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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dogs on Thursday

"We know it's raining...we want to come outside and play anyway. Then we can jump on your bed and wipe our muddy paws and dry ourselves off. Pleeeeeease let us out."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Welcome to the World

For everyone who sent "happy healthy baby" vibes this way, I have the pleasure of introducing......Alexis Sophia!

Mom and baby are doing fine, as you can see in this photo This is about 18 hours after the birth, and mommy and baby and are both as happy and healthy as can be.

Here is new mom, new baby, and new Gram.

Even though I'm her Aunt, I think Alexis is the most beautiful baby in the world. Little Lexi says "Wow, being born is hard work. I need a nap now."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What a Welcome! Pass the tissues...

For this week's installment of Dogs on Thursday, I decided to photograph the welcome I get each time I walk in the door. It goes something like this:
Emma: "Mommy's Home! Aaaaa-Chooo! Aaaaa-Chooo!"
Emma: "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! You're Home! Aaaaa-Choooo!"

Emma: "Hey, Tara, Mommy's Home! Aaaa-Chooo! "

Emma: "Hooray! Mommy's Home!"

Tara: "Yes, I see mommy's home. Welcome home mommy. Please let me out into the backyard so I can get away from Emma. She is sneezing on me."

Emma should be in the running for The Weirdest Dog award. Whenever she is really, really, happy, she curls her lips back and sneezes. Usually it's just when we get home from work, or her Grammy and Grampa come over for a visit. It is the funniest thing to see. What is it like getting sneezed on every day? I love it. Oh, and as much as my dad complains about it, he loves it, too!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Everywhere You Look.....Cats!

This past weekend, I helped move some stuff to my niece's new apartment. It's a unique situation, in that there are cats everywhere. Truly....everywhere. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, because she will be working for a cat sanctuary. It's really cool, but a little weird to see so many cats in one place. It's called Tabby's Place, and it's a non-profit organization that takes in cats who have nowhere else to go. If they can find a loving homes, great. Here is the list of cats, by the way. If not, the cats are welcome to stay at Tabby's Place (receiving the best of care) for as long as they live. How great is that?

Here's Jen outside the building.

This is the self-appointed guard cat, I suppose. I didn't get her name, but she was in this comfy bed by the door and stayed there the whole time we were walking around. You'll notice her lack of ears - she has cancer, and has had a couple of surgeries recently. This is the view into the lobby from the front door. There are several rooms that hold bunches of cats. One for weight control feedings, one for sick cats, etc. The only cage I saw was the one in the center of the lobby. It is for a paralyzed cat that uses one of those wheely-cart thingies to get around. When not in the cart, he can go back to his cage and be safe from other cats pestering him.This is a close-up of one of the cat rooms.
In addition to the cats in the rooms, there are also cats wandering around freely. Here is one enjoying a nap on a chair in the lobby. Note the hand-made blankets he is snuggled up with!
Here is another cat, who has appointed himself as guard of the fax machine. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it!
As an extra bonus, look what we found about 10 minutes from Jen's new apartment:
Yes, a yarn store! How lucky is that? We just had to stop in. Did you see the "sale" sign in the window? Who could resist? Just a little bit of stash enhancement. None of it was on sale, but that's OK.
Do you remember this post from just last week? You would think I could exercise the tiniest bit of self control, but noooo. I have already cast on for a pair of fingerless gloves.....

and a pair of socks.
I'm hopeless.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

(Reluctant) Dogs on Thursday

Happy Dogs on Thursday! This week I decided to have one of my girls model the SWS hat that I have been knitting. Who gets the honor of modeling the hat? Well, Emma can run faster than Tara, so Tara it is. I give you Tara (a.k.a. TaTa Dog, Tatters, Tattoo, Toodle-Oooo) sporting the latest in unfinished headwear.

The yarn is Paton's Soy Wool Stripes from my Secret Pal (thanks SP!) and the pattern was found on Ravelry. The model was patient, to a point, then just wanted to get the "photo shoot" over with and get paid. In treats, of course!