Unexpected Treasure

Fall 2007ish?

Fall 2007ish?

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful Thursday!

The Knight got lost in his photos on Christmas afternoon.  He found one that made me laugh and cry.  That’s Mugsy, on the operator’s platform on a fire truck.   That little guy was fearless, and at least for the last few years of his life, Mugsy followed the Knight whenever and wherever he was allowed to do so.

I’m pretty sure not many dogs have operated a quint.  (Ladder truck + pumper/engine/wagon – whatever you call them in your neck of the woods)   I now work for the company that was demo-ing said apparatus, as an aside.  Those truly in the know might have already realized that isn’t one of our fire trucks, because it’s not hunter green.

Anyway, happy Boxing Day too.  Back when I was a paid firefighter, there were several years we celebrated Christmas on the 26th.  I hope you have time today to say hello to a friend, neighbor or relation you didn’t catch up with yesterday.  And if not, there’s always the weekend.  I’m never in a hurry to stop celebrating.  In my family, there’s a lot of emphasis on shared meals, and I have three more in the next four days.

For those looking for the fur-girls, they’re resting up.  They didn’t go to any of the dinners with us, but they did make sure I burned off the calories from said meals with several extra miles, and Sissy even insisted on running today.  Smart girl.  I think our daytime high was something like 27 degrees, so there was no reason to doddle in the woods.

Why yes, they had presents too.  Like most girls, they got clothes, toys and some special treats.  Sissy even got a Basset Hound calendar from Shadow (Pop’s dog, now living with my inlaws).   They also partook of some macaroni and cheese last night, and had strawberries with their dinner tonight.  Do your pets celebrate with you?




Fred, me, Mugsy circa 1997

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful Thursday and more.  October is packed full of remembrances and occasions here in the woods.  There are birthdays, death days, anniversaries, and a Gotcha’ day.  I’m not even going to try to list them all, but this is the month when many of our nearest and dearests celebrate or reflect upon something.  The girls are thinking ahead and are all ready for hunting season to begin.

Pardon the picture of the picture.  That’s a proof from my bridal portrait sitting.  Weren’t the boy-dogs handsome?  Mugsy was born on October 5th, and Fred crossed the bridge on the same day, 12 years apart.

Because this is a rather chaotic month around here, I’ll also mention that October 23rd is the 5th anniversary of Gretchen Greer’s arrival in the woods, the 24th is DIVA Sissy’s 6th birthday, and the 25th is our 16th wedding anniversary.

And I’m thankful for every bit of it.  Unfortunately, the way life rolls, if Fred and Mugsy hadn’t left us, we wouldn’t have the fur-girls.  I believe my maternal grandfather also died this week, 45 years ago.  I never met either of my grandfathers, but I’m grateful for what I do know about them.

This is also as good a time as any to note that October 11th is the end of a four-generation run for the inlaws’ family business.  That means retirement for MJ, Dae and Uncle.  The Knight will truly become self-employed, although he started his own business in a similar industry last summer, and has been working around the clock, sometimes 7 days a week for a while now.  I start a new job on the 14th, and when I’m not nursing a sore ankle and placating fussy dogs whose routines have been disturbed (and they don’t know the half of it yet), etc., maybe I’ll be inclined to share more.

I’m thankful for the 12 years I had at the inlaws’ business.  Despite the ups and downs and the end of the business, I can honestly say that yes, I worked (at one point) with my husband, his brother, his uncle, my inlaws and even the patriarch too, with Uncle’s wife showing up on Thursdays to deal with debt collections for a while, and we are all still speaking to each other, usually even in polite voices.  There were plenty of non-related by marriage employees too, and many of them were like family and are missed already.

What are you remembering today?

All Gussied Up


Baby Sis with Mugsy 12-07

Of course, the first order of the day is to wish the Queen, DIVA, Sissymonster the happiest of birthdays!  Several human friends of ours are also having birthdays today too, so what a great day!

Yes, yes… there will be a pawty this evening, complete with pumpkin cupcakes and fresh fish in the dog bowls, and since it’s been a while, I’ll endeavor to get some up to date photos of the birthday girl and yesterday’s gotcha’ girl.

Now, to the subject of today’s post!  Last night, the League hosted a pumpkin decorating party.  I confess, I attended under duress.   I don’t like to carve pumpkins.  I admire the fancy designs, but I can’t even manage a childish, old-fashioned, simple jack-o-lantern on my own.  I don’t decorate or celebrate Halloween at all, except for dressing the fur-girls up for blog posts, so…


Custom JLC 80th anniversary inspired design

I had a ball.  As always, I am impressed and inspired by our members and their talent.  Isn’t that remarkable?!


More fab pumpkins by JLC artists – and Tipper too

And these?  (No, Tipper wasn’t carved or painted, or otherwise represented in pumpkin art.  But who am I to resist a doggy photo opp?)

photo.JPGI’m totally copying this idea in the future.   My “I’m so not artistic” friend strategically slapped some of her kids’ stickers on the pumpkin, slipped into parking lot with some silver paint, and …  I’m impressed! 

I’m seeing a star version, a doggy version…   You know… there’s still time for more pumpkin decorating this year…

Of course, there was Wicked Wine and pumpkin everything to munch on while we decorated, chatted, laughed and some of us got Tipper kisses too.  (Can’t find the Wicked Wine with the funky jack-o-lantern on the bottle…  it was red so I didn’t drink any, but it was a great touch!)

photo.JPGOh, and in honor of Gotcha’ Day and DIVA’s birthday (and due to my TRULY unremarkable skills with Sharpies), here’s my pumpkin.  You can’t tell, but the M is black trimmed in dark green, then light green, and of course, the large paw print is in royal purple, and the smaller one is PANK.  Yeah, I spent twice as much on Sharpies as the pumpkin, because the grocer only had multi-packs with the PANK and purple…  But I shared, and really, can you put a price on custom art?!

Not pictured is a small striped (in Sharpies hues) pumpkin, a stunning PALE orange pumpkin with its artist’s name and a couple of others painted on it with white dots, and a GREEN-grey pumpkin decorated with gold and silver wire.  There was also a painted pumpkin with brown hair and BLUE eyelashes that somehow missed its photo opp…

Oh!  And those noshes behind my pumpkin?  Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix with TJ’s pumpkin butter spread on top.  Podunk is finally getting a small TJ’s next month.  At some point, I’m going to have to accept that while it’s always going to be a quaint college town trying to impersonate a city, Podunk isn’t so podunk anymore.

So, two opportunities for input today:

  1. Do you decorate pumpkins?  If so, what medium(s)?
  2. What items MUST be on my Trader Joe’s shopping list?  I’ve honestly only even been in one ONCE in my whole life.  I do keep their pomegranate white tea in my pantry, through the kindness of more urbane friends…

Remembering When

Earworm alert…  Remember When


1997 – Fred, me, Mugsy

Today is one of those super-significant days in my life.  In family history – mine and the inlaws combined – there are a couple of wedding anniversaries, a human death, another birthday later this weekend…  Then in our home specifically, today was Mugsy’s birthday and five years ago on another Friday the 5th, we said good-bye to Fred.

Sorry for the photo of a photo of one of the shots from my brial portraits.   Oh I loved those boys!!

But as the words of the song suggest, the boys wouldn’t want me to be sad.  Look at those happy faces!  I am so very glad for all the time we had, and I’m glad for the fur-girls, but I still miss you every single day.

What’s on your weekend agenda?  Anything to be glad about?

Off and Running

Punching Bag 1

My former running partner, in his old age

Why no, I’m not a runner.  I used to be…  I ran both track and cross country in school, and then ran because it made Mugsy a better young doggy, but…

Never mind.  The point is, 2012 is off to a fast start.  We have one more holiday party this week, two different crafting things I’d like to do this weekend, then a family celebration, then…  Yeah.  It’s like that through mid-February.

Speaking of fur-kids, I have a question about PetHub up on the girls’ blog.

I’d like to thank you for your cosmetics advice.  Despite my analysis paralysis, I ran out of foundation over the holiday weekend (the most recent one, not to be confused with the other one a week before), so I had to carry myself to the mall and fix it.

It is worth noting that both MAC and Clarins are in the process of opening counters in the podunk Belk.  Didn’t do me a bit of good yesterday, but I know y’all care about my growing options.  Hem. 

Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details, but a series of nearly unfortunate events landed me in the chair at the Estee Lauder counter.  Now… no offense, but despite their slick ads in every single beauty or women’s magazine I’ve seen throughout my life, Estee makes me think of Nana.  I loved her dearly, she had great skin, but…  you know…

Well, turns out the freshest face in Belk cosmetics yesterday was behind the EL counter.  She had no trouble understanding what I wanted – anti-aging, moisture, redness, all with flawless results and minimal steps/effort – and she also didn’t scare me by putting my very ivory (but pink) complexion in a 2.5 beige…

I still think I might want to try Clinique’s redness line of skin care (why is something with red in its name packaged in yellow?).  I’m due to schedule my annual physical, so I guess I need to run the idea of rosacea past the good doc then…  (Wouldn’t it be cool if I’m NOT allergic to red wine and just have a skin condition instead?!  Hem.)

Gee, on that note, I think I’ve said enough.  How goes your New Year?

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?

Lead Me On

The girls in their current harnesses

Happy little friday, dogs on thursday and thankful thursday!!  Be sure to catch Sissy’s post – yes, the DIVA herself bothered to write a post – on an easy way to support shelter pets. 


Mugsy & Fred

Today’s post is about walking, pulling and harnesses.  I think I’ve mentioned before that my dogs walk in harnesses, period.  We started with the boy dogs, first because of Fred’s back problems (didn’t want to move lower back problems up into his neck, now did we?!), then because of Mugsy’s collapsed trachea. 


Sissy 8-08

Then came Sis.  Sis got switched to a harness in obedience school, because if you’ve been to either blog more than once, you’ve probably realized DIVA likes to be in charge, even if she is sweet about it.  No amount of training has broken her of her urge to pull, and now with glaucoma, a harness is necessary to prevent straining which increases eye pressure.


Gg 11-08

Gretchen Greer went in a harness right away because she was so dang tiny.  I’d never had a 4 lb. puppy before, and we still view her as tiny and fragile.  (Go ahead and snort and guffaw, other terrier owners!!)  However, she’s developed an annoying pulling-hop when she sees something ahead she wants to get to faster, so my big project for the weekend is finding a no-pull harness that fits her tiny selfdom.

There is more than one brand of no-pull body harness out there.  We’ve used two of the brands, and most likely, Gretchen will go in the brand Sissy’s wearing in her “purple harness” photo.  Ironically, that brand isn’t the best fit for Sis, and the one she’s wearing in the top photo is one of Mugsy’s old harnesses.  Yep.  Sis is THAT skinny; she weighs more than double what Mugsy did, even at his heaviest, but she can wear his “clothes”.  I can’t find THAT style locally, nor can I find a size chart, so Gg will get what I can get my hands on.


My favorite "harnessed" photo 4-08

(Why no, I’m not linking to brands, because I’m not sure the all-black harness Sis is sporting in the first photo is still available and because I’ve learned that despite great designs and customer care, no single style fits all dogs.  You can ask questions in the comments and I’ll answer honestly, one-on-one.)

That’s my thankful too.  I’m so glad there are options and many companies out there that have our pets’ safety and well-being in mind.  I’m also thankful for my two personal trainers, who don’t believe in rest-days, but the do allow for varied intensity and duration of said walks.  Hem.

What are you thankful for today?

FETCH for a Cure

Happy Dogs on Thursday, little friday and Thankful Thursday.  Gretchen introduced FETCH a Cure on their blog already, so I’ll just share the items that caught my attention in the email that alerted us to the existence of such.

Sadly, Gg’s guilt trip isn’t going to work; we won’t be going tomorrow night, but I am going to explore and get to know the organization better and see if it is something we’d like to be affiliated with.  However, the art below is ALMOST enough to tempt me to change my mind…

Those caught my eye in a Virginia Living email yesterday and led me to click over and learn a bit about FETCH and their upcoming pet parade and auction.  I’d love to have any of those pieces of art, but I am especially torn between the bottom two… not that it matters since I’m not attending and there’s no online or proxy bid options that I can find.  Booo!

Are there any cool pet charitable events in your community?  I’ve seen a doghouse auction on another blog, and I have a local friend who hosts a pet food drive holiday party with her mom every year, but I’m curious… 

MugsySee…  We are pondering starting a canine – or pet – glaucoma charity.  Mugsy and I were well on our way to starting our own charity to provide support for pets with mobility issues and their owners, but sadly his spinal cord strokes took his life before we got that off the ground, and carrying on without his cheerful, determined spirit was too much for me.  (Why yes, I misted up just typing that.)

Abrupt transition to Thankful Thursday.  I’m thankful that the heatwave has broken, and if not this afternoon, tomorrow for sure, Sissy will get her MUCH NEEDED walk.  I’m thankful that we have had these precious, sweet dogs who have given us far more than they’ve required from us… and yes, our fur-kids tend to be high maintenance, but still, I stand by that statement.  I’m also thankful to be knitting again!

What are you thankful for today?

A Dog’s Purpose

From the website of the same name

I’ve taken a few days between finishing the book and blogging a review, and I’m STILL not sure how I feel about this book.   Oh, it was touching, it sure was.  I made the Knight stand there and starve and tap his foot and glare Sunday night while I read the last few paragraphs.  Then I wiped my tears, blew my nose and we went to dinner.

I don’t know how to talk about the book at all without a few spoilers, but I don’t think what I’m sharing will ruin the book for you.  The general concept is, the narrator/dog comes back – as in reincarnation – time and time again until his ulimate form serves its ultimate purpose.  Now, my raised Episco-Catholic-Bapt-Methodist mind had some trouble with that concept, despite the fact that the Knight and I have called Gretchen “Mugsy” more than once.  When we say it, we’re totally joking, because anyone who knew Mugsy knows he couldn’t come back as the most obedient, polite, PANK-wearin’ JRT ever, no matter how he loved his people.

Punching Bag 3

My tough baby-man in 2007

I also had trouble getting into the book, but once you get past the first version, it got better.  I did skim a lot in some spots, because while I get the whole boy and his dog thing, and I too had a dog that saw me through my parents’ divorce and my own life-changing injuries as a teen, my eyes crossed and I just wanted to get to the plot twist.

Still, I’m glad the blogless local friend recommended it just now, because I do believe EVERYTHING happens for a reason, and I do believe dogs exist in part to teach us how to love unconditionally.  Sissy is also teaching us how to bounce back from what would all but break most humans.  Her spirit and ability to overcome is inspiring.   The DIVA has charisma, and something about her makes fans everywhere she goes.  She’s a very special girl, and honestly, being her caretakers is an honor the Knight and I take very seriously.

Her incision is almost completely healed.  We’re still waiting on the hair to finish growing in, but I need to get you a current photo.  Maybe for tomorrow’s Dogs on Thursday?

The Nook is already waiting for me to start reading World Without End.   What are you reading?


–noun 1.

friendship; peaceful harmony.


mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, esp. between nations; peace; accord.


Or, a happy yarn from Ella Rae.
See, yesterday sent me on a stash dive, into the stuff I don’t have logged on Ravelry because it’s most likely to be used for charitable or dog knitting.    I grabbed a variegated ball of Amity, a 75% acrylic, 25% wool blend, and cast on for the hat I promised Amy I’d hand over when we meet later this week.  I think I’ve donated 2 of the 3 years she’s been doing Warm Up Winchester.  
DSCN0633_edited-1Amity is a bit fuzzy, but it’s so soft to the hand and it wears like steel.  This I know, because my babyman – Mugsy – had a snuggle made from it, and it was washed and tossed in the dryer a couple of times a month for about a year.  He didn’t go anywhere without it.  It was his seat cover at home, work and especially in the car.   I think I’ve found the yarn to use for baby #3’s blanket.
Doesn’t hurt that I like the word either.
What’s your favorite winter hat pattern?  I confess, I don’t have one.  I love to knit hats, but I don’t believe I’ve done the same pattern twice.  I’ll have an FO report for you on  Friday.  I probably would have had one today for the hat, but I NEEDED Mexican for dinner last night!