Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hello, Goodbye

This blogging thing is so much more than I thought it would be. I started blogging to connect with other knitters, and more or less keep track of the projects I was working on. Little did I know that I would develop such friendships and connections with people I have never met "in person." I have shared in "highs" of welcoming new babies (both the two legged and four-legged-furry variety), the "lows" of losses of family members (again, both the two legged and four-legged-furry variety) and every emotion in between. (The most recent "high" is the addition of a baby boy to Silfert and her dear hubby of the Music, Knits and Cookies website. Congratulations!)

But I really should back-track a bit. A few years ago I stumbled upon the Socknitters forum. Some of the knitters there had blogs, but I wasn't really sure what a blog really was about. After reading one of the Yarn Harlot's books, I went to her blog and became addicted. (I know, I started at the top, right?) From the Yarn Harlot, I found Shelly Kang's "The Heathen Housewife" blog, and after that I was a "clickin' fool," clicking from one blog to another to another.

I first considered starting my own blog in the fall of 2006 when I was reading all about the Secret Pal swaps and how much fun other knitters were having with their pals. One of the requirements to participate in the swap was that you have a blog, so I decided to dip my feet in the water. The next time Secret Pal swaps came around, I was ready! I filled out the application, posted the questionnaire, and waited for my assignment.

Much to my delight, I was assigned a wonderful secret pal to spoil...Heather of the Crafty Momma blog. She had three beautiful kids (6 year old girl and two boys, 2 years and 7 months old), a loving husband, two dogs, a cat, and best of all, lived on an island off the coast of Maine. Can you imagine? It takes over an hour by ferry to get to the mainland! How great is that? Heather and I kept in touch even after the swap ended last Spring. We would email every few weeks or so, and stay in touch through each other's blogs.

Heather died last week. She was 32 years old. Her husband lost a loving wife, and her kids lost a wonderful mom, who loved her kids fiercely and fought for them like a momma bear protecting her cubs. Her obituary says she "died unexpectedly at her home" on April 17th. I feel as though I have lost a very good friend. What am I saying? I have lost a very good friend. I have so many questions, and no answers. Not that the answers matter, really, because the bottom line is there are three little kids on an island off the coast of Maine who just lost their Mom. My heart breaks for them.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Ok, it's been three weeks since we have seen hide nor hair (nor feather) of sweet Ducky. Despite many searches of the surrounding area, nothing has turned up. I have not totally given up, but I will say that what hope I have is just a teeny tiny sliver of its former self.

Oh Ducky, Ducky, Ducky. I have loved you from the time you were one day old...
...through those gangly teenage years weeks... ...until you grew into a beautiful bird.
Even your shocking behavior later in life could not lessen my love for you.

I know you were led astray by that varmint Napoleon. Such an opportunist, he seduced you right out from under our noses. The cad!

What has happened to my sweet, sweet Duck-a-Doo? I suppose I'll never know. Perhaps she has found a cool, green meadow filled with wildflowers and tasty bugs and worms, with a babbling brook running through it. Perhaps she will live out her golden years (however many an eleven year old chicken can have left) in peace and contentment. Perhaps she will come back to me one day with a whole brood of baby chickies.

Denial - it ain't just a river in Egypt.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Cuteness Alert

This weekend, my sister and I went to our vet's house - or I should say his farm - to see the newest addition to his stable:

Isn't she sweet? She is just six weeks old. I know absolutely nothing about horses, but clearly this little girl is the sweetest thing ever!

Here she is with her momma and my wonderful, fabulous veterinarian.

Not enough cuteness for you? How about this:

That is proud sheepy momma "Fermenna" (I hope I spelled her name right) with her three-day old twins. The black one is a boy, and the white one is a girl. Talk about cute. Here is Geraldine, their people momma, giving them a bottle. Awwwwwww! Gerri also happens to be Emma and Tara's wonderful, fabulous Nanny!

I am so blessed to have both Gerri & Dr. Bill as partners in Emma and Tara's care.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dogs (with Milk Beards) on Thursday

Twice a week, I go to work a half hour early and take an extra long lunch so I can run home and let the dogs out. Don't worry - they're not crossing their legs the other three days - a Dog Nanny comes to the house to let them out. Anyway, today was my day to run home. I race home, let the babes out, grab something quick for lunch, let them out again, and then race back to work. Whew. In the winter I'll heat up a can of soup in the microwave, but now that it's getting warmer, a bowl of cereal does the trick. I'm not the only one who likes cereal for lunch:

That's what I see the whole time I am trying to enjoy my lunch. Emma and Tara are using mental telepathy to get me to put that bowl on the floor...put that bowl on the floor...put that bowl on the floor.
It works every time. I always get out another bowl so they don't have to share. My reward?
Look closely - Emma has a milk beard! It's probably one of those things that only I think is funny, but it really cracks me up!

After racing back to work, look what greeted me as I was walking to the back door of the museum:
Baby goosies! Here's a better picture.

Such little cutie pies! I wasn't really that close - I took these pictures with the zoom lens, but the mama and papa were hissing at me, so I left them alone. It seems early for goslings, especially when you look at the size of them - these guys have got to be at least a week old. Happy Spring!

Monday, April 21, 2008

This 'n' That 'n' Linky Dinks

I mentioned a week or so ago that Nichole of Lapdog Creations is having a contest. Go on over there and check it out - it's for a cause that is near and dear to my heart - homeless animals! There are multiple ways to enter, one of which is to make snuggles and donate them to an animal shelter. I saw on Criquette's blog that she made some really cool no sew snuggles! She even posted a tutorial on how to make them, and she made it look so easy I had to give it a try. I bought some of this: And in a few hours turned it into this:
That is Emma surrounded by four soft and snuggly, well, snuggles. Tara wanted to have her picture taken, too.
To the untrained eye, it might look like she is bored with this, but not true. She is more than happy to sit and model the snuggles for as long as mommy needs her.

Hey, get back here! Nope, she said "Enough is enough...I'm outta here!" Oh, well. These snuggles are going to Tabby's Place where my niece Jen works. It's a cage-free cat sanctuary for around 100 cats. It's a wonderful place, and only about 20 minutes north of a great yarn store called the Wooly Lamb in Pennington, NJ. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, just because I think this post need yet another link, here is a link to Donna Lee's "What You Think On Grows" blog. She is a great mom with two wonderful girls, and I've enjoyed her blog for a while now. Today she posted one of those blog quizzes, and for the fun of it I clicked on the link and filled it out, too. I usually don't bother posting the results, but I had to this time. The results said I's a "Duty Fulfiller" (not exactly glamorous) and I prefer productive hobbies, like knitting. Well, it actually said "knittings", but in such cases allowances must be made. It also said I'm an "ISTJ", but I have no idea what that is. I hope it's not something profane. I mean, my mom reads this blog...

You Are An ISTJ

The Duty Fulfiller

You are responsible, reliable, and hardworking - you get the job done.
You prefer productive hobbies, like woodworking or knittings.
Quiet and serious, you are well prepared for whatever life hands you.
Conservative and down-to-earth, you hardly ever do anything crazy.

In love, you are loyal and honest. If you commit yourself to someone, then you're fully committed.
For you, love is something that happens naturally. And you don't need romantic gestures to feel loved.

At work, you remember details well and are happy to take on any responsibility.
You would make a great business executive, accountant, or lawyer.

How you see yourself: Decisive, stable, and dependable

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Boring, conservative, and egotistical

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kayaking Healeth the Soul (but doesn't prevent me from ranting and raving)!

Last Saturday, my sister, mom and I went out on the lake at Parvin State Park. Mom and I were in her tandem kayak. Sorry, no pictures from that venture. I took the camera with me, but was too preoccupied with trying to keep the kayak afloat, what with all the laughing and paddling the wrong way... Suffice it to say that a good time was had by all.

After work on Friday, my sister, my friend Pat and I all headed out to Parvin for some much needed stress-relief. Not long after we got out on the lake, my good friend Mr. Swan came up see us.
Hello there, Mr. Swan. We've missed you!
Keep a safe distance from the kayak, Mr. Swan. I've heard you can be mean!
Here is Mr. Swan heading over to visit Pat in her new kayak--isn't in pretty? The kayak, not the swan, although the swan is very lovely, also.
In addition to Mr. Swan, we saw Wood Ducks, Cormorants, Buffleheads, and Canada Geese with little fuzz-ball-sized babies. They couldn't have been more than a day or two old. No pictures - I tried, but it was too dark. Of course there were turtles galore, but I did see one thing I didn't expect to see on the lake:
On the way in, we saw a yellow lab kayaking with his daddy. He had is own life jacket, and was just as calm as could be. He loves kayaking with his daddy! I asked Emma and Tara if they would like to try it. Tara might be fine with it, but Emma would be a bundle of nerves, I'm sure.

Say what you would like about New Jersey, but we have wonderful State Parks. Yes, we are the most densely populated state in the nation. Yes, we have the highest property taxes in the country. Yes, they average $6,800 per property owner — twice the national average. But for many of us who choose to live in New Jersey, an excellent way to escape the crowds and traffic and stresses of everyday life is to make use of the State Park system. It's one of the benefits of living here and paying exorbitant property taxes.

Now after years of irresponsible spending and lining of pockets, the Governor of New Jersey needs to cut the budget. The $33 billion budget. Yes, that is "billion with a 'B'". Where could he come up with some money? I know, come July 1, why don't close 9 State Parks. Ooooh, and make sure little ol' Parvin is one of the ones to close. Closing 9 parks will save a whole $4.5 million. Admittedly, that is a very large sum of money, but it is the proverbial "drop in the bucket" compared to $33 billion. $33 BILLION! Sheesh!

Yesterday, there was a rally at Parvin. After all of the enjoyment we have gotten out of the park system, especially Parvin State Park, you better believe we were there! And so were lots of other people:
They were selling "Stand Up For Parvin State Park" t-shirts, and even some sweet fur-kids got into the spirit of the event.
Look at this little girl. Her name is Emma.
Her placard says "Pooches for Parvins! Woof!"

This sign says it all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Missing Two Very Special

Dogs on Thursday

All this week, I've been listening to Heidi by Johanna Spyri on my iPod. It's just one of the many, many books I have enjoyed (for free!) from Librivox. I listen while I'm at work, either cleaning the sticky fingerprints off of the cases in the mornings, or while editing photos and crap and other mindless very important work on the computer.

Anyway, as I was listening to Heidi earlier this week, the following sentence jumped out at me:

". . . the grandmother said . . . 'the heart is comforted with the assurance that some day everything that we have loved will be given back to us.' "

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this. It almost took my breath away when I heard it. Literally, it stopped me in my tracks.

You see, April is a month full of memories of loss for me. I almost want to crawl into bed on March 31 and not leave it until May 1st. I know I shouldn't feel this way. I know I have so many things to be thankful for. I know that I am so very lucky when it comes to my family, and the fact that my parents are in such good health, and Emma and Tara are as healthy as can be. Still, the incredibly unreasonable and selfish part of me wants more. I desperately want my dear Scarlett who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on April 4, 2003...

...and my dear Mellie who crossed April 14th just last year. I miss these sweet girls more than words can say. Why do I so desperately long for something I know I can never have? I guess if I knew the answer to that, the makers of Prozac would be out of business.

Speaking of loss, there are still no sign of Ducky the Duckster, that little floozy. Even Napoleon has stopped coming by. I've heard another rooster crowing from somewhere farther away than Napoleon's house. I would think it was that crafty little Napoleon (who lured away my sweet, innocent little Ducky) throwing his voice, but it's a very different "Cock-a-Doodle-Doo," so it's definitely a new rooster in the 'hood. Maybe Ducky took up with this new rooster? I'll have to do some investigating. If I don't blog for a while, it's because one of my neighbors had me thrown in jail for trespassing. Bake me a cake with a file in it, will you? Chocolate would be my preference.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Tale of Nine Chickies

Eleven years ago today, nine little baby chicks came to live with us. Their names were Emma, Lizzie, Joanie, Becky, Julie, Orange Feet, Peanut, Black One and Ducky. They spent their first day in a Pyrex bowl under a heat lamp.
As they grew, they explored their storage box, and found food and water...

...and a big "monster" named Mellie who liked to stick her head in the box and try to give them kisses.
They soon outgrew their storage box, and moved into a kiddie pool in the garage. Their mommy hung a hula hoop from the rafters and draped it with tulle to keep the chickies from wandering around and getting into mischief.

Soon they were too big for the kiddie pool, so they moved into their new home-- a chicken coop with a fenced-in play yard.

They had perches where they would huddle together and go to sleep at night......and nesting boxes where they could lay their eggs.
As they grew, the chicken named Julie started to look a little different from all of the others. Julie did not lay any eggs. Julie started to make cock-a-doodle-doo noises. Can you tell which chicken is Julie?Julie (now known as Julio) "played rough" with the other chickens (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), and attacked any human who dared to enter the chicken coop.
Julio went away to live on a farm. (No, not that kind of farm - Julio went to live with another family who wanted to raise chickens, but only had two hens.) Julio was very happy at his new home and right away "played rough" with his new coop-mates, much to the delight of his new owners.

To Be Continued...

Earlier in the week, I thought this story would end today, but my niece Jenny called my sister to wish her a Happy Birthday yesterday, and had a thought about Ducky's whereabouts. Jen thought that maybe, just maybe, Ducky did not get taken away by an evil hawk or eagle or fox (or Colonel Sanders).

And maybe, just maybe, she merely took offence at us moving her doghouse full of eggs into the coop (we wanted to keep them safe), and she wandered off to lay another nest of eggs nearby.

And maybe, just maybe, Ducky is hiding from us, for fear that we would mess with her new nest (even though we have not disturbed her original eggs, just made them safer).

And maybe, just maybe, Ducky will come wandering back to us in 21 days (according to this site, that's how long chicken eggs incubate) with a little family of her own.

And maybe, just maybe, I will win the lottery, become Queen of England, and knitters will rule the world.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Happy Dogs on Thursday, Happy Spay Day and Happy Birthday, too! (and a Ducky update)

Happy Spay Day everyone, and a special Happy Birthday to my sister! To celebrate ASPCA's Spay Day, Emma went to the Vee-Eee-Tee. Well, she already had an appointment for routine shots, so we made it into a celebration. Emma and Tara got new bandannas, and mommy got a new t-shirt. They say "ASPCA We Are Their Voice". Of course, we had to dress alike just like a couple of geeks for the trip to the vet. Here is Emma in the car:

She likes going for rides in the car, but she is pretty sure that nothing good can come from this trip. She knows where she is going. Maybe that's because I've been singing this little ditty to the tune of "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight":

Emma's going to the Vee-Eee-Tee,
Vee-Eee-Tee, Vee-Eee-Tee,
Emma's going to the Vee-Eee-Tee,
To get a needle in the hiney!

Cruel, huh? Oh well, I've gotta get my jollies somehow.

Here is Tara when we got back, looking thoroughly pissed. She does not like that bandanna. Maybe it's because I've been pulling it up over her ears and making her look like a granny. She won't leave it like that long enough for me to get a picture.

Here is Emma looking like a Granny:

I had to get a shot of my new ASPCA T-shirt so you would know just how geeky I truly am. We made a big hit at the vet's office in our matching attire.One final picture of Emma and Tara sitting like the good little girls that they are. Don't they look so very well behaved and not at all hooligan-like? That's because I was holding peanut butter treats. Love those treats!
Now for an update on Ducky. Sadly, she is indeed missing. She hasn't been seen since Monday morning when I left for work. She never, never, ever wandered far from the coop, and about an hour before sundown (you could set your watch by her) she was back inside the coop, on one of the perches, settling herself in for the night. The fact that she has been missing for three nights now is not a good sign. I haven't given up all hope, but I have to say that I have very, very little left at this point. Dad has been walking the neighborhood every day, and my sister and I have been looking every evening after work. We also talked to the neighbors, and called the local animal shelters.

I'm still hoping she just wandered off and will come back by tomorrow. Tomorrow is her birthday - she will be 11 years old, and every year she has gotten an extra special treat for her birthday. Usually strawberries leftover from my sister's birthday cake (who turns 57 years old today.) Ooops, should I not have mentioned her age? Poor Ducky. I just wish I knew what happened to her.

Mom says it was a fox......and Dad says it was Colonel Sanders.Ducky, if you are out there, please, please, please come home!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Missing: One Chicken

Name: Ducky
Also answers to: Duckster, Duckduckduck, Ducky-Doo

Age: Almost 11 years old

Height: About a foot

Weight: 8 pounds (estimated)

Last seen: Monday morning

Suspected fowl (and foul) play by this rooster:

Monday, April 7, 2008

Quickie post (with egg update)

Another contest! This time, Vera is having a contest, and all you have to do to enter is leave her a comment telling her why you like knitting socks. Easy, peasy!

Oh, and by the way...Ducky's egg count? Eighteen. EIGHTEEN!!! What is a mother to do?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dogs on Thursday...

and another contest...

and another egg!

Looky look at what came in the mail today, just in time for Dogs on Thursday. Stitch markers that I bought from Nichole's Etsy site! Aren't they great? My photography isn't the best, but they are pewter, snag-free stitch markers, with a dog theme. Dogs, dog house, dog bones...what could be better?

What did I do right away? Put them to use.
It's kind of hard to see them in this picture, but I replaced my boring old stitch markers with new doggie ones on these three socks-in-progress. They make me smile every time I come around to them in my knitting!

Speaking of Nichole, she is having a contest in honor of ASPCA Day! It's a fun contest for a great cause, with multiple ways to win, so head on over to her website and get yourself entered! Woof!

Oh, and is anyone keeping track of how many eggs that little floozy of a chicken Ducky has laid? There was another one today, bringing the total to 15. Cripes!