Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chills... in a good way!

I heard about this today on NPR. It gave me chills, and still does every time I watch it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In Which The Chain Of Shame Gets A Little Smaller...

It's been just three months since I buckled down, got the lead out, put the nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, (and various other idioms) and began the long, looooong road of getting out of debt. You may remember this visual aid from a previous post.

It's the Chain of Shame I made to represent the amount of debt I have. Sickening, right? Well, today it got a bit smaller. I removed a pretty big (actually pretty small, when you consider the whole chain, but we won't go there) section from the chain, and had a little fun with it.

Yes indeed, I made Tara parade around the house wearing the section removed from the Chain of Shame! Lots of fun for me, but not so much fun for Tara... After I was done making her suffer... er, taking photos of her, I took the chain representing three months of hard (glitter-filled) work....

...and added it to a bunch of leaves and pine needles in the outdoor fireplace...

...and set that baby on fire!!!!

What a good feeling!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Attempt at Some Very Lame Excuses...

Contrary to popular belief, I am still alive and well. Neglectful of the blog, tired all the time, and after working 14 hours in a day I feel like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest (to quote the late Captain Phil of the Cornelia Marie), but I am still alive. Everyone here is just fine, and I hope you all are doing well, too. The babes are all happy and healthy, and mom and dad celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary this week. 55 years! Sheesh! I haven't read a single blog since Halloween, but promise to get caught up with everybody this week. I hope. Between both jobs, today was my first day off this month. I even worked Thanksgiving day, but the way I look at it, I should be thankful to have a job. Well, two jobs.

I can't mention the name of my second job since all employees had to sign some kind of legal document saying that we wouldn't mention the name of the company in any "social media", but I didn't sign it until after I had already mentioned it in a previous post, so I figure I'm OK. That might be flawed logic, but I can't worry about it. To refresh your memory, my second job is at a big chain of craft stores... you know the one... it starts with an "M" and rhymes with... well, it doesn't really rhyme with anything. You can scroll back a few posts, if you really care, but from here on I will call it "Glitter World", which is a much more descriptive name for the place, anyway.

Other than the masses of glitter that I end up with all over my clothes, in my hair, in my eyes, etc. (I am sooooo sick of glitter!) it's really not bad. Everyone I work with is so nice, and the customers are great. Hey, we're all crafters, and crafters are wonderful people, right? I have even managed to NOT buy a single skein of yarn. None! In fact, I haven't bought a thing in my two months at Glitter World. 100% of every paycheck has been applied to my Visa card, but that's really a post for another day.

For now, I will just leave you with a couple of photos I took this morning. You might ask what I wanted to do on my first day off in a month. No question about it, I wanted to go to Fortescue. It was too cold and windy to walk on the beach, but I did manage to snap a couple of photos of the water.

Of course, I had to drive by "my" house to make sure it is still for sale.


It is... not that I have the money to buy it. It's nice to know it's still there, though.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dogs on Thursday, Halloween Edition

Hey, blog buddies...It's Emma, and I am hijacking the blog. Our momma has been so busy working two jobs that she has been seriously neglecting us, not to mention the blog, so we decided to take matters into our own hands. I mean, what are the chances that she would have gotten her act together and written a Dogs on Thursday post? Slim and none, I would say. So, without further ado, I present this humble offering, and wish one and all a Happy Halloween.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Cast, in order of appearance:
Mad Scientist.....................Emma
Bride of Frankenstein........Lizzie

Inspired by.....Emma
Written by.......Emma
Directed by.....Emma
Produced by....Emma
Casting by.......Emma

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Video Dogs on Thursday

Yes, I know I have missed two Dogs on Thursday posts. No excuse, other than the fact that I am obviously a very bad dog mommy! To make up for this lack of attention to the dogs (and the blog), I am including, for your viewing pleasure, a clip of the babes eating their breakfast this morning. It might be weird to some people that I filmed the babes eating, but I happen to think that the sound of dogs enjoying their food is one of the best sounds in the world. I just love the slurp-slurp-slurp sounds. It shows that the food is good, the babes have a hearty appetite, and for them, all is right with the world.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where Did My Comfort Zone Go?

Just a quick post to thank everyone for their good wishes for my new part time job at Michaels. I had training on Saturday and worked the cash register on Sunday. It went well, I think. I was a bit out of my comfort zone, though...starting my first new job in 20 years. Sheesh, do I feel old.

At the risk of revealing my advanced age, the last time I worked a cash register, that's exactly what it was... a cash register. You actually had to punch in some numbers and do some math. Not any more. Now they have these new-fangled things they call computers and with fancy hand-held scanners. Amazing!

I managed to resist temptation and didn't buy a single thing. Not a skein of yarn, no needles, nothing. That doesn't mean I didn't come home without anything, though. After working the register all day on Sunday, I was covered with glitter. Yes, indeedie, glitter! I can't tell you how many of those holiday garlands, swags and bunches of flowers I had to separate and scan, then wrestle into shopping bags. Those things are covered with glitter, and as a result, so was I. I had glitter everywhere. On my clothes, in my hair, in my eyes... I think I even ate some glitter. I even took a picture of myself when I got home Sunday night:

ZZgold glitter me
Now that's a lot of glitter!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

GOOD Post #2

It's been almost a month since my last Getting Out Of Debt post. What has kept me from updating? I've been waiting for something good to report. After doing the math, I realized that at the rate I am going, I will be out of debt in approximately a gazillion years. Give or take a few kajillion years. It's true. Math doesn't lie. Given this unsavory reality, I had no choice but to buy a boat-load of yarn. Nope, just kidding. Really, I went to a spa and for a massage and a mani-pedicure. Gotcha again!

Seriously, several weeks ago I applied for part time work at several local stores. Eight to be exact. A week went by, and no one called, begging me to come and work for them.

Very curious...

Then two weeks went by, and still no calls.

Very depressing...

Three weeks went by, and what do you know...a phone call! I was interviewed over the phone (while doing the dance of joy) and asked to come in for an in-person interview.

Very nerve-wracking. This was my first interview in 20 years. How old do I feel?

That was last week. It went well, I think, and I was told I would hear on Tuesday.

The phone rang last night. It was the store manager. I wasn't supposed to hear until Tuesday. I'm getting the call on Monday. Is this good news? It can't be. Can it? I've had no other calls in response to my applications, and now this place (which just happened to be my first choice of a second job) doesn't want me. What now? Will I ever get out of debt? No. I will be a homeless old woman, living in a chicken coop, surrounded by my dogs. I will be muttering things like "If only I didn't have so much debt" and "Why didn't I plan for retirement?"

But wait, I'm still on the phone with the store manager. I had better pay attention to what he is saying...

What do you know... I got the job! I start on Saturday! Woo Hoo! Where will I be working?

michaels logo
Michaels... and I'll get a discount on yarn! Hmmmm. I don't have a "yarn" category in my new budget. No problem. I'll charge it!

Oh, no... What have I done?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dogs on Thursday on Friday, again

Yes, it's Friday. I didn't manage to post Dogs on Thursday on Thursday again this week. It might have something to do with lack of sleep. We had a major thunderstorm move through the area late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning. You know what that means... Cooper was in a panic.

Cooper's pills we got from the Vet don't work, his Thundershirt isn't working, and his herbal calming collar isn't working. The poor boy was pacing and digging and pacing and digging for hours. HOURS! He gets a glazed look in his eyes and there is nothing you can do to calm him down. Of course, when he gets like that, no one gets any sleep. When the storm is finally over, he takes about a half hour to calm down and go to sleep. Unfortunately, it takes me a lot longer!

The good new is that my poor boy didn't have to get up and go to work in the morning. He managed to drag himself out of bed to eat a hearty breakfast, then stumbled to the nearest soft spot and collapsed.


If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I want to come back as a dog. I think it's time for another trip to the Vet to get something stronger. Valium maybe? I might share some with Cooper, too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dogs on Thursday on Friday...again

Dogs on Thursday completely got by me this week. No excuses. No good excuses, anyway. I'll try and do better next week. ~sigh~

Anyway, remember the neighbor's chickens from this post? The ones that have been taunting the dogs? One of those not-too-terribly-bright chickens decided to make a nest and lay some eggs. Now, it's not the nest that I object to, it's the location of the nest. It is so close to the fence that the dogs can taste those eggs. Literally.

Not too smart of that silly chicken. Here is a video that I took yesterday of the dogs and chickens.

The real fun part is that Spartacus (the rooster) feels the need to hover around the nest and display his machismo whenever the dogs or I are out in the yard.


It wouldn't be so bad, except that he is not content to simply flap his wings and cock-a-doodle-doo. He feels need to chase you, which can be might inconvenient when you need to get to work in the morning. I've told him he's going to end up on a rotisserie, but I think he knows it's just an empty threat. Maybe I should play him this video clip from Cold Mountain. It's one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies:

Take that, you floggin' rooster!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Need a laugh?

Watch this. It's the funniest commercial EVER!

Friday, September 10, 2010

GOOD Post #1

Welcome to GOOD Post #1? What is GOOD? I'm glad you asked. GOOD is my acronym for Getting Out Of Debt. Recently, a good friend told be about Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.
z ramsey tmmo_book_2010
I read this book, and it has changed the way I look at money...more specifically the lack of it. My previous retirement plan was to die young. That's right. Live for today and hope tomorrow never comes. Or at least hope that I won't have all that many tomorrows to worry about. There seems to be a little problem with the execution of my plan, though. (No pun intended.) I haven't died yet, and I no longer consider myself "young." Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it looks like I will be on the earth for a little while yet. ::sigh::

OK then, time to take the proverbial bull by the horns. I'm sure there are lots of ways to do it, (robbing banks? prostitution?) but I decided to do it legally, the Dave Ramsey way. Below, I've broken down his Baby Steps into an uber-simplified version. If you want to know more, ask me. No, wait... I'm hardly an expert. I'm following his plan with the blind faith of a sheep following a shepherd. Baaaaa. If you have any questions, buy his book, or get a copy from your local library. In a nutshell, here is Dave's Plan.

Baby Step 1: Save a thousand dollars. This is your Baby Emergency Fund. It is there so that while I am busy getting rid of debt, I won't go further into debt if WHEN something goes wrong.

Baby Step 2: Pay off your debts (except mortgage), putting every spare penny that you can on the smallest debt, while paying minimums on the rest of them to keep them current. When the smallest debt is paid off, you can pat yourself on the back for being so hardworking and clever, and then move on to the next smallest debt, adding what you were paying on the first debt to whatever spare cash you have to pay off debt #2 until that is paid off. Then, congratulate yourself for being so hardworking and clever again, and move on until all debts are paid off. This stage is called the “debt snowball”.

Baby Step 3: Increase the Baby Emergency Fund until it’s a full fledged emergency fund of three to six months of living expenses. Wow. Seems like a lot, but I'm determined to do it when I get my debts paid off.

Baby Step 4: Start putting fifteen percent of your income into retirement savings. This is on the assumption that my initial plan of dying young is not going to come to fruition.

Baby Step 5: Save for kids’ college. WHEW! This is just reason #2,498,589 why I never had kids. No college savings. Although if I did have kids, they would be in college right now and I would be totally screwed. Or rather THEY would be totally screwed. Hey, I paid for my own education, so any mythical, imaginary kids of mine can do the same thing!

Baby Step 6: Pay off the mortgage. Mortgage? You have to have a house to have a mortgage, right? So I guess I can check this one off... In place of steps 5 and 6, I don't see why I can't substitute my own:

Baby Step 5&6: Save for my dream house. Do you think this one will still be up for sale?

Yeah, I don't think so either...

Baby Step 7:
Continue to grow wealth. Give some away, have fun with some. Live like no one else. If I live that long.

So there it is. I've been on this GOOD journey for not quite a month now, and it came to me last weekend that I needed a visual representation of my debt. I channeled the inner School Teacher in me, and I made a paper chain.
Nice, huh? All those years of college getting my degree in Elementary Education didn't go to waste after all!

Each link in the chain represents $100 of debt.
Holy cow. That's a lot of links. That's a lot of money!
How did this happen?

After finishing the chain I wanted to cry.

And then throw up.

And then go to bed and never get back up.

And then pray for a Comet to come and smash into the earth to put me out of my misery.

After I indulged myself by acting like a child for a good 10 minutes, I decided it's time to put on my big girl panties (so to speak) and deal with it.

I'm determined to do this thing.

I will be debt free.


So anyway, from time to time I will be blogging about my journey out of hell , umm, debt. The silver lining to this black cloud of debt is that if I never make another yarn purchase, I have enough sock yarn...

DSCF4122 last me a good long time!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Saying Goodbye

This is a very sad Dogs on Thursday. Yesterday we said goodbye to an extended member of the family. Her name was Honey and she had the good fortune to live with my friend Kris. Kris has two other brittanys, Maggie and Ashley (in addition to a husband and four kids), so Honey had a life full of love and laughter and lots of food dropped from toddlers in high chairs.

Here is a picture of Honey the last time she and her sisters and her human siblings came down to Britknitterville to play with Emma, Tara and Cooper.

Sorry, but that's the best shot I have of her. You can imagine the chaos of six brits running around-- no one was interested in sitting for a picture!

Goodbye, sweet Honey. We will see you on the other side of the rainbow bridge. In the meantime, enjoy this time you will be spending with all of the beloved dogs who have gone on before you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dogs (and Chickens) on Thursday

Cooper here!
Cooper head only
I'll be your host for this week's Dogs on Thursday. For the second week in a row, we have been invaded by evil pests just in time for the DOT post. Last week it was evil cats, this week it is evil CHICKENS!
Momma calls them Spartacus (for the bad-boy rooster) and Hanna and her Sisters. She can't tell the hens apart, so they're all either Hanna or Sister.

These pesky strays are always hanging around. Momma isn't sure where they live, but the certainly like to visit us. They eat the birdseed out of the bird feeders, and the cat food right off of the cat's plates. Guess what their favorite flavor is... Chicken! Stupid cannibals...

But I digress. This morning, Spartacus came right up to the fence and started pecking at us through the gate! The nerve of that feathery beast! Doesn't he know that Brittanys are bird dogs?
We had no choice but to teach that bird brain a lesson! That's me there, on the left, with Tara and Emma. I figured I should hang back and let the girls take the lead.
Eventually Tara got bored, but Emma was nose to nose with that evil bird. Again, I was a strong back-up.

Yeah, that's right... Get on outta' here, you flea bitten bag of feathers.

Run away, just like the chickens you are!
My work here is done!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Knitting Content!

It's been a loooooong time since I published any knitting content on the blog. I scrolled back looking for anything knitting related, and the blog is all dogs, dogs, dogs. Humans and geese are interspersed here and there, but it's mostly dogs. No apologies for all-dogs-all-the-time, but knitting content is long overdue.

So, what have I been knitting? Socks. 95% of my knitting is socks. Pretty boring, I admit, so I'm lumping all of the socks that I finished over the weekend into one photo.

Nine pair! Count 'em...nine pair! Of course, when I say I "finished" them over the weekend, it just means I finally got around to tackling the basket where I throw all of the socks that are done except for the weaving in of all of the loose ends. Can you tell that weaving ends is not my favorite part of sock knitting? Detailed information will be on my projects page on Ravelry in the near future, for all who care.

So, if 95% of my knitting has been socks, what about the other 5%? Over the winter I worked on Wendy Johnson's Order to Chaos Shawl. Big project. Scary-big for someone who has never attempted a lace project that large, but I kept plugging along, and I am so happy with the results. The most fun had to be the blocking. OK, it was a tiny bit tedious, but what a transformation! Here is a shot of it before pinning:

And here is a shot after pinning!

What a difference, right? I should have included tape measures in the photos, 'cause this sucker is huge! Here a detail shot of the center. That neat little hole in the center makes me so happy!
Detail shot of the edging. So cool!
Here is a shot of it draped over a bench at work.

I did the blocking on the floor of the museum. I spread a tablecloth out over the carpet, dampened the shawl, and stretched and pinned the heck out of that sucker. I left it like that for a few days. This was when we were closed to visitors, of course. Although I guess I could have just put up barriers and labeled the whole thing as an art installation... Just a thought...

I know some of you might be wondering why I didn't do the blocking at home. Well, there are three certain somebodies at home who would LOVE to be helpers in blocking a lace shawl, but that kind of help I don't need. I can just picture these little hooligans walking all over the lace, digging at the knitting, eating the pins...horrors! I certainly wouldn't point fingers or name names, you understand...

Emma, Tara, Cooper

Then again, maybe I would.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dogs on Thursday

It's me, Emma, taking over this week's Dogs on Thursday. I like to think that I'm as tolerant as the next dog, but these stray cats around here are getting my knickers in a twist! It's one thing for them to hang around OUTSIDE of the fenced-in yard, but when they venture INTO the yard, that's another thing altogether. Take a look at what we saw this morning:


Mom took that picture of me (in the middle) with Cooper and Tara. Outside on the ramp to our you see what that is??? A cat! An evil cat!

I begged mom to let us out into the back yard so we could teach that evil cat a lesson. She refused! She let us out into the side yard, but there was a stupid fence between us and the evil cat.

Wait a minute... Look a little closer... There are TWO evil cats on the ramp!

Mom calls the gray one Lizzie and the black one Joanie. I call them both evil. Mom says we have to be good to the strays because they're hungry and have no place else to go. I've got news for her... I can tell them where to go!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm still alive...

I can't believe it's been so long since my last blog post. It's been since July? How can that be? I haven't even read anyone else's blog in weeks. I am so behind! In my last post I said I ...have lots of excuses... and ...just need to get my act together. Clearly, that did not happen. This has been a month of ups and downs.

roller coaster

Seriously, totally, incredibly high "ups". But you know what they say... "What goes up must come down," and boy did I come down. So here is the question, is it worth it? Who can say? More on that later.

Where to begin? Everyone knows I have been yearning to buy a house in Fortescue. You remember... this tiny, totally adorable, impractical one:


Well, on one of my weekly "visits" to the house, which I of course refer to as "my house", we found this house:

Louisiana Ave, Fortescue

It's not so tiny, with 3 bedrooms and a bath and a half. As an added bonus, you can actually fit a double size bed in two of the bedrooms, unlike "MY" house where you can just (barely) fit a twin bed. This not-so-tiny house also happens to be for sale, but as an added bonus it is also available for rent. I have come to the realization that the only way I will ever live in Fortescue is on a rental basis, since the only house I can afford to buy looks something like this:


Anyway, we got permission for the dogs to stay at the rental house, and just like that, we were going on vacation! Even though it was only about 30 minutes from home, this was the first time since 1997 that we planned a week's vacation, so it totally counts as a bona fide vacation.

As it turns out, the dogs are much happier in their own fenced-in-yard. Especially Emma. She views the leash as a punishment. Here is a shot of the babes on the beach at Fortescue.


The dog clinging to my sister's leg? That's Emma. She is never on a leash unless she's going to the Vet, and nothing could convince her that being on a leash on the beach was supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Most nights we just stayed at home and then drove to Fortescue during the day. It was great to have the house to store the boat and kayaks so we didn't have to trailer them back and forth each day.

So back to the ups and downs.... One day last August, I answered the phone at work, and had the shock of my life--it was a really great guy who I last saw the day before he left to join the army in 1987. He found me thanks to the museum's website. (God Bless the Internet!)

The seriously high "up" is that he flew to New Jersey and spent 5 days here.

The seriously low "down" is that he left to go back home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dogs on Thursday on Friday

Well, another week has come and gone, and all I have managed to post is another Dogs On Thursday, only this one isn't on Thursday, it's on Friday. My excuse for this negligence? Well, I have lots of excuses, but none of them are any good, really. I just need to get my act together.

Anyway, when I stopped at mom and dad's yesterday on my way to work, mom gave me her copy of a recent Orvis catalog of dog products. Look at this little face:

I don't know if you can read it, but in the upper right hand corner, it says "Cooper questions authority." Cooper!!! Another brittany named Cooper, and he shows up in a magazine! My Cooper wants to know why they always picture the sweet young puppies to sell products. He says he can question authority as good as that young whippersnapper!

Just take a look at this face!
I'll buy anything this sweet boy is selling!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quickie Dogs on Thursday

This is a quick one, so forgive me, but remember Cup o' Joe from this post and this post? You know, the teeny tiny poodle my niece fostered? He needed surgery for a broken leg.

Good news - he got medical clearance and went to his forever home this week! Another successful rescue! Good job Jen!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Working Dogs on Thursday

For this week's Dogs on Thursday, I give you a real working dog. Cooper!
Yes, Cooper came to work with me one day this week, and he was a big help. He had a very busy day. He tried to get a banana off of my desk.
He "surfed" around to the other side of the desk, knocking books and papers onto the floor.He tried to help with shelving books, but only succeeded in un-shelving them.
After all that, he needed a nap...
...and so did I!

And yes, my desk really IS that messy. I can't blame that on Cooper.