Leapin’ Ladies

March 2011 005I like to celebrate silliness.  Levity is a good thing.  Of course, living with two leaping, spinning, jumping, turning dogs makes me a little more aware of Leap Day than usual…  or maybe it’s the media?

Sissy is a nut.  Maybe if you’re new here, you don’t realize that bassets aren’t lazy, slow or … dumb, but Sissy is still the antedote for every basset stereotype.  She’s not even particularly stubborn.  Headstrong, yes… but they are a little different!

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Sissy isn’t the only leaper, not by far.  Gretchen’s just smaller and quicker, so it’s harder to capture her antics!

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Do you do anything fun or silly for Leap Day?

Hang on to …

photo.JPG… baby hats!

Can you believe it?!  I actually have THREE finished object reports for you.  I’ll do two of them together in this post, and the third… soon.  But first, if you want to hear about the fur-girls’ annual check-ups and Sissy’s latest eye pressure check, it’s up on their blog.  I can’t say enough how blessed we are to have two fabulous veterinary practices caring for our dogs.

First up is the Flame On baby hat.  OMG.  Why didn’t anyone – other than Kathy and Kathy – tell me how fabulous colorwork/stranded knitting is?!  I’ve done bits before, but this is the first finished object, and I’m over the moon now that it’s blocked.  I should have taken a before photo, but just envision a little, lumpy, frumpy bowl…

Anyway, it seems that I just had to vent about my blocking block.  Thanks for listening and understanding!


Project: Baby Hat 1-12.  I know, name inspired by all the yarn companies I gripe about, but I have so many friends having babies from now ’til … oh, about 7 months from now, and I have a feeling several of these patterns will be done more than once.

Pattern:  Flame On.  AWESOME pattern.  No changes, other than to splice in more orange on the top because I ran out of green.

photo.JPGYarns:  Yes, plural.  The orange is a Gypsyknits fingering weight of unknown fibers (wool, but otherwise, dunno), because it was part of the snarky “Chan hates orange” birthday gifts Kathy and Anita gave me a couple of years ago.  It was held double.

The green was leftover from a project of yore, from what is now Sunflower Yarns.  Both are just yummy, fabulous bases with great colors. 

Needles:  DPNs, size 7.  Actually, the very first DPNs I ever purchased… metal whatever brand from a major craft store.

Verdict:  Can’t wait to do another.  And if you’re a stranded noobie…  block it before you panic.  Like lace, stranded knitting NEEDS at least a light block to relax those floats and to allow everything to mesh.

photo.JPGProject #2 – Baby Hat 2-12.  Actually, both of these will probably go to Baby #1 of 2012, due any day now.  This hat is more large preemie to newborn sized, and is fairly thick.  Flame On is nice and thin, and after blocking, probably fits 3-9 mos. or so, making it a good choice for late spring… I hope.

Pattern:  Fetching Inspired Hat.  I made a fair amount of modifications to this pattern.  I cast on 45 stitches on smaller needles, and added the minty (clover – love yarns that name their colors!) green when I realized I was running out of the neutral.

Yarns:  Patons Shetland Chunky in Aran (as in… those fab Irish fishermen sweaters?! get it?) and Patons Beehive Baby Chunky in Quicker Clover.  I like the Beehive about 700 times more than the Shetland, especially for a baby noggin.

Needles:  Those same beloved #7 DPNs.  If I had it to do over again – and I will, but without the Aran color – I’d use #8s or #9s.  The hat is rather dense and doesn’t have much give.  I’ll advise the new parents that a nice bath and drying it over a large glass or vase will make it a bit bigger, when needed.

Verdict:  Not a bad pattern, and very easily modified to fit virtually any head.  Thanks Ruth, for putting this one on my radar!

What’s your favorite baby knit?  I’m positive that before the late summer babies arrive, I’m going to get tired of hats.  I also have at least four super-dear friends who “need” more than just a hat for their bambinos, but since at least one of them reads my blog fairly often… well, let’s just say there’s more than one reason I’m number baby projects!  😉

Blocking Block


Fur-girls at work so they can have their annual check-ups this afternoon

Instead of writer’s block, I have a blocking block.  I have two items that need to be blocked already, and I just can’t seem to get myself motivated to block.  That means I have two “finished objects” that aren’t TRULY done, that cannot be used/gifted… even admitting that doesn’t motivate me.

I don’t like to iron either.  I don’t like seams (in knitting), so it seems I have a problem with finishing.  Hmmm…

How was your weekend?  Did you have any stumbling blocks in your way?

Thankful Thorsday

Happy Thorsday, little friday and Thankful Thursday to you.  Today’s post – and yesterday’s, for that matter – is brought to you by Louise.  Luckily she put Dog Biscuit Day on her calendar and emailed her scatterbrained friend last night, so Gretchen was able to cover the special day on the girls’ blog.  Thank you, Louise!!  I’m so thankful for my friends, especially those who pander to my silly doggy bloggy stuff.

Life is in another of those rather hectic spirals, so I’ll leave you to pop over and read about Gg’s favorite dog biscuit of the moment.  (Sissy’s favorite is whatever is in her mouth, I’m sure.)   I’ll also share this photo of the girls from our walk on Saturday.  Um, girls?  Gretchen is allergic to grass and Sissy… you must at least have hayfever…


Irony defined


One FO hint...

Remember when this was a knitting blog?  Me neither.  Hem.  I do have two sweet projects that I WILL block tonight and share soon, but in the meantime, my warped sense of humor is delighting in Ash Wednesday falling on Margarita Day, or vice versa.

To continue the irony, the drinkers among you will find it entertaining that the gal who only sips white wine loves a GOOD ‘rita on the rocks.  John Anderson’s Straight Tequila Night was an instant favorite the moment I heard it, even if the only parts that are true for me are the bits about sipping white wine most of the time and the generalization that she’s also a tequila girl.  I stopped doing shots of tequila long ago, but there’s still a place in my heart for a top-shelf margarita on the rocks, easy on the salt, extra lime.


Not *MY* bare feet... I actually don't even go barefoot on the beach that much!

Does anyone else’s mind get carried away with the word association game, set to music?  Joe Nichols’  Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off is dancing through my head now, although that one’s not too true for me either.  Heck, I rarely kick out of my shoes unless I’m at home, the airport or the beach.  I love being barefoot, but I’m also a little uptight about what else might have been where I need to walk.  (No, you don’t really want to be in the TSA line with me.  Only a few girlfriends of old, the ones on my last trip to Chicago, have seen what happens when I don’t feel safe putting  my little piggies on the floor at Dulles…  I love them all for their buttoned lips.)

Back to the first dose of irony…  Anyone else like Miranda Lambert’s Heart Like Mine

Between yesterday’s beads and today’s booze, I feel I’m having some sort of flashback to my early 20s, which inspires me to channel Larry the Cable Guy and say, “Lord, I apologize…”  There are plenty of others I should apologize to as well…

What are you still apologizing for today?

Shrove vs. Fat


New Orleans airport decor 2011

You know I try not to talk much about politics or religion because they’re polarizing, but…  I am who I am and I try not to apologize for it.  I promise this post is really more philosophical and/or cultural than religious!!

That being said, I grew up with one foot in the Methodist Church, my seat in an Episcopal Church, and then the other foot led all of me to the Catholic Church when I was old enough to make such a decision.   So all of that’s to say, I grew up doing Shrove Tuesday… only we just called it Pancake Supper, and it was generally hosted by the Youth Group.  I thought it was a fundraiser and didn’t realize it had historical/cultural/whatever implications until I was a ‘tween and THAT church began having a Seder Supper.

It wasn’t until … just a few years ago, when I made friends with some New Orleans natives (who happen to be Catholic), that I began to understand that Mardi Gras is much more than the hoopla on Bourbon Street.  The short version of this lesson is that Mardi Gras ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday.  There’s also a bit of a French class in there too – because it’s a very loose translation of Fat Tuesday. 

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The girls sporting the beads 2011

Anyway, in case you missed it or forgot, I kinda’ fell in love with the bits of NoLa I got to see last year, so I’m wearing kelly green and royal purple, and my officially imported from the Big Easy beads.  (And no matter what the Knight tells you, I did NOT lift my shirt to get them.  They were part of the welcome package from our host League.  I promise.) 

Anyway, I adore the sharp contrast between the practice of Shrove Tuesday and its pancakes – using up the sugar, butter, eggs, white flour in the pantry before Lent – and Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras and its rather hedonistic celebrations, also in the name of using up the fats that aren’t to be eaten for 40 days…

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Sissy's Mardi Gras mask

Either way, they both remind me that tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  When I was younger, I gave up something – sugar, chocolate, sodas – for Lent.   The past few years, I’ve focused more on the spiritual reflective part of the season.  This year, my former firefighter potty mouth is back almost full strength, so I’m giving up bad language.   I think I’m going to have a little jar or something and put a dollar in it every time I slip up, and then I’ll donate what I hope is a paltry sum somewhere…

(I’d never noticed that Sis is sticking her tongue out.  Funny girl.  She’s DEFINITELY more Fat Tuesday in the French Quarter while Gretchen is more of a Shrove kinda’ girl…)

Big Buddha?


photo from an eBay listing

Okay, so I tend to NOT be a trendsetter…  Saturday, I stumbled across a bright red Big Budda Kim.   I’d heard of Big Budda, but all I knew was that they did “vegan leather” bags.   Since I didn’t know anything else about the company or their products, I left the bag, and began regretting that decision before I got home.

I’ve lusted after a red, patent leather satchel since I notice a Louis Vuitton bag on a plane over a year ago.  I need a larger bag once in a while, but I am still quite happy with my green Tig for daily use, and I’m not about to spend a few mortgage payments on a handbag, even if my nephew’s great-granddaughter could inherit it one day.

Ariel, from the BB site

Anyway, while I’m sitting here nursing my failed to buy it remorse, do you know Big Buddha?   I’m enamoured with a few of their current styles/colors… 

One of the reasons I love “vegan leather” or pleather or vinyl or PVC or… not real leather is because I love a big bag but my back can no longer suffer the vainglory heft of a leather tote. 

It goes without saying that I like the idea of a bag that doesn’t need to be coddled.  I pushed the Knight’s buttons yesterday when during the snowstorm, I tossed my precious green Tig bag onto the console in the chiefmobile, hitting the switch and turning on the siren in the grocery store parking lot.   Hem.  One might suggest that given our lifestyle, I shouldn’t carry a bag that can’t sit in the floorboard with salt, grease, mud, etc.

How was your weekend?  Did anyone/thing push your buttons?


Alison’s post and an intense walk in the woods with my huntresses had my mind racing.  On our walk-hike, I was pondering what my fur-girls’ totems might be.  After a funny group name from Thursday night’s leadership training, I’ve taken to calling Sissy “Honey Badger” because unless you’ve been under a rock you’ve heard recently that honey badger just don’t care.   Indeed, Sis is fearless and has no known predators.  Hem.  While I think Sis is much sweeter and softer, that’s the whole point of a strong totem, right?

From Barbie Collector

Gretchen is a little trickier.  She needs a super-strong totem, and definitely something deep within her sustained her during her 19 hours of being separated from us, including a stormy night in the woods (so we have to assume), but I can’t see her embracing a Mama Grizzly or anything of the sort.  No, Gg and I decided her totem is a bobcat, after I insisted that the new Princess Catherine Barbie could NOT be a totem.  Hem.  She is almost cat-like in some of her mannerisms, and the diminutive wild feline is no weakling.   It is also a local species, although that’s true for virtually all of North America.  I’m quite sure Sis doesn’t care that her totem isn’t American, not because she isn’t patriotic, but because…  Honey badger and Sissy just don’t care.

Because Gretchen kept reminding me she’s a full-blooded Crup so she doesn’t need a totem, my mind also went to things Harry Potter.   While I love my pink OBX ballcap, it’s no Sorting Hat.  Still, it doesn’t take magic to realize that while Sis is smart, loyal and sometimes pretty darned cunning, her dominant trait is bravery, so Gryffindor she is.  This time, Gretchen was even easier.  I briefly considered Ravenclaw for her, but her loyalty is what defines her, and Jack Russells as a breed are known for their sense of justice, so Hufflepuff she is, without a doubt.   Ironically, Hufflepuff’s animal symbol is a badger, but don’t tell Gretchen.  Ravenclaw’s is an eagle, and Gg hates birds of prey, since a massive hawk used to do fly-overs every single morning when she was a wee baby.

But back to the title of this post.  While I was having some silly fun, I also stopped to reflect upon the women I admire.  There are historical figures to be sure…  Gretchen also asked if Margaret Thatcher could be her totem and THAT gave me pause, but the trees said no, totems are animal, not human.  However, these days, my s-heroes are the women around me blazing trails and making the world a better place.  I have a friend who is a professor in the Engineering department, and another whom retired a couple of years ago from building one local non-profit into a super-star and just a few weeks ago became the new executive director of yet another.  They lead by example, and that – above all things – speaks to me right now.

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Gretchen and our own sorting hat? 10-10

That’s not to say that I don’t have a serious collection of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quotes, or that I’d turn down a chance to have tea with Madeleine Albright or Condoleezza Rice.  I could go on all day linking to powerful women in business, art, science, etc. but I really want to know who your s-heroes are and even what House you think you’d be in at Hogwarts.  Me?  I go back and forth between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, but I could make an argument for most any of the houses… yes, even Slytherin, because I favor traditionalism, resourcefulness and evidently, I have plenty of leadership qualities…  If I had to choose today, Slytherin just might win because I’m gearing up for St. Paddy’s Day and feelin’ green!


Photo from 6pm.com

I’m trying REALLY hard to make very mindful purchases when it comes to my wardrobe, which includes footwear.   Unfortunately, sometimes there’s a great deal and I compromise.  I’m still not sure if that’s the case with MIA’s Bridgeport

Yes, the zippers run up the “outside” side of each boot, but that’s really the only thing I don’t totally love about these boots.  They fit like custom-made, and that aged, natural leather is dreamy.    I can’t seem to will it to be cold enough to wear my brown and cream sweater dress with them though.  Sigh.

I’m also thinking they want denim.  I have a chambray dress (well, two… but don’t tell the Knight, and I mean the not Lilly P one) that also wants these boots.  I should have worn that today, because the long-sleeved tee and cardi, jeans and flats I have on aren’t working; upper body is warm, hips to mid-calf are comfy, and feet are chilly.  Hrmph.

How do you bridge the seasons?  It’s still technically winter here – and might be literally so, since they’re calling for snow this weekend – but my eyes want spring.  They want me to wear coral, that cream of the boots, bright navy, any greens…

I have absolutely no plans this weekend and am looking forward to finding my knitting mojo and maybe starting some baby knitting.  There’s a little boy due very soon, and I know his parents would appreciate a little hat or socks, or … whatever Mojo and I can manage.

Monkey vines

Happy Thorsday, little friday, Thankful Thursday and almost long weekend for some of you in the USA.  Not that I’m jealous or anything… because I sure am.


I finally got a very special thank you up on the girls’ blog.   Despite the other animal title, my post does kinda’ have something to do with the dogs, because it is Thorsday after all!

Growing up, I loved to find monkey vines in the woods, especially those shaped like a school-yard swing.   I can’t tell you want a relief it was that searching Wikipedia turned up a link to said vines, because I was sure it was some silly nonsense my mother had made up and it would take me hours of research to find a name the rest of you might know…


That’s a great cluster of monkey vines.  All of the photos in this post were taken on our walk Sunday.  We’re blessed to have awesome neighbors who maintain a maze of paths back through the woods, up the little mountain, beside the river, and up back through the fields too.   Sunday, it was bitter cold and very windy, but for some reason, it seemed like a good day to let Sissy dictate our route, and we ended up fording a little stream. 


Both girls got their feet wet.  I tried to stop Gg and pick her up, but my sometimes fearful girl will follow her big sister through the gates of hell.  Here, she’s playing Vanna and showing  you the glorious steps built into the banks on each side of the little stream.  I was able to leap across, but the girls just waded on through…


I love my long walks with the girls, and I can’t thank my neighbors enough for allowing us to use their trails. 


Do you have good neighbors?