Thursday, August 28, 2008

Say it ain't so!

Oh, no. Not Bill and Star! I was really hoping this pair would win the Greatest American Dog title. Sadly, last night they were voted off the show. The theme for the episode was "courage", and the stupid judges felt that Star failed. Harumph! Not in my book! Star was just too smart to jump off that high platform. Hey - that thing was like a zillion feet off the ground, so what dog in her right mind would take that leap? Just because most of the other dogs jumped, that just shows that they are not as smart as Star! But don't take my word for it. In case you missed it, you can watch last night's episode here. Stupid judges, stupid show. I'm not ever going to watch it again. Until next week's episode.

Now for some really sad news. This past week, a dear blogging friend Chan lost her little prince, Mugsy, this week. This brave little man was victim to a series of spinal cord strokes. You can read about it on Mugsy's blog.Good bye sweet Mugsy. I wish I knew you in person. While you are running (yes, running! without wheels!!!) and playing on the other side of the rainbow bridge, if you run into a big Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Scupper, or a Brittany named Katie, Scarlett or Melanie, tell them mommy says hello and she loves them very much.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will I ever learn?

I saw this on both Sonya's and Chan's blogs, and had to join in. I love to read, and simply cannot fall asleep at night until I read something - anything! I always have a couple of stacks of books on my night table, either waiting to be read, or waiting to go to the used book store. Anyway, here goes:

The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six.

*Look at the list and bold those you have read.
*Italicize those you we intend to read.
*Underline the books you LOVE.
Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Thirty seven books. Not bad, but not great. Of course, some of these books I've read multiple times. Yep, even though "Pride and Prejudice" and "Sense and Sensibility" send me into a soul-sucking depression every time I read them, I keep going back. What does that say about me? No, I'd rather not know.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

No "if"s, "and"s or "but"s...

But plenty of BUTTS! For this week's Dogs on Thursday post, I give you Cabooses! Derrieres! Hineys!

Have I developed a sick fascination with doggy hineys? No! I just want to speak out against the barbaric practice of "docking" what would otherwise be beautiful tails on Brittanys and many other breeds of dogs. Yes, I've heard the arguments that it's "necessary" for working dogs, and that it doesn't hurt...Bull! Would any of us volunteer to have a portion of an appendage cut off, or our ears trimmed to make them pointy? Sheesh! Emma was the last dog that I purchased from a breeder, and we offered to pay in full before the puppies were born if the breeder would keep the tail on one of the puppies for us. He declined, because he didn't want to have one of "his" brittanys with a tail out and about in the world. Because of this, and of course the many, many dogs needing homes, I will not buy another brit from a breeder.

My first rescue brit was Tara, and she came with her beautiful tail intact! Just look at that lovely tail!

Of course, Cooper the new-comer has no tail, but hey - he needed a home, and I wasn't going to turn him away! Why is the United States still condoning the practice of docking tails and cropping ears? This is done for purely cosmetic reasons 99.99999% of the time, and should be outlawed just like it is in so many other countries. Just look at this list I stole from borrowed from Wikipedia.

Legal status of dog tail docking by country
Argentina: Unrestricted
Australia: Banned in all states and territories as of June 2004. Restricted to veterinarians, for welfare, not cosmetic.
Austria: Banned as of 1 January 2005
Belgium: Banned as pf 1 January 2006
Brazil: Banned for cosmetic purposes
Canada: Unrestricted
Chile: Unrestricted
Croatia: Banned
Cyprus: Banned in 1991
Czech Republic: Banned
Denmark: Banned as of 1 June 1996, with exceptions for five gun dog breeds
England: Restricted as of 2006 - can only be done by vet on a number of working dog breeds
Estonia: Banned as of 2001
Finland: Banned in 1992. Exception on tail docking, although banned on dog shows
France: Banned as of 4 August 2003
Germany: Banned on 1 May 1992, with exceptions for working gun dogs
Greece: Banned in 1991
Hungary: Banned
Iceland: Banned as of 2001
India: Unrestricted
Indonesia: Unrestricted
Ireland: Banned as of January 2008
Israel: Banned for cosmetic purposes in 2000.
Italy: Banned in Rome and Turin
Latvia: Banned
Lithuania: Banned
Luxembourg: Banned in 1991
Malaysia: Unrestricted
Mauritius: Unrestricted
Mexico: Unrestricted
Nepal: Unrestricted
Netherlands: Banned as of 1 September 2001
New Zealand: Unrestricted
Northern Ireland: Unrestricted tail docking, Ear Cropping Illegal.
Norway: Docking banned since 1987
Philippines: Unrestricted
Portugal: Unrestricted
Republic of Ireland: Unrestricted for dogs.
Russia: Unrestricted
Scotland: Banned as of 2006 for all breeds.
Singapore: Unrestricted
Slovakia: Banned as of 1 January 2003
South Africa: Banned as of June 2007
Sweden: Banned as of 1989.
Switzerland: Banned as of 1 July 1981 for the ears and 1988 for the tail
Taiwan: Unrestricted.
United States: Unrestricted (some states, including New York, and Vermont have considered bills to make the practice illegal)
Virgin Islands: Banned as of 2005
Wales: Same legislation as England

Come on, United States---join the many other civilized countries in the world who have already banned this barbaric practice!

OK, I'm getting down from my soapbox now. Whew!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yes, I have been knitting!

I knew it had been a while since I posted anything about knitting, but I didn't realize it had been way back in June! Shame on me!

So, here goes. This pair of socks is made from Online sock yarn.

The pattern is my standard mix of bits and pieces from other sock patterns. It occurred to me that I have never written it down, so here goes:

  • With size 0 needles, CO 80 stitches
  • Rib 2x2 for 24 rnds
  • Knit for 62 rnds
  • Garter stitch heel from Lucy Neatby's book Cool Socks Warm Feet worked over 60% of stitches
  • Knit for 62 rnds
  • Toe from Nancy Bush's St. Peter Port Stripe pattern from her Folk Socks book.
There, now it is written down for all eternity. Not that anyone else cares, but I'll know where to find it when I am old and senile, but still knitting away in a corner somewhere surrounded by my many dogs.

I received the book, yarn and needles for this pair in a swap from The Knitting Wildflower. (Thanks again, Cheryl!) The yarn is Island Jewels by Zona Blue Designs, and the pattern is "Twilight" from 2-at-a-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan Oakes.
The final three pictures are of caps that I made for Nichole's Chemo Cap Drive. Both of her parents have been diagnosed with the "C-word" recently, and are thankfully doing well. Nichole is collecting caps to give to the cancer center where her parents have undergone treatment. I used the Ripple Brim Chemo Cap pattern by Katherine Vaughan, and just jazzed it up a bit with some patterning.

Nichole, if you're reading this, I'll be putting these in the mail to you tomorrow. Hopefully.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Newest Additions for Dogs on Thursday

Since tomorrow is Cooper's two month anniversary here in BritKnitter-ville, I thought I would share a picture of how well he is adjusting to life as an "inside" dog. Here he is all snuggled up on the over-stuffed chair-and-a-half.

Hmmm, do you think he has settled in? He says that the chair is just the right size for him. He loves grabbing a hold of the loose cushions and shaking them like a shark. I know I should discourage this behaviour, but he enjoys himself so much, I just can't tell him "no". That, plus that fact that I'm laughing so hard at his goofy ways. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...a boy dog is a whole different animal from a girl dog!

Speaking of a whole different animal, you might have noticed the plural "Additions" in the title of this post. There has been another addition to BritKnitter-ville this week. No, not another dog. I think we are pretty much maxed out in the dog department, thank you very much.

Nope, this new addition is a machine:An eco-friendly machine.

An eco-friendly machine that averages 48.7 mpg, so far.

This car is a whole different animal from a regular car, or at least from my Honda Element. There are websites dedicated to "hyper-miling" the Prius, and "stealth mode" driving (using all electric and no gas). This wasn't my first (or second or third) choice of color, but they're so hard to get, I couldn't be choosy! I got it in Delaware from Price Toyota, and I can't say enough good things about this place. In the interest of full disclosure, my sister's nephew is the manager of the dealership, but they treat everyone (not just extended family) with kindness and respect. They are a no-haggle dealership - the prices on their cars have already been reduced to the max, so everyone who goes in there is getting their best deal. Of course, the Prius wasn't reduced, but at least they do not overcharge for the Prius by $3,000 to $5,000 over MSRP, unlike some other Toyota dealers I could mention here but won't because my mother taught me that if I don't have anything nice to say then I shouldn't say anything at all. Buying this car was actually an enjoyable experience. It was well worth the trip!

I had looked at the Prius a few years ago for the benefits to the environment, etc., but didn't think I could swing the additional cost. With gas prices these past couple of years, the up-front cost of a Prius is recouped very quickly. My Honda was only getting 20 to 22 mpg, so I figured that I could either pay more for a Prius car payment each month, or continue to dump money into the Honda's gas tank. I chose the bigger car payment! So there! Not only am I doing my small part to save the Earth, those big conglomerate oil companies aren't getting any more of my money than is absolutely necessary! Ooooh, they're shaking in their boots, aren't they?

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Jen is home and healing nicely after having her gall bladder removed, and I'm finally catching up on some stuff (like blog reading) that has been on the back burner all week. I had to share a couple of pictures of my nieces. They are 24 and 20 years old, have busy lives (school - jobs) and spend their free time with their friends instead of their doddery old aunts. They generally fight like cats & dogs, but like most sisters, they are there for each other when the going gets tough.

Here is Michelle doing her best to distract her big sister from the upcoming surgery.

Michelle is saying "If that doctor doesn't come and get you soon, I'll take that gall bladder out myself with this turkey baster!"

After surgery, Michelle said "Should we leave you alone so you can sleep?"
Jen said, " lay down next to me."

You should have seen the face on the nurse who came in to check on Jen! To the nurse's credit, though, she just took the readings she needed and let Michelle stay in the bed and offer comfort to her big sister.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Really? Thursday already?

I've been off again this week, and have lost track of the days. I can't believe it's Dogs on Thursday already. I don't have any cute doggy pictures to post today. I've been knitting (alot!) but don't have any pictures of that, either. What have I been doing on my week off? Worrying. My 24-year-old niece has been in the hospital since Monday night.

Hmmmm, I had a week off in July and my nephew spent a good portion of that time in the hospital. Could there be a connection? Nah. Unlike Zach (who will forever be named "pitchfork boy" in my head), Jen did not put a pitchfork through her foot. She's been sick as a dog (terrible expression!) for two weeks now, and was admitted to the hospital on Monday night to have her gall bladder removed pronto. Well, "pronto" apparently is a non-specific period of time, because here it is, 7:00 am on Thursday, and she still has the offending gall bladder inside her.

We're all hopeful it will come out this morning. Things have been complicated by Jen's seizure disorder (from the DPT vaccine - think long and hard about giving that to your babies!), and some numbers in the her bloodwork. One of the liver numbers is going down, while another continues to rise, so yet another Dr. is being called in to consult this morning. Poor Jen, just waiting and waiting and waiting, stuck in the hospital, worried that she will not be able to attend a friend's wedding this weekend. I offered to take the gall bladder out myself - all I need is a sharp knife and a turkey baster - but she politely declined my offer of assistance. Go figure!

5:30pm ETA: The surgery went very well, and she will likely be coming home from the hospital tonight!