

Three years ago today, Lady Gretchen Greer the Crup was born.  We had to wait 8 more weeks for her to become a part of our lives, but her birthday is a huge deal!

Hope you enjoy the look back, because we’ll be celebrating tonight, so there aren’t any new photos to share just yet. 

Oh – and we survived Irene just fine, allowing me to scoot out yesterday for birthday party supplies…


Gretchen - and Sissy's tail - at her first birthday party

Tune in tomorrow for an actual post-birthday post. 

How was your weekend?

Crossing Paws and Fingers


Looking out at OBX

I apologize for being rather self-absorbed this week.  Irene has now shifted a bit and basically the eye will cross over our part of OBX now.  Gulp.  Nothing we can do about it but wait and see.

Here, we’re currently not expecting anything worth really mentioning.  I’ll still buy another bag of dog food tonight and fill up our water jugs tomorrow morning. 

I’m also a little heartsick about the potential for derailing the plans to have 1000 feet of One World Trade Center in place by 9-11-11.   In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t as important as the health and safety of everyone else in the northeast in Irene’s path, but still…  The Knight made me watch all of The Rising to date last night, and it ended with the exceptionally emotional setting of Ladder 3’s remains in the museum. 

Oh well.  Lots of knitting time ahead.  What’s on your agenda for the weekend?

For the Love of Dogs


Happy girls on their OBX beach, spring 2010

Happy dogs on thursday, little friday, thankful thursday and National Dog Day eve!   Sissy has been on a roll this week, so don’t miss her two recent posts.  Who knows when the DIVA herself will post twice in one week!?  No wonder we’re having all kinds of natural disasters over here.

It does look as though Irene isn’t going to be a huge issue in the Woods, but we’re still worried about the Outer Banks, and we’re still having significant aftershocks.  Thanks too for all the kind words and reassurance; while even Gretchen is getting used to the rumbles, I do hope they’ll stop completely soon.

Anyway, tomorrow is National Dog Day.  The founders seemed to intend that we focus on rescues, but in the Woods, we’re going to celebrate the wonderfulness of dogs in general.  I happen to think we celebrate the fur-girls just about every single day, so I don’t know that we’ll deviate from the routine tomorrow.   There will be liberal treating, a long walk as the weather allows, snuggles and/or playing in the evening as they each desire, and more cuddling as we sleep. 

Will you be doing anything special to celebrate?

Thankful?  I’m very thankful that we had no damage from the earthquake.  I suspect a lot of you are actually seeing the same footage I am of some of the more serious damage here in Central Virginia and beyond.  Compared to the damage – both personal and community-wide – my Kiwi relations had with their quakes, we are sincerely fortunate.   I am also blessed to have very compassionate, supportive friends!

Now, to see what Irene is going to do…

What are you thankful for today?

Creature Comforts

We’re fine.  The dogs are fine.  The house is fine.  Some stuff rattled into the floor and Gretchen is still very sensitive to the aftershocks, but there’s no structural damage, nothing of any real value was broken, and now I can focus on getting ready for Irene. 

photoThe post title goes with this photo, which I snapped when Gretchen dropped (Sissy’s) mousey – a beloved gift from Auntie ‘Nita – off to get a sip of water.   Crazy dog.  Mugsy used to intentionally drop tennis balls in his water bowl when he was hot, as though the ball must also want to cool down.  This is one of those times I’d like to know what was running through her little head…

I’d like to particularly thank my west coast friends and Kiwi relations who haven’t made fun of those of us more than a little rattled by our ‘quake.  Some have implied our 5.8 – 6.0 (they keep changing it, not that it matters) shaker was no big deal at all and we need to buck up and get on with it.  Fine.  I’ll remember that when they’re so danged excited about their centimeter of snow…

There has been some serious structural damage.  A home or two was damaged, perhaps to the point of ruin, and a couple of national treasures – the Washington Monument and the Episcopal National Cathedral – sustained some very real damages.  Likewise, more than one school in Louisa County is being inspected by engineers, and several require at least minor repairs.

March 2011 004

Gg's personal portable disaster kit

Please be gentle with us.  This continues to be a big deal as we’re still getting aftershocks in the 3s and 4s.  Stuff is still rattling on and off of walls and counters, and maybe that’s no big deal in your world, but here, it’s unsettling, especially for wee Gretchen Greer.

For those of you not earthquake savvy, here are a few interesting things we’ve learned in the past 20 hours or so:

  1. If you’re in a moving vehicle, even a near 6.0 quake doesn’t register with your system.
  2. Evidently, a 3-4+ aftershock can be dampened so that only the audible parts of a quake are evident when you’re on an elliptical machine humming along at 160 steps per minute.
  3. Dogs are early earthquake warning systems.  Several of us were altered before one or more of our tremors by a dog.
  4. Shallow fault lines create really intense, widely-felt quakes.
  5. 100 year old brick buildings don’t like to shake.
  6. Pampered Chef’s Executive series griddle can “surf” to the floor from a draining board without so much as a scratch.
  7. It’s fascinating to see what stayed put – a pedestal mounted large, flat screen TV – and what didn’t – that griddle.
  8. Earthquake drills in Virginia schools aren’t as trite as they seemed before yesterday.
  9. When the cell towers are taxed, I can still RECEIVE tweets, but not texts or calls.   Nothing happens out-going.
  10. I’m glad a local newscaster is a new friend.  I joked when I grabbed my phone immediately after the first shaker, that she’d let me know what was going on.  She did, even though she wasn’t technically on the clock… but soon was.

Now, about Irene…

Edited to add:  Sissy wanted to mark the anniversary of another significant August 23rd…

All a’quiver

Just a quick note to assure everyone we’re okay.  We are very near the epicenter for that mid-Atlantic ‘quake.  I do realize 6.0 isn’t much for my Cali-friends, but it was quite an experience for us. 

It’ll be another hour before I can confirm the fur-girls are just fine, but there’s so little damage that I have no reason to rush home.  Until further notice, no news is good news.



Ubiquitous Sissy

No, that isn’t the project name, but I’m sure Sissy would like to think she’s ubiquitous… and she’s almost always a cooperative model.  Granted, she was sight-hunting (no, I’m not at all sure she realizes she’s a SCENT hound) at the time, but nevertheless, she stood still for the photo shoot.

August 2011 005

Project:  Solidarity Knitting  Why yes, I guess that is a crazy name, but I cast on for this project because several of us on Facebook rather pressured Kathy into knitting a “Kate Shawl” for the bride to be in her house.  So, it seemed only fair that at least a couple of us cast on… as a show of solidarity. 

photoPattern:  Well, since Kathy’s daughter made her request precious close to her bridal shower, Kathy got to choose the pattern.  We went with Ubiquitous Kate.   (Get it?  Kate shawl knock-offs have been everywhere this summer.)  It was fine for a free pattern, which is to say I had to email gMarie for clarification.  If you’re on Ravelry, gMarie’s notes are spot-on, and I copied them into my own comments there as well.

To be clear, I used Chart A, which is to say I did the pattern on the knit side and then purled on my resting rows.  I also did the full ruffle, not to be confused with the extreme ruffle.  That just means I did the ruffle all the way around, as written.

Yarn:  Knitpicks Gloss in Guava.  I wanted pink… not necessarily PANK, not coral, not… guava.  Still, I like the color, and the yarn was okay.  It was a bit splitty at times and the silk in it definitely wasn’t the silky-smooth kind of silk, but considering what it cost me, I have no complaints.  I also had almost no yarn left after six skeins.

August 2011 002

Needles:  I did the body on my Addi Clicks, #4 tips with the longest cable in the standard pack.  I then used two Knitpicks Options #4s to pick up each side’s stitches for the ruffles.  I don’t understand why my KPO wood tips had one side that just wouldn’t stay tightened.  I like the KPO interchangeables just fine, but sometimes you get what you pay for; they do seem to have a quality control problem (and in full disclosure, Knitpicks is AWESOME about sending replacements, even out of warranty… which to me implies they know they have a problem but it’s cheaper to send parts than to FIX it).

Verdict:  It wasn’t as painful as I feared it would be.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done a 1300 yd. project, and I’m not sure I’ve ever done one that size in fingering yarn.  I never once considered poking my eyes out instead of finishing the ruffle, so I never had to regret doing the full ruffle, but no, I don’t think I’ll knit this precise one again.

Take my words for it

You’re going to have to make do with word pictures today.  Flickit isn’t working since its last update, so photos aren’t coming off the iPhone right now… not that I took any.

Let’s see… this was a productive weekend!  I finished one shawl and cast on for another, and I went to Dog House Yarns & More for some yarn and friend time.  There were also lots of walks and nice dinners with the Knight. 

Photo borrowed from Cascade

I’m in love with Cascade’s Ultra Pima cotton.  The colors are rich, the yarn is soft, and thus far, I’m having none of the problems with my hands/fingers I often have with cotton.   I can’t wait to finish my shawl and wear it.

So.  How was your weekend?  Did you do anything fun and/or exciting?


If I had enough energy, I’d do the Snoopy happy dance.    It’s been a long, LONG week, and the end is in sight.  The meeting I had on the agenda for tomorrow morning has been postponed, and I have a whole weekend with NO PLANS.

I’m going to finish that shawl in progress, walk the dogs early, long and often, but otherwise, I’m just going to cool my jets and breathe in and out.

… and make the changes to the bylaws and policies we approved last night so we can keep working on those still in question.   And scan the entire history section of the old JLC “yearbook” we don’t print anymore, so we can still have it digitally.   But I am proud of our JLC history – I’m a bit of a history nut anyway – so that’s not really a terrible task.

What’s on your weekend agenda?