Tuesday, November 3, 2009

No! No! No! No!

No, this isn't another NoNoNoNo photo post.

I've totally botched the Ice Queen cowl I was making. I've frogged it, and I'm going to start it again. I'm inexplicably dropping stitches and not discovering it until 40+ rows later. The stitches weren't unraveling (thanks to my lifelines), but they were too far away--and there are yarnovers and knit-togethers--and it was just not possible to recover.

(This photo is about 20 rows in. I had 60+ rows when I ripped back.)

But I am not going to be defeated by simple yarnovers and knit-togethers. It's a simple feather-and-fan pattern(!), and I've done that before. I think the problem is just super-thin yarn on very slippery needles. Since the yarn sticks to itself a bit (it's alpaca), dropped stitches don't show up as such. I only noticed several unattached loops as I was looking back at the beginning section. I'm just going to have to be obsessive about counting stitches (there are 26 to 18 stitches in each pattern repeat); and if there's a stitch missing I've got to stop assuming that I skipped a yarnover and start looking for something that has been dropped.

NoNoNoNo 4-13

Dogs in torment:



No one's tongue is long enough!

Note: The dogs were supervised the whole time they were polishing off the peanut butter jars. When they no longer could lick and started to chew the jars, I took the jars from them, scraped out the last tablespoon of peanut butter (extra crunchy), and spread it on a dog biscuit. If you try this at home, make sure you have enough jars to have one for each dog. Otherwise, there could be warfare.

Yesterday, it was turkey necks. Waiting for delivery:


(Note that they're hooked to different posts in the carport.)

Sam is concentrating:


The lady-like Jacey:


(The SciFi channel recently reran the original series V. Remember how the aliens could dislocate their lower jaws to devour huge chunks of food--something that boa constrictors can do, too? Jacey may be an alien. Or a boa.)

The landscapers recently cleared lots of vegetation and debris from the banks of the creek. See the 3-foot-diameter pipes?


Compare that to the same location in September:


That's a very sturdy little bridge. If it goes, though, I'm stranded. There's no way out of the condo complex that doesn't involve crossing that bridge. And there have been a couple of occasions when water has been over the top of the bridge. Fortunately, I live on the high bank--and the high end of the high bank--so I'm actually not in the flood plain.

And some local vegetation seems confused about what season it is:




But this tree seems to be getting into the seasonal spirit:


Sunday, November 1, 2009

NoNoNoNo 1-3

November is national novel-writing month--NaNoWriMo. Participants make themselves crazy trying to write a 50,000-word novel in one month.

But, as friends of mine realized, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then 50 pictures equal one novel...with a lot less pain. So several of us are celebrating Non-national Non-novel Non-writing Non-month--NoNoNoNo. Here are my first three entries.

Two knitting projects underway. Socks for my sister for Christmas:


The pattern is called Jaywalkers. The yarn is KnitPicks Felici in the Martinique colorway. (It politely stripes itself, thank you very much!) One sock is to the point where I'm ready to start the heel; the other has a few more rows to go to match the length of the first.

And a cowl/smoke-ring for my nephew's wife:


If you look closely, you can see the beads. (You can click through to the photo on Flickr.) The pattern is called Ice Queen. The yarn is Misti Baby Alpaca. The pattern calls for 80+ rows, and I've done a little more than 20. The white threads you see are lifelines: bits of thread run through the stitches so that if I drop stitches or run into some other problem, I can rip back to a point where all the stitches were correct and were captured on the lifeline. (There's also a provisional cast-on, which is all the white thread at the beginning edge.) Eventually, there will be a second cowl--in white with the same beads; that will be for the other nephew's girlfriend.

And an Owwie!:


The upper dark place you see is an old scar--one she had when she came to me. The red mark is, happily, a scratch rather than an actual cut--an angry scratch that didn't quite break the skin. I have no idea how she managed to do this, but my best guess is that it had something to do with Sam.

Doesn't it always?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Well, he's done it again.

I had a partial bag of Nutro Ultra sealed up and waiting to be returned to the store. (We're no longer serving Nutro here, but that's another story.)

This morning--my day off--I slept a bit late, then walked the dogs. While out, I saw my neighbor's new puppy. I didn't go near the puppy with my two--Sam's not allowed puppies as snacks--so I took my guys home, left them inside, and went back out to visit with the puppy. And while I was outside, Sam went for the opened bag of Nutro Ultra.

The bag is upright--and tall--and he didn't pull it over. He had to stand on his back legs and stick his head down inside the bag, then inside the drawstringed plastic trash bag, to get to the kibble. When I came back in the house, he yanked his head out of the bag and trotted innocently back into the living room.

I couldn't tell how much kibble he'd inhaled. I went to feed Jacey, while I debated how much of his usual 1.5-cup breakfast I should withhold. I heard those very distinctive noises from the living room and came out of the kitchen to discover he'd upchucked about half a cup of kibble. While I was cleaning that, he upchucked another half cup. I got that cleaned up and started checking on Sam--and he was moaning and groaning. This is not typical with him. He's eaten raw potatoes and danced around like nothing was wrong.

Greyhounds--like other big-chested dogs--are at risk for bloat, and Sam was acting like that was a very real possibility. So I hauled him outside, pried his jaws apart, and poured some hydrogen peroxide down his throat. We waited a bit--nothing happened. I gave him a bit more. Bingo!

He started throwing up--probably threw up another two cups or more of kibble--and all the kibble was coming up covered with thick white foam. There'd been some foam when he got sick in the house, but there was lots of it when he got sick outside. His moaning discomfort, I think, was just gas, the result of his having eaten more in one five-minute binge than he normally eats in a day.

Anyway, he threw up half a dozen times outside, and finally was down to just bile. I took him back inside and let him have some water. After an hour, I let him have half his usual breakfast. An hour after that, I let him have the rest of his breakfast. He's been fine ever since (okay for 4 hours now)--bouncing around and his usual self.

But I've stayed home today. I'll do my errand-running tomorrow, but I didn't want to risk leaving him home alone this morning if he was going to be sick again. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is a vacation day, and I'll do my running around then.

And the next time I go visit with a puppy, I'm leaving muzzled dogs* at home.

*At least Jacey stayed out of trouble. I suspect Sam got snarky with her and threatened her. Food is the one thing he'll defend, and she's smart enough to know it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I've created a monster!

Or two.

Green beans are recommended for dogs as a low-fat, healthy treat you can give a dog who's convinced he's starving--without adding a lot of calories. About a week ago, I got a bag of frozen green beans, and I started adding a handful of the frozen beans to the dinner dishes for the dogs.

The first night, Jacey gave me an uncertain look, reluctantly tried her first green bean, looked thoughtfully at me after she chewed it and swallowed it, then ate the rest of the beans and her kibble. Sam, of course, never hesitated: he instantly went nose-down in his bowl and gobbled down everything. One good thing was that both dogs actually had to chew the beans: they're cut a little large for the dogs' usual habit of swallowing food whole.

And since then, the dogs have had a handful of beans every night and have eaten them all.

Tonight, I was tired when I got home, and wasn't really thinking when I fed the dogs. I just scooped out a cup-and-a-half of kibble for each dog and gave them their bowls. (I did remember the dogs' pills: thyroid, fish oil, glucosamine.) The dogs ate their dinner just fine.

For the next two hours, if I went near the kitchen, if I even looked toward the kitchen, both dogs came to attention, Jacey usually running to the kitchen door to wait for me.

I finally got the message: I gave each dog a handful of frozen green beans.

Now the dogs are blissfully stretched out, sound asleep.

And I need to stock up on more frozen green beans. If I forget, I'm sure someone will remind me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An auction for the hounds

Our local rescue group, SEGA (Southeastern Greyhound Adoptions), is the sponsor and beneficiary of an auction at the Carpe Canem Web site. Many of the items are dog-related, but there are some non-hound items...including a baby surprise jacket with booties, and two doilies, donated by someone who does lots of that sort of thing. ;)

The auction starts Tuesday the 23rd at 10 am (Eastern) and ends Monday the 29th at 10 pm (Eastern). Take a look, and see what you can find for your own dogs or as gifts for your dog-owning friends.


1939 was a phenomenal year in Hollywood. One incredible movie topped another one as future movie classics rolled out of the studios.

That was 70 years ago, and TCM is paying tribute to that year during the month of July. Every Thursday evening, TCM will be showing 1939 movies (listings below taken from the TCM Web site):

The 2nd
  • 8:00 PM The Wizard Of Oz (1939): A Kansas farm girl dreams herself into a magical land where she must fight a wicked witch to escape. Cast: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr. Dir: Victor Fleming. C-102 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS
  • 10:00 PM 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year (2009): This documentary focuses on 1939, considered to be Hollywood's greatest year, with film clips and insight into what made the year so special. BW-75 mins, TV-G, CC
  • 11:15 PM The Women (1939): A happily married woman lets her catty friends talk her into divorce when her husband strays. Cast: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell. Dir: George Cukor. BW-133 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS
  • 1:30 AM Ninotchka (1939): A coldhearted Soviet agent is warmed up by a trip to Paris and a night of love. Cast: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire. Dir: Ernst Lubitsch. BW-111 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS
  • 3:30 AM Babes in Arms (1939): A group of second-generation entertainers puts on a show to launch their careers. Cast: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Charles Winninger. Dir: Busby Berkeley. BW-96 mins, TV-G, CC, DVS
  • 5:15 AM The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle (1939): True story of the dancing team who taught the world to two-step. Cast: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver. Dir: H.C. Potter. BW-94 mins, TV-G, CC
The 9th
  • 8:00 PM Union Pacific (1939): A crooked politician tries to stop construction of the first intercontinental railroad. Cast: Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Preston. Dir: Cecil B. DeMille. BW-135 mins, TV-PG, CC
  • 10:30 PM Dodge City (1939): A soldier of fortune takes on the corrupt boss of a Western town. Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ann Sheridan. Dir: Michael Curtiz. C-104 mins, TV-PG, CC
  • 12:30 AM Stagecoach (1939): A group of disparate passengers battle personal demons and each other while racing through Indian country. Cast: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, George Bancroft. Dir: John Ford. BW-96 mins, TV-G, CC
  • 2:15 AM The Oklahoma Kid (1939): A cowboy sets out to avenge his father's lynching. Cast: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane. Dir: Lloyd Bacon. BW-81 mins, TV-PG, CC
  • 3:45 AM Blind Alley (1939): When a gangster takes him hostage, a psychiatrist psychoanalyzes the criminal. Cast: Ralph Bellamy, Chester Morris, Ann Dvorak. Dir: Charles Vidor. BW-69 mins, TV-PG
  • 5:00 AM Each Dawn I Die (1939): A crusading reporter becomes a hardened convict when he's framed. Cast: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan. Dir: William Keighley. BW-92 mins, TV-PG, CC
The 16th
  • 8:00 PM Stanley and Livingstone (1939): An American newspaper searches Africa for a lost explorer. Cast: Spencer Tracy, Nancy Kelly, Richard Greene. Dir: Henry King, Otto Brower BW-101 mins, , CC
  • 10:00 PM Beau Geste (1939): Three brothers in the French foreign legion fight off murderous Arabs and a sadistic sergeant. Cast: Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-113 mins, TV-PG
  • 12:00 AM Golden Boy (1939): A crooked promoter lures a young violinist to give up music for boxing. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Adolphe Menjou, William Holden. Dir: Rouben Mamoulian. BW-99 mins, TV-PG
  • 2:00 AM Gunga Din (1939): Three British soldiers seek treasure during an uprising in India. Cast: Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Victor McLaglen. Dir: George Stevens. BW-117 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS
  • 4:00 AM Only Angels Have Wings (1939): A team of flyers risks their lives to deliver the mail in a mountainous South American country. Cast: Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, Rita Hayworth. Dir: Howard Hawks. BW-121 mins, TV-PG, CC
The 23rd
  • 8:00 PM Of Mice and Men (1939): A drifter and his slow-witted pal try to make their way in the West. Cast: Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr., Betty Field. Dir: Lewis Milestone. BW-106 mins, TV-14
  • 10:00 PM Dark Victory (1939): A flighty heiress discovers inner strength when she develops a brain tumor. Cast: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart. Dir: Edmund Goulding. BW-104 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS
  • 12:00 AM Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939): A cold-hearted teacher becomes the school favorite when he's thawed by a beautiful young woman. Cast: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Paul Henreid. Dir: Sam Wood. BW-114 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS
  • 2:00 AM Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939): An idealistic Senate replacement takes on political corruption. Cast: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains. Dir: Frank Capra. BW-130 mins, TV-G, CC
  • 4:15 AM The Old Maid (1939): An unmarried mother gives her illegitimate child to her cousin. Cast: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Jane Bryan. Dir: Edmund Goulding. BW-95 mins, TV-PG, CC
The 30th
  • 8:00 PM Gone With the Wind (1939): Classic tale of Scarlett O'Hara's battle to save her beloved Tara and find love during the Civil War. Cast: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland. Dir: Victor Fleming. C-233 mins, TV-PG, CC, DVS
  • 12:00 AM The Rains Came (1939): A Hindu doctor's affair with a British noblewoman is disrupted by a violent flood. Cast: Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, George Brent. Dir: Clarence Brown. BW-104 mins, TV-PG, CC
  • 2:00 AM Wuthering Heights (1939): A married noblewoman fights her lifelong attraction to a charismatic gypsy. Cast: Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon, Geraldine Fitzgerald. Dir: William Wyler. BW-104 mins, TV-PG, CC
  • 4:00 AM Intermezzo: A Love Story (1939): A married violinist deserts his family when he falls for his accompanist. Cast: Leslie Howard, Ingrid Bergman, Edna Best. Dir: Gregory Ratoff. BW-70 mins, TV-14, CC
  • 5:15 AM Love Affair (1939): Near-tragic misunderstandings threaten a shipboard romance. Cast: Charles Boyer, Irene Dunne, Maria Ouspenskaya. Dir: Leo McCarey. BW-86 mins, TV-G, CC

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Never thought I'd be grateful for a dog who gulps his food.

But yay, Sam!

Three days of Panacur and six days of Metronidazole didn't help his digestive issues, so the vet changed Sam over to Tylan powder (.5 ml, 2xdaily for 3 weeks). Tylan tastes lousy, I've been told, and folks who have mixed the powder with their chow-hound's food have found Fido going on a hunger strike.

Sam is used to getting his thyroid pills wrapped in a bit of cheese, and he just gulps them down. (Thyroid pills are tiny; putting them in cheese is a way to make sure they get swallowed, and not just flicked across the room by someone's big, floppy tongue. Both dogs get thyroid pills.) So I've just been using a bigger piece of cheese and putting the Tylan powder in the center (with a thyroid pill) and rolling up the cheese and popping it into the boy's mouth. He's gulped his meds down like a champ!

But I'm tempted to ask the vet to check that they actually gave me Tylan powder...and not unadulterated caffeine. After two days on the Tylan, Sam's got more energy than the Energizer Bunny, and he's throwing his toys and chasing them.

Then, of course, he sacks out on the dog bed and sleeps the sleep of the thoroughly exhausted greyhound. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sam redux

Sam's home from the vet. He's on Metronidazole (aka Flagyl) for the next 6 days (at least), and Panacur for 3 days. Panacur (aka Febendazole) is a powder you mix with the dog's soft food, so Sam's getting canned food once a day for a while (he doesn't mind the taste of the Metronidazole in the food); Jacey gets to have the canned food, too, and she's delighted.

Panacur is used to fight parasites, and the fecal test from 18 May didn't show any signs of parasites. But Panacur also tends to give a quick kick to a dog's immune system, so in that sense it should be good for Sam.

The working theory is that the dogs picked up some bad bacteria from the chicken that sickened both of them in March. Jacey kicked the bad bugs, Sam didn't--quite. We need to get this under control before Sam suffers permanent damage (like thickening of the intestinal walls) that would cause more serious health issues. Inflammatory bowel disease in dogs can be a nightmare.

The Metronidazole can be extended if necessary, but if it seems not to be working, we'll change to Tylan (aka Tylosin). I'm hoping to avoid this since Tylan tastes nasty (so I've heard), and dogs hate it. It also is a powder, and if you can't get the dog to eat food you've mixed it in, you've got a problem getting it down a dog's throat. Determined pet owners have had to buy empty capsule shells and make their own pills for their dogs. I'm hoping we don't have to go that route.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Sam's sick.

He's been "not right" since March, when both dogs had chicken backs and had digestive blowouts afterwards. They went on metronidazole for 9 days, although I think their subsequent improvement was due more to my keeping them on a strict and careful diet.

Since then, I've been careful about what they eat, and to help I've used yogurt, pumpkin, and probiotics (not all at the same time!). They had no more raw poultry for two months, and when I started them back on some raw food a couple of weeks ago, I changed them to turkey necks instead of chicken backs (much less fat).

Jacey got better and stayed pretty sound. Sam has been sporadically better--and then worse. He's had at least one all-liquid blowout a month--as well as lots of soft poop--and that's just not like him.

I don't think he's developed an allergy or intolerance to anything he's routinely eating. If that were it, he'd stay sick instead of getting better between blowouts. And he's been on good behavior and hasn't gotten into anything he shouldn't. (He's gotten his muzzle off a few times in the last couple of weeks, but he hasn't gotten into anything--mostly because the potatoes are locked away in a bin, the bread is on top of the refrigerator, and there's really nothing he can get into. I learned my lesson from past experiences, even if Sam didn't.)

Fecal samples for both dogs were checked a few weeks ago: no signs of any parasites.

But Sam had another blowout on Friday. Afterwards, the dogs had rice for supper Friday, fasted Saturday during the day, and rice for supper Saturday night. (When one dog is sick, both dogs go on a restricted diet.) Sam's a bit better today, but I'm taking him to the vet on my next day off. I'm wondering if both dogs picked up a bug back in March (when they both got sick from the chicken)--something that Jacey recovered from but Sam didn't...quite.

Anyway, there are a couple of other things I want to ask the vet about, so we're seeing our favorite vet Tuesday at 11:40.

Meanwhile, he seems to feel well--plenty of appetite for anything I give him.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy birthday to Mother's Little Helper

Both my dogs have May birthdays. Sam's was 10 May. Jacey-Kasey's is today, 19 May. She's six years old.

Jacey 18

Jacey, originally named Pinerun Torri, is one of a litter of nine (five boys, four girls). With 16 races (no wins, 2 second place finishes, 3 thirds, 6 fourths), she was the second-best racer in her litter--which tells you how bad seven of her littermates were. In a race in September 2005, she quit and turned back. In a race run on 30 November 2005--my birthday--Jacey finished 4th behind Canuhemisaurus. Canoe now lives here in Georgia in retired bliss. In her one meeting here with Canoe, Jacey snarled and growled at him. It wasn't sour grapes because Canoe beat her; it was her usual "bow-down-and-worship-me" approach to making friends.

Jacey Flowers 4

In fact, her not-so-sweet disposition around other dogs is responsible for her wonky ears: one points forward while the other points back (unless she spots something interesting, in which case both ears point left). Jacey had a disagreement with another dog while they were at the kennel and up for adoption (24 March 2006). Both girls were muzzled, but Jacey's ear still got munched. The experience didn't teach Jacey better manners.

Smiling--and half asleep--DSC01209

Jacey, then called Tori, also had a reputation with the kennel walkers for two things: smiling, and barking. She still does both (even smiles in her sleep, sometimes), although she usually manages to limit her barking to greeting me when I come home from work.

...then a lot

She gets along surprisingly well with Sam. She's very tolerant about his collapsing onto her on the sofa. But when she does growl at Sam (usually over food), he backs off, looks to me for help, and whines. ("Mom! She's picking on me!")


Once or twice, when we've paused during a walk, Jacey has surprised me with a lovely, spontaneous "sit," for which I've praised her highly. But if you ask her to sit, you get this un-lovely, rolled-onto-her-hip performance, and I haven't been able to break her from that. She doesn't "roach," and she may be the only greyhound I know who doesn't do the "sphinx" down. Ever. Not on her own, and not on command. If you insist on "down," you get a rolled-onto-her-hip down. There's no sign of hip trouble that the vet or I have ever seen; Jacey just has her own style.


She's mother's little helper around the house, usually following me from room to room. She helps with the laundry by lying on it while I'm trying to fold it. She races to the kitchen every time she hears the microwave ding--or when she thinks she hears it. And, clearly, her dreams involve kitchens and food. One night she'd gone upstairs (to my bed) early. She suddenly woke up, bolted from the bed, flew down the hall, down the stairs, and into the kitchen--running right past Sam and me on the sofa. Apparently, she'd dreamed I was in the kitchen...

Quite often, she thinks I move too slowly when I'm headed to the kitchen. She's been known to get behind me and push. When I turn around to fuss at her, she looks back over her shoulder as if to see who's pushing her. And if I order her out of the kitchen while I'm working in there, she makes it about two steps into the dining room before she whirls and scoots back into the kitchen; it takes three or four tries before "Out!" seems to stick.


In the three years she's been with me (more than half her life), she's gained quite a bit of white in her face. She's become resigned to thunder and lightning...and to Sam's antics. She's conquered separation anxiety (thank you, Valium and Clomicalm). She's grown a personality--or just relaxed enough to let it show. She's become a fun dog to have around.

Jacey and Sam

Happy birthday, Jacey-Cakes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Old Man


My old man is sacked out next to me on the sofa right now. He's sound asleep on his back, feet in the air. This picture is from a couple of weeks ago. Right now, his eyes aren't open at all, and his tail isn't as discreetly positioned--otherwise, it's an accurate picture.

Nine years ago today, a six-year-old blue fawn bitch named Hondo Comet gave birth to a litter of nine puppies--three males, six females: Stat Chiara, Stat Dimetri, Stat Echo, Stat Faust, Stat K Sally, Stat K Sam, Stat K Suzy, Stat Savage, and Stat Slick (Dimetri, Sam, and Slick were the boys). The owner of at least some of the dogs was a vet, but if he thought the name "stat"--medical-speak for "hurry up"--would produce some fast dogs, I'm sure he found this litter a disappointment. As near as I can tell, none of the nine ever raced. Sam, Sally, and Suzy were in Atlanta and looking for homes not long after their second birthdays.

I fell in love with Sam's adoption photo, and by October 2002, he was living in my home.

Sam is fearless. Well, nearly so. He's a bit intimidated by Jacey-Kasey, but otherwise, there's not much he's afraid of.


Sam is single-minded. He once put his foot through my living room window in pursuit of a cat on the other side of the glass. I bolted Plexiglas over the window, the cat came back, and Sam threw himself at the cat. He bounced off the Plexiglas, picked himself up, and hurled himself at the cat again. I got to him and stopped him before his third attempt. I got rid of the bird feeder outside the living room window: it had attracted birds, the birds had attracted the cat, and the cat...well, it stalked off with its tail held high, but not before Sam scared the bejeebers out of it by rebounding off the Plexiglas.


Sam is a serious eater. He's muzzled when I'm not at home, in the vague hope that a muzzle will stop him from eating the house. He's eaten Scotch Magic Mending Tape, pencils, lip liner, Valentine's candy, dead mice, butterscotch candy, animal crackers, and other odds and ends with no harm. A bag of raw potatoes gave him only mild indigestion. But wheat...plain, ordinary wheat, which is in many dog foods, dog biscuits, and coveted people food...wheat is Sam's digestive downfall. In the following picture, I've mentioned the word "cookie"; just the mention of the word was enough to trigger the drool starting to form:


Sam is a serious sleeper. Aside from the roaching--the sleeping on his back--he'll sleep curled up tight in cold weather:

Sam 0503

sprawled on my bed in all weather:


and on top of his sister any time he gets the chance:

And Sam trumps Jacey with his tail

Sam is cuddly, entertaining, and always good for a laugh:

00279 The tongue

I'm lucky to have him in my life.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Laundry, with mother's little helper


I don't mind the washer-and-dryer phases of doing laundry. What I hate is the folding-and-putting-away part.

I've perfected dealing with my work clothes: three stackable baskets on top of the dryer. Bottom basket is underwear, middle basket is work pants, top basket is work shirts (black t-shirts). Work socks go in a pile next to the baskets. (For work socks, I bought 12 identical pairs of black socks. No sock matching. No worries about missing socks or one sock with a hole in it. Any sock goes with any other sock. Heaven!)

But all the other laundry--sheets (which never fold neatly), towels (hey, it's not like they're gonna wrinkle), the off-work clothes--I hate dealing with that stuff. In my condo, the washer and dryer are in a wide closet on the upstairs hallway. On the other side of the hallway is a half-wall (overlooking the living room). It's a nice, sturdy half-wall, just two steps from the dryer. It's a great place to drape sheets, towels, etc., as they come out of the dryer. I mean, there's no place in the laundry-closet to be folding and stacking clean laundry, so that half-wall is terrific.

Until you start using it as the extended closet, and never put the clothes away. Until you have to move all the winter clothes off the wall so you can get to the summer clothes that are buried beneath them.

Today I did several loads of clothes, and I put away the mountain of stuff piled on the half-wall. I started by pulling the sheets and pillows off the bed, which meant first moving Jacey off the bed.

While sheets were washing, I started folding piles of clothes (two laundry loads from today, plus the wall-mountain). I made Jacey stay on one of the two dog beds in the room, and Sam took the other one. Both dogs were a bit sulky.

At one point, I had to go get another pile of stuff off the wall. I came back to this:


Jacey had abandoned her dog bed and settled herself on the largest of the piles of folded clothes. And Sam? He'd moved from "his" dog bed to hers.


As I started whittling down the piles of clothes, Jacey started to get nervous. I was pulling clothes out from under her, and she decided she was going to run out of soft stuff to lie on. At one point, she moved to another pile:


Finally, the poor bereft baby was left with just the mattress and mattress pad to lie on.


Is anyone holding auditions for The Princess and the Pea? I know someone who'd be perfect for the part of the princess.

Finally, I got the sheets on the bed and pillowcases back on the six pillows Jacey hoards at the head of the bed.


Her universe is finally back in order.

The dogs are slowly recovering from a horrendous bout of the stomach nasties. At least this time, they got sick in unison. They're taking Metronidazole and eating lots of rice and yogurt. They seem to feel fine. I'm the one that jumps every time one of them whines and glances at the door. I suspect chicken backs are to blame for this incident, although I'd pulled the excess fat off the backs first. At any rate, I'll be keeping a careful watch on what they get to eat for a while.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I have to go to Forest Park today to pick up some blades and shears that were being sharpened. I've tried all morning to call to see if the stuff is done, but the line has been busy. The line's not busy now--but they're all at lunch. I'll try again after noon. I'm already not happy about driving 27 miles (each way) in the rain, so I'd like to get this done and over with--especially since I'm taking more blades and shears to be sharpened, so I have to do this whole thing again on my next day off (Friday). (Finally got through to them on the phone, and my stuff is ready. Now to kill 90 minutes picking this stuff up.)

I've had to order new safety eyes for the stuffed greyhound. The pattern calls for 18mm eyes, which I can't find in stores or even on-line from the big-name retailers (Crafts, Etc! or Jo-Ann's). I bought some 15mm eyes (Hobby Lobby) and put them in, but I don't like them. (A greyhound with little beady eyes? Never!) I found an Etsy store selling eyes, and I've ordered from them. They have a set of "mixed" 18mm eyes, one pair in "brown" and one pair in "translucent brown," as well as several other colors. I also ordered a set of 20mm eyes, five pairs in "translucent brown." I may go with the larger eyes, but we'll see how they look when they get here. Meanwhile, I already put in the 15mm eyes, so I'm going to have to rip back to that point (only a dozen rounds or so) to get those out. I think I'll put the head on hold and just go work on legs. I'm thinking this dog will have white toes, but I haven't decided whether she* should have white toes on all four feet or not. Suggestions are welcome. (All the toes on one foot will be a single color--either the buff color or white; the pattern doesn't lend itself to three white toes and one brown.)

But before I can work on the legs today, I have more greyhound files to do. Last night I finished up the NLCC rules book and sent it to Kinko's. (I haven't heard from them today, so I assume it's going okay.) Now I need to do a tri-fold brochure for NLCC. I'll do that when I get back from the blade place.

*The greyhound doesn't have boy bits, so I'm calling it a girl.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another greyhound...



At present, the dog is earless, eyeless, and bodyless. Brainless, too. (I can't stuff the head until I get the eyes in place, and I'm not up to that wrestling match tonight. Safety eyes are hard to get out--or in. That's what makes them "safety.")

Progress on this dog is likely to be slow. Crocheting in the round is rough on my wrists, so I will have to limit the time I work on this.

This dog will go to Second Chance Greyhounds for "adoption" (i.e., fundraising).

The Sunburst doily is still alive and well, and hanging on to its shape. As long as it continues to behave itself, I'll be happy.

I also finished a baby sweater I was working on. This one (toddler-sized rather than infant-sized) is going to a little girl.


I've started another BSJ as my lunch-time project. I may start another one to work on at home when too much crocheting is bothering my wrists. Friends are having babies faster than I can knit.

Finally, Jacey's doing better: no stomach troubles since the incident on Saturday. This morning was full of errands--blades and shears for work to be sharpened, then the bank, Costco, gas, Michael's, Target, Walmart, recycling, and Subway ($5 foot-longs!). My next day off is Monday--when I have to go back to the blade-sharpening place to get my stuff.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hanging by a thread...

The future of this doily is in doubt.

Hanging 1583

The Sunburst pattern is supposed to make a doily that is 22" in diameter. This puny thing is 17" right now--fresh off the blocking board.

Worse: this doily, when first finished, rolled, waved, and rippled like the Atlantic Ocean, and a seasick doily is not a very useful one.

I've blocked it, let it dry (at least 3 days), unpinned it, measured it, and photographed it. Now I'm going to let it sit overnight and see what it's like in the morning. If it's staying flat, I'll weave in the loose ends and take new photos. If it has shrunk up much more, or if (as I fear) its present flatness turns out to be temporary, I'll frog this. The doily took way too many hours and uses a ball and a half of good DMC Cébélia thread. If this turns out to be a useless doily, I'll recover the thread; the time is gone for good.

I'm nearly finished with the current BSJ. I've taken a while with this one, and while I've been working on it, I've learned of three more babies (one of which was born already!). So, just a request to my friends: I'll knit as fast as I can, but no more babies until I get caught up. (I've ordered yarn from KnitPicks for the new sweaters, and the yarn shipped Thursday.)

Work has been frantic. Saturday was hectic, and today was long and unpleasant.

Jacey has had a couple of incidents of diarrhea. The first time was two weeks ago, and the dogs had had chicken backs. After they both had issues with some soft, um, output, I defatted the next backs they had. Sam was fine; Jacey was not for a day or so.

Since then, the dogs have had no chicken or anything else off their usual diets. Sam has been fine. Jacey was fine at 9 am Saturday morning, but at noon she had a full-fledged blowout. I was due at work 30 minutes later, so there was no time to go to the vet's to pick up any meds. I called in a request for meds I can pick up Monday (tomorrow) morning. I gave Jacey an Imodium AD before I left for work Saturday, and she did fine on it. Both dogs had rice for dinner Saturday night. And Jacey's been okay since then. But there's something going on with her GI tract, and I'd like to knock out this bug--whatever it is. I'll check with the vets--tell them she's better now--and see if they think I should go ahead with the meds. But I'm sure she didn't get into anything she shouldn't have: she's crated when I'm not home, and both dogs are leash-walked outside and don't get to run around, snarfing up whatever little goodies they find.

Friday, February 20, 2009

They've got the uglies...

...for a little while more, at least.

I've got a few projects I've been working on this month. I managed to finish one doily:


I've been working on a BSJ and another doily, but they're moving slowly. Last week, I started having some tingling in my right hand, so I laid off the crocheting for a week. The knitting (the BSJ) gets worked on just half an hour a day during my lunch break, but I like the way it's going--like the way the increases are turning out.


I'm on row 75 (or so) on the sweater, and there are 114 rows total. This is a nice cotton yarn, and the finished sweater will fit a toddler rather than an infant.

The doily is on round 28 of 33. This pattern doesn't get all lacy and open at the edges; it gets very dense there, with lots of stitches. 240 sc (and other stitches) on round 28; 520 sc (and other stitches) on round 32, then lots of picot stuff on round 33. And the doily is going to need some serious blocking; at present, it ripples and waves all over the place:


I'm going to push a little to see if I can get these two projects finished by the end of February so they can lose their "uglies." The doily may be getting "denser," but the stitches are a bit easier--not so many wrist-wrenching double-crochet stitches. (In another demonstration of how Anglo-English and American-English differ, British double-crochet stitches are American single-crochet stitches; the American double-crochet stitches I was doing are British treble-crochet--I think.)

I'm waiting for my pregnant coworker to decide whether she wants traditional pastel colors or bright, nontraditional colors. I've got a BSJ in mind in red with a coffee-brown button band, and red, heart-shaped buttons. If my coworker wants something more traditionally colored, I might still make the red and brown one for another baby.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I seem to have skipped posting about a November BSJ (that's "Baby Surprise Jacket").

I made a sweater for a coworker who had a boy in November. She asked if she could pay me to make a larger-size sweater for her boy, a sweater he could grow into. Well, I didn't take payment for it, but I made the boy this:


Here's a close-up of the buttons:


And with some leftover yarn I made baby washcloths:


I've now made seven sweaters from the BSJ pattern, and I'm working on the eighth...and I have yarn for more. It's a lovely pattern, pure garter stitch, which is sort of mindless knitting, easy to do during my lunch break.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rip-it, rip-it

(The photo is from before I ripped.)

I've been frogging. I'm tampering with the BSJ pattern (sacrilege), and was on row 77 (of 114) when I decided I didn't like the 'creases. (It was the increases that bothered me most, but even the decreases were a bit fishy.)

So I ripped it. I've started over, and so far, so good. But "so far" isn't very far, so we'll see how it goes.

The Letter Meme

Swiped from folks.

Rules: Copy, erase my answers, enter yours.

Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real . . . nothing made up!

If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can't use your name for the boy/girl name.
  1. What is your name? Kathy
  2. A four-letter word: kite
  3. A boy's name: Kieran
  4. A girl's name: Karen
  5. An occupation: killer
  6. A color: khaki
  7. Something you wear: Keds. Kilts. (Not me, personally, but...)
  8. A food: kielbasa
  9. Something found in the bathroom: Kleenex™
  10. A place: Kentucky
  11. A reason for being late: kept after school (or work)
  12. Something you shout: "Keep away from me!"
  13. A movie title: King Kong
  14. Something you drink: Kahlua
  15. A musical group: Kansas
  16. An animal: kangaroo
  17. A street name: Kensington Avenue*
  18. A type of car: Kia
  19. The title of a song: Kokomo
  20. A verb: kayo (aka "knock out")
*From "The Boy Next Door" in Meet Me in St Louis:
"Though I live at fifty-one-thirty-five Kensington Avenue
And he lives at fifty-one-thirty-three."

Sunday, January 25, 2009



One of my favorite coworkers is pregnant.

She's 21 years old and has had two miscarriages, so this is a high-risk pregnancy. They're scheduling her for an ultrasound as soon as possible (she's only about 5 weeks along) because one of the previous pregnancies was ectopic, and they want to make sure the now-baby has taken up residence somewhere safe.

While I'll be making a baby sweater and/or an afghan for the baby a bit later on--once we know whether it's a boy or a girl and the mom chooses some favorite colors--I wanted to make something quickly. Waiting until later felt, superstitiously, like I was waiting for things to go wrong. Making something right away felt like an act of faith.

So I made baby booties and gave them to the mom on Saturday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Playing catch-up

I need to catch up on some craft stuff.

My sister was at a craft fair and bought me two balls of this:

Red Heart Tiki Peach 1

She didn't see anything she wanted for herself, she wanted to buy something to benefit the fair's hosts, so she said, "Yarn! Kathy!"--even though it's a strange "yarn" to work with. I paired the Tiki with Bernat Satin yarn in pale yellow and made a scarf for my sister's mother-in-law for Christmas:


It measured 62" x 5", and the Tiki made an interesting texture:


I used the same stitch pattern--but a more conventional yarn--to make a scarf for my sister (6" x 66"). This is a hand-dyed yarn that I had a hard time finding a workable pattern for; the yarn just worked up in such a busy-looking batch of colors (nice colors, but busy) that I tried half-a-dozen patterns before I found one where the yarn and the stitches weren't absolutely at war with each other.



Currently, I'm working on a BSJ in sage-green cotton yarn and on a coin-lace clapotis in Kraemer Sterling Silk & Silver.