Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dogs on Thursday

This week's Dogs on Thursday post features Emma and Tara enjoying their Christmas bones.

No, not bones as in from an animal, bones from Nylabone. We love our Nylabones! Look at how they hold their bones in their little hands. How smart is that? I am cursed with blessed with smart dogs.
Tara is exhausted. Chewing new bones is hard work!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Surprise Package!

I came home from work yesterday (yes, I had to work on a Saturday - the Saturday before Christmas, even) and found this package from Nichole. How very thoughtful!

That is a brittany keyring with doggie charms on it, a couple of magnets, some book marks, and a card. Here is a close-up of the keyring. It's a brittany!
How could Nichole have known that I would be in desperate need of just such a pick-me-up? Did she know I had to work on a Saturday? Did she know the heater in the basement kept me awake last night, banging and groaning all night long? Did she know that I would wake up (after a very little bit of sleep) to a cold house with no hot water? Did she know the heater guy (who came right out to the house, bless him) said it's probably a cracked thing-a-ma-jiggy or a faulty wacha-ma-callit, and that he would replace a couple of valves and re-route some pipes, but to watch the heater for further problems, because it might need replacing? The whole thing. The whole friggin' system.

Enough of that...must think happy thoughts. How about a picture? Yes, that's the ticket. This is a shot of Emma playing "Princess and the Pea".

That pile of dog beds is normally in the corner where the Christmas tree is now. We moved the beds out of the way so the tree could go there, but "out of the way" was temporarily "in the middle of the room." Emma has decided that she is pleased with the new arrangement, and would like the beds to stay in the middle of the room forever and ever. As soon as you walk into the room, she races in ahead of you and pounces on the piled up dog beds as if to say "Don't you even THINK of moving my beds." How cute is that? Who could make her move? Not me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Special Guest for Dogs on Thursday

Emma and Tara had a special guest over tonight. This is little Alexis Sophia, and she is 5 weeks old. Emma thinks babies smell great. Tara thinks babies are a little scary and did not want to get close enough to get her picture taken with little Lexi.

Mom came over, too. Just try and keep her away from a baby. It can't be done. She has extra special radar and knows when there is a baby within a 5 mile radius.

Even dad came to see the baby. Anyone who knows him will be shocked at this picture:
Yes, that is dad holding an actual baby. A baby that has the potential to leak fluids (or worse) from any given orifice. This is the man that says that baby slobber is like battery acid - it ruins everything it touches. This must be a very special baby, indeed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mommy's Little Helper

Tomorrow we are all going to my boss' house for lunch for our Christmas party, so this afternoon I wrapped and packaged up the gifts for my coworkers. Of course, I had help. This is a shot of Emma's final inspection of the bags before they went out the door. Rest assured that she was fully involved in the wrapping every step of the way. Such a good little helper.

Also, finally a finished object:
Yes, another pair of Jaywalkers. Love the pattern! I just stuck them on the wreath to get a picture of them, but I think they look nice there. Maybe next year I'll make a whole bunch of mini socks and pin them around the wreath. Wouldn't that be cute? Not that I'll ever really get around to it, but it would be cute!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Special Dogs on Thursday

I read this on Nichole's blog, who got it from Chan. Both are fellow "dog moms", or as my dad would say, "fellow wackos". He means that in the most affectionate way, of course. He talks tough, but he's really just a softie at heart! Anyway, I just wanted to pass this along.

Forgotten Dog's Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds
With no thought of the dog filling their head.
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap
Knew he was cold but didn't care about that.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter!
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Figuring the dog was free of his chain and into the trash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Santa Claus - with eyes full of tears

He un-chained the dog, once so lively and quick.
Last year's Christmas present, now painfully thin and sick.
More rapid than eagles he called the dog's name
And the dog ran to him, despite all his pain.

"Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Let's find this dog a home where he'll be loved by all.

I knew in an instant there would be no gifts this year
For Santa Claus had made one thing quite clear.
The gift of a dog is not just for one season.
We had gotten the pup for all the wrong reasons.
In our haste to think of the kids a gift
There was one important thing that we missed.

A dog should be family, and cared for the same
You don't give a gift, then put it on a chain.
And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight
"You weren't given a gift! You were given a LIFE!"

Author Unknown

Please think twice (three times, four times, a hundred times) before getting a dog or cat (or any furry, feathery or finny creature) as a Christmas present. They are precious little souls, totally dependant on their humans, and deserve only the best that we can give them.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Tonight after work, I went over to mom & dad's house and we turned this...

...into this!
The recipe is in the December issue of "Ladies Home Journal". It's just a plain old peanut butter cookie dough, decorated with red M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, and pretzel pieces! Mom is going to take them to a cookie exchange at her church tomorrow night. Here she is packaging the cookies for transport.
Why is she using the dust buster? Well, one of the cookies broke, and there were crumbs in the bottom of the box. You can't have crumbs in the bottom of your cookie box. Everybody knows that. No, she is not a neat freak or anal retentive in any way. Not at all...

Here are some of the cookies that didn't make the cut. Oh, the carnage.

I have a "no-food-with-a-face" rule, but made an exception for these yummy cookies.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Meet Sardi

My niece Jenny sent me this picture of one of the cats at Tabby's Place where she works. This is Sardi, snuggled up on a blanket that Criquette made for her.

Sardi says "Thanks, Criquette. The lovely green blankie really sets off the color of my eyes. Oooops, eye." No, she is not winking. She only has one eye. This poor kitty has had a rough time of it, but thankfully is now in a lovely cat sanctuary, cared for by wonderful people. Click here to read more of Sardi's story.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Playing in the Snow

Yesterday we got our first (and hopefully last, but that's just wishful thinking on my part) snowfall of the season. I was only supposed to be an inch, but it was at least a foot. Well, maybe six inches...or more like four. Yes, four inches. Definitely 3 inches. That might not seem like much to you New Englanders or Minnesotans, but did you not read yesterday's post? I was traumatized at an early age. Trauma, I tell you. And that was back when they were still testing Prozac on lab mice.

Anyway, for this week's Dogs on Thursday, I wanted to take some pictures of Emma and Tara in the hateful snow. So, this morning before I bravely drove myself(!!!) to work, I snapped these pictures in the backyard. You will have to trust me that those blurry figures are really Emma and Tara. They love the snow. Why wouldn't they - they don't have to drive in it! They run around it in like they're being chased by demons.

Silly, silly girls!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

SNOW is a four letter word

I suppose it was inevitable that the warm weather we have been experiencing would give way to more seasonal temperatures. When it is December, that means S-N-O-W. We don't say the word out loud - that's how much I hate the stuff. Don't get me wrong - it's pretty, and if I didn't have to drive in it, I wouldn't care if it snowed from now until Easter. When it comes to driving, though, I'm a serious snow-phobic. I can trace it back to the winter after I got my driver's license, and my dear Dad took me out to an abandoned parking lot and taught me how to drive in it. Skidding, fast braking and snow banks were involved. And tears...lots of tears. That was [cough, cough, sputter] years ago, and I'm still terrified when those evil flakes start falling from the sky. How lucky am I, though, that to this day, I just have to call him up and he will drive me to work. Lucky...try spoiled! What can I say - he's the best!

Anyway, I made it safely home from work tonight without wigging out (God Bless Prozac!) and thought I'd share some pictures I took this afternoon at work. This is the view from the front of the Museum.
And this is the fountain in the courtyard.
Pretty stuff, yes, but I would be thrilled beyond belief if I never again saw another freakin' snow flake!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Cats...

...and a happy niece. My niece Jenny came home for the weekend, so I gave her the cat treats and snuggly blanket that Criquette sent to me for the cats at Tabby's Place. Thanks Criquette! The kitties say "Meow, meow, meow - Thanks, Criquette!"

Now for an update on another happy kitty. Do you remember the stray cat Joey that has been hanging around? Well, I am 100% against having "outside" cats. I have always thought that if you're going to have a cat, it should be inside.

That said, I think I have an "outside" cat. That's what happens when you start feeding strays, I guess. He is now dependant on us, but my sister is terribly allergic to cat hair, and Emma and Tara think a cat is nothing but a a big squirrel (and they HATE squirrels) so Joey cannot come inside the house. What to do...what to do? Last winter Joey would show up a couple of times a week, so we lined an old dog house with hay & blankets for the times he would stay in the area overnight.

This year, Joey knows which side of the bread is buttered, so to speak, and I don't think he has stepped foot off the property in months. Why would he? Three meals a day. Count 'em - THREE. He's a pig! Where is he sleeping? In a castle! Well, it's really the garage, but he thinks it's a castle. He has his own cushy bed with a heating element, and a heat lamp over his bed to take the chill off. Dad even put in an outlet dedicated to Joey's use. It is just the right height for his bed's and heat lamp's electric cords. Here is Joey in all his glory:

By the way, he thinks he should be called "Joseph" now. He says it better fits his elevated station in life. Inside the house, it is a chilly 60 degrees in one zone, and 56 degrees in another. I'm huddled next to the pellet stove, which is the only place in the house where my fingers are warm enough to knit, but if you go out in the garage and put your hand on Joey's Joseph's tummy, he is as warm as a piece of toast. A piece of buttered toast. With jelly.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Finished objects to report!

Yes, indeed-y! Instead of casting on for another pair of socks, I finished not one.....
but TWO pair!
I had never used either yarn before, and like them both a lot. The first pair is made with Cherry Tree Hill yarn from my SP10 Eve. The second pair is made with Austermann Step. My niece Jenny picked out the yarn from The Wooly Lamb in Pennington, NJ, and because she's kind of quirky and a bit of a nut (in a good way!) I made the socks fraternal instead of identical. Yes, I'm a wild and crazy girl.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cool Tool - A Knit Map!

Just a quickie post to share this great tool that I found over at Yawn Over's blog. Go to and type in a zip code, and it will show you all of the yarn shops nearby. What a great idea!

And now, because no post is complete without a gratuitous fur-baby picture, I give you......

Emma and Tara in the back seat of the car en route to a yarn shop after checking out! (How's that for a segue?)


... Isabella!

When I got to work this morning, look what I found! Just in time for this week's Dogs on Thursday post. Is she just the sweetest little thing? She is 10 weeks old, and belongs to Stephanie in our Accounting Department. I know I'll never buy another puppy with so many dogs that need homes, but it doesn't stop me from going absolutely "ga-ga" over puppy breath and puppy teeth and puppy bellies. Did you ever notice that a puppy's belly is just begging to be kissed?

Look at her sweet little face. She fell asleep while I was holding her. Oh, I'm getting that "I need a puppy" feeling, but I will resist. I MUST resist.
Ooohhh, the little cutie pie is winking at me.

Quick, switch to pictures of Emma and Tara!

Ahhh, my little Emma....

and little Tara....

I'm totally over the "I need a puppy" feeling now... until the next time I see a puppy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

An Embarrassment of Riches...

"An embarrassment of riches..." I read that in a book somewhere, (maybe by Louisa May Alcott???) and can't think of a better title for this post.

I came home from work and, from the driveway, I saw a huge package at my back door. Well, I ordered some nutritional supplements for the dog's food last week, so that must be it, right? No, the box is too big for that. Could it be the box of cat treats & a snuggle that Criquette said she would be sending for the cats my niece Jen is caring for at Tabby's Place. No, the box is really too big for that, unless it is the mother-lode of cat treats. I take a look at the return address, and it is indeed from Criquette. I open the box, and there are a ton of cat treats and a lovely green snuggle to keep the kitties warm, and there is an envelope that says "Brits Gone Wild: Please open before going any further."
I read the note, and it turns out that this whole time I've been nervous about slipping up and accidentally revealing my identity to my Secret Pal spoilee because I've known her for a while now, I also knew my spoiler. Yes, my "upstream" secret pal was the lovely, kind and wonderful Criquette! I can't say too much about my "downstream" secret pal since the package just went in the mail today, but it's really freaky. You'll have to trust me on this for now.

Take a look at this package of goodies. All wrapped in orange and cream paper. Yes, Brittany colors!
Every gift related to the dogs or cats (even the chickens) in some way.
Beagle Bagel dog treats for Emma and Tara, freeze-dried chicken & salmon treats for Joey (and now Tigger and Striper, but that's a story for another post), and lovely cleome seeds from Criquette's garden for the chickens to enjoy (but they are to just enjoy looking at them, not digging them up!).

Emma and Tara immediately got into the spirit of present opening, and they are both thrilled with their bagels! Tara loves her treats!
Here is Emma trying to help herself, but mean old mommy said "Just one treat until after dinner."
They looked through the book "Not Just More Socks" that Auntie Criquette sent, and they agreed on mommy's next project--a dog bed! Better, yet, TWO dog beds!
There are also two (count-'em, two!) CDs of celtic music...
... which Criquette made especially for me to listen to with the dogs. Here is "Music for Brits" with Tara's picture on it......and here is "Music for Brits II" with Emma's picture on it. How cool is that?

There were two skeins of yarn - one the color of the dogs, one the color of the cats. How thoughtful! Also a Brittany pen, and the all-important chocolate!

I was sitting on the floor, opening each present and laughing, until I got to this one:
This one made me cry. It was a good kind of crying...the "I can't believe someone would do this for me" kind of crying. Criquette made a needle-felted "Mellie" dog. The note says "In memory of a brave, sweet dog." Mellie was the sweetest brittany ever, and we lost her to stomach cancer in April. Criquette was so supportive during that rough time. She offered suggestions for foods to try and tempt Mellie to eat (who would have thought she would like tuna?) and understood what I was going through the way only another "dog-mom" or "cat-mom" can. There are lots of pet owners out there, but only another "fur-mom" can understand what it is like to lose a "fur-kid". Criquette is, indeed, a fellow "fur-mom", and that is the highest praise I can give anyone.

I have truly been spoiled with "an embarrassment of riches", and not just the gifts. I consider Criquette's friendship the most valuable gift of all. Thank you, Criquette, for everything. You are a treasure!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

To the Post Office!

Tonight I boxed up the final package for my Secret Pal 11 pal. It's been fun, but I've got to tell you it's been a little stressful. This is only the second time I've participated in a Secret Pal swap, and last time, I didn't know my pal beforehand. I really enjoyed getting to know her and her family, and picking out goodies to send. (Hi Heather!) This time, I knew my pal before she became my pal, and I've been so worried that I would give away my identity. I went out-of-state to mail the first package, and my dear dad offered went to a post office in another zone to mail the second. I know I'm a little overboard when it comes to worrying, but I didn't want my pal to know where the packages were coming from.

Since this is the end of SP11, and my identity will be revealed anyway, I'll show you the package. Emma and Tara helped me decorate it.
Who knew they had such a flair for decorating???

Oh, and my niece Jen read my blog when I was whining about mentioning that I didn't take a picture of the fingerless mitten things that I made for her. What did she do? She emailed a picture to me. What a sweetie! Thanks Jen!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Emma and Tara are happy to be sharing this week's Dogs on Thursday day with an American Holiday. They say Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Here they are waiting patiently at the door for their Uncle John to arrive.
Here is the man, himself! They love their Uncle John. Emma especially loves his after-shave lotion. He puts extra on when he comes to visit, because Emma licks it off of him. He is such a sweetie - he doesn't mind at all. He's a WWII veteran, and just got back from his 65 year high school reunion. Yes, he graduated from High School in 1942! Oh, the things he has seen.
Emma and Tara really tire themselves out when Uncle John comes to visit. Emma curled up on top of the sofa cushion where Uncle John was sitting.....
...and Tara conked out on her bed.
Poor, tired girls. They like Thanksgiving, but it really cuts into their nap time!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What are the symptoms of withdrawal?

I'm here at home waiting for 10:30 am to roll around so I can go and get blood drawn and then come back and have a freakin' cup of coffee. When you have to fast before an appointment to get blood drawn, there is no way that "fasting" should include "no coffee." That's just cruel and unusual punishment. If I'm a little crabby in this post, that's the reason why. I'm on caffeine withdrawal. Anyway, it's been so long since I sat down to read blogs, or write a substantive post, that I'm ashamed of myself. "Life" has somehow gotten in the way.

You know that old question "If a tree falls in the woods with no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound?" Well, if I cast on, knit, finish, and give away a project without taking a picture for the blog, does it still count as a completed project? I cast on & finished a pair of fingerless glove things for my niece, and gave them to her without taking a picture for the blog. Oh, well. I say they still count. My blog, my rules!

I've been furiously knitting these socks, for the same niece:
I had hoped to get them done my tomorrow, as she is coming home for Thanksgiving, but there's just no way. She is loving her job at the cat sanctuary, but more on that later.

I cast on for another alphabet blanket for a very dear friend. Actually, it's for her daughter, who is expecting a baby. For some reason, I was positive it was a boy, so I bought a lovely turquoise blue and got right to work on the blanket.

I guess I dreamed the "it's a boy" part in my head. They actually don't know the gender of the baby yet, so the blanket is on hold for now. Luckily, my friend Pat needed to fill out an order to Knitpicks to qualify for free shipping, so being the *martyr* that I am, I just had to help her out, and I bought more yarn in case the baby is really a girl. The colors are a little vibrant in this photo.
Speaking of Pat, she is no longer "blogless Pat", she is now (drumroll, please...) Patty Ann, Quilter & Knitter! Go check out her blog, and keep watching for her beautiful creations.

Back to my niece Jenny. She started working at Tabby's Place a few weeks ago, and it is really a perfect fit for her. She said that one of her favorite cats is featured on their website right now - his name is Ringo. Go click on his picture - he looks like such a sweetie pie! If you are considering getting a cat, they always have a wide selection available for adoption. All ages, colors, and even some special needs cats, if you are up for a challenge!

If dogs are more your thing, go on over to Nichole's blog. She is an awesome doggy mom, and generally has a foster dog staying with them. Right now, it is the lovely Sophie. Nichole is having a contest that I first posted about here. The rules are on this page. Hurry - the deadline is November 30th!

Ok, off to get a cup of coffee now. Crap, it's still an hour and a half until I can have coffee. Crap, crap, crap.