4.25.2008

True Confessions Friday

It's been a long time since I've had a True Confessions post, mostly because I am Boring. So I'll make a boring confession: I heart American Idol. I really want David Cook to win. I want to adopt Jason and make him sing "Over the Rainbow" to me. And I think David Archuleta is the most annoying thing since nails on a chalkboard. More annoying than a bad song that gets stuck in your head. He's even more annoying than those "Head On!" commercials.

Yes, he has a good singing voice. But a loaf of Wonder Bread has more personality than this child has. He's about as much fun as Eeyore on downers. And what is with the outstretched hand thingy? It's kind of creepy. Like he's holding something invisible.

And apparently I'm not the only one who's bothered by this. I'm glad someone decided to do something about it.


What's that? You want more from where this came from?

If that was not entertaining enough, here is a funny video Mr. C sent to cheer me up when the puppies left:


video

Have a weekend full of laughter!

4.24.2008

DOT: If It's Puppies You're Looking For, You're in the Wrong Place

That's right, no more puppies. After making their debuts at the shelter this past weekend, Phoebe, Sadie and Coop all have homes!

Phoebe has been adopted by a young couple whose landlord sent them to Animal Haven because they were the only residents in their small apartment complex who didn't have a dog. Phoebe will be spoiled rotten with romps in a neighborhood park and 2 adoring, energetic parents. She has a built-in posse of 4 pug-cousins, 2 Brussels Griffons belonging to new dad's BFF and the half dozen dogs who live in her apartment complex. Phoebe will do well in life, but with a face and personality like hers, would you expect anything different? We have exchanged phone numbers and emails so we can stay in touch, which is what makes it easier to let them go. (Update: we just heard from Phoebe's mom and they have re-named her Tuesday (???) for reasons unknown. She's still adorable, no matter what she's called).



Sadie was scooped up by the sweetest! family! ever! This wonderful family had adopted an 11-year old dachshund from the shelter last summer, knowing they would have him for only a short time. They took care of some medical problems and showered him with love daily. Last month they decided to adopt a another dog, as company for the old-timer, and so that when he passed on, their new dog would help to comfort them. They brought the old guy to the shelter to help them choose a dog, but he was having none of it. And this wonderful family, including their 2 boys, respected the old dog's wishes.

Sadly, he passed away unexpectedly last week and they were devastated. So they came back to the shelter but found that the original dog was gone....but they found Sadie and fell in love with her sweet face and cute little bunny-butt. The dad told me that he just knew that she was going to help their family heal their broken hearts. We were all hugging and crying and there was one big old love fest going on, let me tell you. They called us that night to tell us she was
totally zonked out after playing ball and running around with the boys (the boys were zonked out, too) and to tell us how much she was loved already. They decided to keep her name, so she'll still be Silly Sadie Sue (at least to me).



That left Cooper, who is just a big, sweet baby of a dog. We were ready to keep him as long as it took to find him the right home, but he found his new family too. Like Sadie's family, they had recently experienced the unexpected death of their old dog. The family had come in to see Callie, another young dog, but stopped by because the boys wanted to pet Cooper. We chatted while they waited for Callie. The boys were so gentle and sweet with Cooper, who gets easily overwhelmed. The youngest one especially kept saying how much he loved Cooper. What I didn't know was that this family had come to the shelter intending to adopt 2 dogs, so they could keep each other company while the family was at work and school. And also so that each boy could have a dog sleeping in their bed at night. These boys were so great with Cooper and Callie, who also really took to each other. So Coop not only has a new home with 2 boys to love, but he has a new sister, too!

Callie

Coop was the one we worried about the most, and we could not have asked for a better situation! They were really happy to give us their contact info, and want us to come visit soon.

So things are quiet here at home. I'll be able to get more knitting done, the cats will be able to enjoy the lower level again, and maybe Abbie won't be so neurotic about not letting Lambie out of her sight.


"Keep away from my Lambie and nobody will get hurt"

4.18.2008

Dogs On Thursday, Friday Edition, Pt. 1: Quite Possibly the Best Spoiler Ever

And who would this incredible swap partner be? It would be Rosanne, of FireFlyNights! I got home from work one night this week and discovered that my Spring Surprise Swap box was waiting for me. And what a package! I have been overwhelmed with Rosanne's generosity - look at all the wonderful surprises I found inside:

Chloe and Abbie knew this one had their names on it


Abbie took one sniff and started biting and pawing at the cellophane cover to get inside. I've never seen her act this excited (unless bunnies are involved). I even had to lock her up momentarily so I could get a decent picture of the basket because she kept lunging to get at whatever it was that had caught her fancy.

Chloe shows her excellent manners and restraint while Abbie stands guard.
What you don't know from this picture is that she was whining, moaning and shivering the whole time. I figured there must be some amazingly good treats in there.

And there were. There was a giant bag of little puppy bones, a box of beautiful gourmet canine cookies, and 2 bags of little gourmet crunchy treats. And one of my favorite treats - Skittles.

And there was an adorable doggie towel and 2 mitts shaped like paws to wipe their muddly feet, some doggie wipes for the really muddy days, and a Zoom Groom rubber brush. Everyone loves the Zoom Groom, even the cats. Notice how Abbie is still guarding the basket very carefully. (But it's not the treats she's after.)

Rosanne also included this absolutely luscious fat-free, calorie-free treat for me - some fabulous DiVe Butterfly yarn in very beautiful spring-like colors.

And finally, the part Abbie has been soooo patiently waiting for me to unpack and photograph - 3 toys that make the most unbearably tempting squeeky sounds imaginable. Abbie couldn't bear it a second longer - she HAD to start grooming her new BFF - Lamby the sheep, even while I'm trying to arrange and photograph.


This is what Abbie was ripping the paper to get to, the thing she was guarding so carefully. A fleecy soft sheep toy that moos and squeals. When I picked it up to cut the tag off, she went nuts, jumping and trying to get Lambie away from me. She ignored the treats I was giving Chloe and didn't take her eyes off the lamb on the counter. Of course I had to give it to her - I know love when I see it.


She immediately took it off to her downstairs nest, where she spent the rest of the evening carefully grooming every square inch of the lamb. Who needs rabbits when you can have your very own sheep?

I was truly blessed to have such a fantastic spoiler as Rosanne. Abbie eventually stopped grooming the lamb long enough to try some of the cookies, which are also a HUGE hit with Chloe and the puppies. Look how pretty they can all sit and beg for treats!


Rosanne, thank you for everything - we have all had so much enjoyment from everything you sent. It was all perfect and you are the best swap partner ever!!

Dogs On Thursday, Friday Edition, Pt. 2

(Nichole, this one's for you)

Remember that piece of scum, Michael Vick, dog murderer? He lives in the Big House on the Prairie now (AKA Leavenworth Prison).

MV's new crib

MV's new boyfriend

Leavenworth is just a few miles up the road from my town, so you could almost say we're neighbors. One thing about Kansans, they can be real neighborly. And they just loooove celebrities here, so what better way to make sure our new resident feels at home, than to have a big party in his honor?

T-Bones' Michael Vick Night Controversial

Baseball Players To Wear Prison-Style Uniforms

POSTED: 3:42 pm CDT April 16, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The Kansas City T-Bones' upcoming Michael Vick "Welcome to the Neighborhood" night is causing controversy.As part of the promotion, the T-Bones will wear black and white striped jerseys and their opponent will wear orange jumpsuit-style uniforms during the May 28 game, according to a news release posted on the T-Bones Web site.The ballpark will be decorated for the prison-themed night, according to the news release.Vick, the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback, is serving a 23-month prison term in nearby Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to a federal dog fighting conspiracy.

According to the news release, part of the promotion is designed to raise awareness about animal abuse, and several animal rescue organizations will participate, including Pets Without Partners, the American Pit Bull Society, The Pet Connection, the Heart of America Humane Society and the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City.Attendees will be able to view dogs available for adoption and take initial steps toward adopting dogs at the ballpark that night, according to the news release.
The shirts will be auctioned off at the end of the evening, with the profits all going to the participating organizations.

I am so going to be there. With stripes on
.

4.17.2008

Weaned On Coffee: SFCS Topic #3

Tell us how you started drinking coffee. Were you in high school or college and making it through all nighters? Did you get it from a family member? What drives your love of the bean?

I was a preschool junkie. My drug of choice? Caffeine.

It would be hard to avoid the habit, growing up in a coffee-loving family in New Orleans, home of dark and strong chicory coffee. Because of my French heritage, I had my own little demitasse cup in which to drink my cafe au lait (mostly warm milk and condensed milk with a splash of coffee) starting around the age of 3 or 4. I didn't get it every day, just on special occasions. I loved the smell of coffee as much as I loved the taste. When my mother would pour a freshly opened bag of coffee into the cannister, I loved to put my face up to the rim and inhale deeply, over and over. (Yes, I know I'm weird.) I begged for sips from the cups of my mother and grandmothers.

I started drinking a cup of coffee every morning when I started high school - with lots of milk and sugar. In college, I started smoking (ugh - I can't stand to think of that now) and I switched to black coffee, the stronger, the better. When I quit smoking, I started to add some milk to my coffee, but no sugar. These days, I don't really like the taste of sweet coffee - I love the bitter, smoky taste - it's the reason I drink coffee every day instead of tea.

4.13.2008

How Not To Sew a Snuggle Blankie

Many of you may not be aware of my psychic abilities, because I am quite modest about sharing such things. But I just knew that I would be flooded with requests from readers wanting to know the secret to making no-sew snuggles, so I documented the process before anyone even asked. And now that the flood has begun (thank you, Dianne), I shall post the instructions, thus proving the power of my psychicness.

(I think this pattern originally came from JoAnn's. I learned how to do it by watching a friend make one)

Start with 2 pieces of polar fleece, 1 yard each, at 60" wide.


Line up the pieces together along one of the shorter edges, and smooth them out. Trim the selvage edge to make it even, removing about 1/2" of the edge. Keep these scraps.

Fold one corner of the edge over to touch the opposite (longer) side and smooth the fabric out. You should have an equilateral triangle.

Cut along the edge. Keep the leftover pieces.

Open the triangle and smooth the fabrics out into a square. Trim any really uneven edges.

Measure, mark and cut out a 4" square from each corner.

Next, you will be cutting 4"strips along the edges. I found it easier to divide the side into fourths first.

I then cut four strips in each fourth, for a total of 16 strips.

Repeat this on the remaining 3 sides.

Begin tying the bottom strip to the strip laying on top of it. Tie the knots tightly and then tie a second knot in the same strip. This is to keep the knots from coming loose in the wash or from chewing.

I found that the snuggle ended up straighter by tying first the corners, then the middle knot and working back to the corners vs. one after the next.

Repeat the tying process all the way around and voila! you have just not sewn an adorable and cozy snuggle blankie. How clever are you feeling right now?


Remember those scraps? Cut them into 1/2" strips lengthwise, not across because you don't want them to be too stretchy.


Take 4 of these 1/2" strips, fold them in half, and cut in the middle. You should have 2 groups of 4 strips.


Tie a tight double knot in the center of each group. Trim the ends evenly. Voila - washable tug toys.

It cost less than $10 for 1 snuggle (I bought a heavyweight fleece on sale for 3.99/yd.) and less than 2 hours to make 4 snuggles and 6 tug toys. I still have enough leftovers to make about 40 tug toys.

Now I'll make one more amazing psychic prediction. Whether you give the snuggle to an animal shelter, a new baby, or your own 2- or 4-legged child, it will be met with enthusiasm and bring lots of comfort. Just try this and see if I'm not psychic.

4.11.2008

Catching Up

I've been a bit MIA lately, because the weather's been dismal. We haven't had more than 3 sunny days in a row in months now - it's gloomy and grey and overcast and just yucky most of the time. Besides 60 gazillion mile winds, we're supposed to have snow tomorrow! In April! Where can I go to file a complaint? WTF is spring???

Actually, I've been crazy-full-moon busy at work, thanks to the weather. It's making everyone stressed - the kids are bouncing off the walls because they can't get outside long enough to play their energy out and the parents and teachers are cranky and nutty as a result. I'm working a lot of extra hours and having to turn potential new patients away. On top of my clinical hours, I have to prepare reports for 2 court cases. And socialize puppies. And knit. And squeeze in a few hours of sleep. So I apologize for not blogging more faithfully, and not visiting all of you more regularly. I'm stealing some time tonight to try and do some catching up and hope to drop by as many blogs as I can.

I finished putting together my package for the DOT Spring Swap and hope my spoilee enjoys it. It will be mailed tomorrow so she receives it on time. I have frogged the Argosy scarf I was making for ISE6. The yarn was too sproingy for the pattern and it wasn't draping, it was just very stiff. I decided to try Montego Bay from last summer's Interweave, but can't hit even close to gauge, and again, it wasn't draping nicely. I'm not sure what to do at this point since I don't want to buy more yarn and I can't find a pattern that I think will work any better...*sigh*. maybe another glass of wine will bring inspiration. I'm also stuck on figuring out what to make for my spoilee in the Spring Coffee Swap. I am always intimidated at the thought of knitting for a knitter - what do you make them that they couldn't make for themselves? I'll likely need a third glass of wine for more inspiration.

Fortunately, I haven't been completely non-productive. I have made 4 snuggles for the Dogs on Thursday Snuggle Project so far. My knitted one just wasn't growing very fast, and I bought some polar fleece on sale so I decided to knock out some no-sew snuggles. Here they are:



The snuggles for the homeless pups at Animal Haven


The snuggles passed the Criquette Quality Assurance test


As an added bonus, I made some tug toys out of the scraps

Which won the approval of the Puppy Quality Assurance Committee

Victory!

4.03.2008

Before I get to puppy updates, I have to give a shout-out to the "big dogs", Abbie and Chloe. They are not enjoying this batch of puppies, probably because they are so noisy and shrill. They lay several feet from the puppy yard, guarding the pups (or maybe guarding all of us from the noisy, hyper little beasts) and waiting so patiently for us to finish puppy-care before they get their special time with us. Chloe, who takes every chance she gets to herd small critters around, ran and got Mr. C the other day when they staged a break-out. And Abbie, the toy-ho, often volunteers to taste-test their toys to make sure they are play worthy. what great foster sisters they are!

"This is close enough! Now where are the treats you promised us?"

Truman has had a name change - he is now Cooper. Seems that only one other person besides me thought Truman was a great name. Someone commented that there isn't a nickname for Truman. Wrong-o. How Mr. T? The T-man? Mr. Prez? They lack imagination. But Cooper does lend itself to several nicknames (not all of them nice), including "Mini-Coop" and "Cooper-Pooper-Scooper". Whatever he's called, he has finally recovered from his illness. He wasn't eating much and lost weight, but he's wolfing the food down now. He's started playing with the other two, although because he's not showing dominance, he loses out on the toys a lot. But this means he will probably integrate really well into a family with other dogs. He is very insistent on being picked up and snuggled, though. He's such a cuddle-bug.



"That's Mr. Pooper-Scooper to you"


Phoebe has calmed down some and isn't as snippy as she was last week, although she is clearly wanting to be the alpha of the puppy-pack. She wants all the toys for herself (who doesn't?) so we are having to teach her to sit and watch while the other 2 play with the toysbefore letting her join them. She already knows "come" and "sit" and figured out how to break out of the play yard and find Mr. C's office. We are concerned about her extreme food agression with the other pups, though. Not with us - we can take her food away without any problem at all. But she not only attacks the others if they come by her food dish but attacks them if they're still eating out of their own food dishes. She's even worse with little dog treats. I have to figure out a behavioral protocol to eliminate this behavior while she's still young, or else she won't be able to go to a home with other animals or children. Meanwhile, she eats in isolation.

Plotting her takeover of the world

She is very affectionate and loves to be snuggled, too. She'll be a great dog for someone who is strong enough to be her pack leader. Otherwise, she'll become a little dictator, the kind that end up on The Dog Whisperer. We can see that she definitely has Shih Tzuh in her, but I still haven't figured out the other part.


As for Miss Sadie - she saw the ortho vet on Monday, who confirmed her growth plate has been damaged. He can't tell us yet what this means since her leg may still grow normally. It's straightened out some and she doesn't seem to be favoring it, so I'm hoping she heals without needing surgery. What this does mean is that she will be with us for at least a couple of months as she won't be put up for adoption until they've taken another set of xrays and determined the next steps.

Sadie has shown an early talent for using those adorable puppy eyes to her advantage

Sadie has a fantastic personality. She throws herself into everything with such exuberance, it makes you laugh just to watch her. And she's clearly the life of the party. She came home from the vet tired and listless. She didn't want to play, just wanted to lay with her head on my foot and watch the action. Phoebe and Coop played half-heartedly, but would keep wandering over to entice her to play. Finally, they all ended up laying around with her. Playing is just not as much fun without the big goofy girl.

I'm glad to have the extra time with her. She's already pretty rambunctious, is going to be a big, strong dog and may have a deformed leg. I wa
nt her to have as many advantages as possible to be adopted into a good, forever home, which means having excellent manners, being potty-trained, and a few tricks under her belt won't hurt either.

After seeing these precious furballs, do you blame me for not getting much knitting done?





4.02.2008

I Am a Knitting Degenerate

I know this is last minute, but I just found out about Jennifer's 7 Deadly Sins Contest.

It's over at midnight tonite EST, so if you read this in time, hurry over. She came up with a fun meme of sorts, which you can leave as a comment on her blog. I'm posting my answers because it's so amusing. Even if you're not in time for the contest, and you feel like tagging yourself for this, leave me a comment and I'll read all about your vices on your blog.

It goes like this - for each of the 7 Deadly sins, you must provide a knitting or crocheting-related answer and you must answer each one. Have fun, you little devils.

Jennifer's 7 Deadly Sins Meme

Pride - Lace patterns, even simple ones, are my downfall. I start getting too full of myself when I get through a few rows without a mistake. When I start congratulating myself too much, guess what happens. Pride goeth before a frog.

Envy - I envy the knitters who find enough time to crank out several beautifully handknit FO's every few days. It's double envy, both for their skill and for the amount of free time they have each day to do that much knitting.

Gluttony - I can't stop myself from buying any yarn I see that appeals to me because it's a luscious color, or wonderfully pettable. I almost never have a specific project in mind, just feel like I need to have the yarn NOW in case I can never find it again. I bring it home and then have to stuff it into one of my overflowing bins in the overflowing closet. But unlike eating too much cake, I never feel sick to my stomach from too much yarn.

Lust - In my case, this usually goes along with the yarn gluttony - I see the yarn, I squeeze the yarn, I start lusting after the yarn, I buy the yarn. So efficient - 2 deadly sins in one!

Anger - Knitting usually keeps me calm and happy, even when I have to frog. But I just lose it when I'm knitting with a yarn that has loose tendrils that catch and knot so that you can't frog back and end up having to cut it out. ARRRRGGGGHHHH!

Greed - I laughed at Jennifer's answer because I too am obsessed with collecting patterns. More, more, more. I can't get enough. I'm probably already at my limit of how many patterns I can put into the queue or favorite in Ravelry! and that doesn't count the couple of hundred I have bookmarked or the ones in my books, or magazines, or in my files...

Sloth - This would be the housework that I avoid like the plague in order to squeeze in more knitting time.

Jennifer, congratulations on your 777+ post and may you have many more!


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