First Morning in Maine

Messalonskee from the porch

Messalonskee from the porch

I slept almost twelve hours last night. We were in bed before nine. So goes life at “camp” (our home in Maine.)

We’ve got internet now. It happened a couple of years ago but we’re still fighting the idea of bringing in a television. It’s never been here. It, frankly, doesn’t seem to fit here. We watch some TV and movies on our computers but … no cable. We read and knit and play games and just sit. Since my knees and feet seem to be working better, I’m looking forward to some hikes, too. And a lobster dinner!

This is my first morning … with my coffee and dogs (all three of them and not without some growling) and it’s perfect. My little family is back together where we would rather be. There’s one fisherman on the “island”, crows are “cawing” (is that a word? I just know the spell check is going to “ding” me here!) the breeze is blowing and the sun is shining. It’s a bit hazy but perfect none the less. I have a lot of unpacking to do but I think it will wait until I have a second cup of coffee and sit here awhile and soak it in.

Gone knitting (maybe.)

The Risk of Loving & the Rainbow Bridge

I heard or read somewhere in recent weeks that the risk of loving is loss. Until today, this didn’t really “hit” me.

Today, hearing that a friend’s beloved pet was sent over the rainbow bridge, it is hitting me. And I’m remembering the deep grief that my family has experienced with the loss of a beloved pet. Sam, Nouk, Kelly, Tasha, Lille, Max … all critters who lived with me and were such a big part of my family at one time or another. Who wagged their tail or sat on my lap or went for a walk in the woods with me. Fur family.

My Fur Babies & My Guy

My Fur Babies & My Guy

Loving is being willing to take a risk. A risk that we can give a piece of ourselves to another being and be embraced and accepted as we are. It’s humbling and makes us very vulnerable when we let a person or a pet have a piece of our heart. The honeymoon phase of love is that new, wondrous, can’t get enough of it which then grows, if we’re lucky, to the place where we can trust and depend on the love to be there for us when we need it. And when we don’t need it. And in return, we show up for them, too. Protection from danger, a comfort when we don’t feel well, sharing in life’s experience both good and not so good.

Pets are so special in that they ask very little in return for the love they lavish on us. They don’t judge us when we don’t feel like taking a shower or getting out of bed. They still love us when we get angry at them because WE forgot to get them outside before they made a mistake. They’re happy to see us when we get home, greeting us at the door, tails wagging. They’re excited about the same old kibble every time we give it to them (in our house, twice daily). They become an essential part of our days and nights.

So, when a pet dies, we experience a deep sense of loss. Perhaps a deeper loss than when we lose human friends. Because who else but our pet can truly love unconditionally? And we can feel it.

Lola, Max and Boq

Lola, Max and Boq

I swore, after Lille died, that I’d never have another dog. It was too heartbreaking. But years later, Lola & Boq entered my life and I’ve made them promise that they’ll never die. And while, on some level, I know that’s not possible, it makes me feel better for now. We’ve started to heal from the loss of Max and have invited Monk to live with us in our family. I’m sure I’ll make him promise, too. For today, he’s lucky he’s cute … because he’s so much puppy in a big brown body!

I’ve shed a few tears today for Pokey and for all the humans who loved him. I know he’s romping free of pain on the other side of the rainbow bridge. While the people who loved him mourn his loss with aching hearts.

The risk of love is loss. It’s hitting me today.

Gone knitting.

Rainbow-Bridge-Poem

Big Brown Dog

I found one of these on the floor in the living room this morning. (They’re all finished and were in my bedroom waiting to be put away.)

Lady Grantham Dinner Gauntlet (a Jimmy Beans Wool KAL) in Lorna's Laces Sport

Lady Grantham Dinner Gauntlet (a Jimmy Beans Wool KAL) in Lorna’s Laces Sport

It must have been this big brown dog!

"Monk"

“Monk”

We’ve adopted/rescued Monk from a family in California and he arrived on Friday. We’d forgotten what it’s like to have a puppy in the house! Lots of walks and lots of ball-throwing in our neighborhood park.

IMG_1265My little dogs would like to send him back! (Not going to happen. We’ve already fallen in love with the big brown dog!)

Welcome Monk!

Gone knitting!

Sick Dog :(

My Sick Little Boy

I had a sick little dog over the weekend. He was fine on Friday morning, his body felt warm on Friday night but I really didn’t think much of it – it’s hot in Florida! But on Saturday morning when he refused to leave his crate in the morning, he didn’t seem to want to or be able to walk, and then felt really warm when I picked him up, I knew something was really wrong. I had a sick little dog!

Off to the vet we went … to be there when they opened at 8. (Come to find out the doctors don’t come in until 8:30 or so.) $500.00 and nearly three hours later, I walked out with no real answers but I had a full-body x-ray that showed no injury or problem. Blood drawn for a CBC and a horrible hot spot – the likely culprit – shaved and “dressed”, and three medications and some salve for his “boo boo”. (The hot spot was all down the front of his neck and not even a “collar of shame” could be put on him to keep him from scratching. So, he was to be my constant companion for the day – and into the night.)

His sister didn’t know what to do with him. She sat and barked and sniffed and watched him in his bed. She didn’t stray far from his side – except to guard the water bowl from Max – all day. They are so bonded! I’ve never had two dogs at the same time who are as close as these two and it was sweet that she stayed right by his side.

Today, he’s much happier and seems to be feeling better. The blue tape is off his leg and we all slept through the night last night in our own beds. I was reminded of the nights when my children were little and they didn’t feel well and how helpless I felt as a parent. All I could do is take them to the doctor and hold them and love them until they started to feel better. This experience with my dog was very similar.

I’m glad we seem to be over the hump … and I’ve gone knitting!

 

1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something. 2. new; fresh; inventive; novel

I’ve been working on designing a line of original dog sweaters and coats for a year or so now. I just came across the notes I took from a teleconference with a friend who has been in the garment industry (for people) for her entire career and whose wisdom and experience I truly value. We had talked about having twelve (TWELVE!?) designs and changing out the fabrics for the seasons. Well, the seasons may be do-able but no (freaking) way I’ll have twelve designs any time soon! A girl’s got to make a living and without taking my little business all the way to an Andean village where women can knit for me, I need to get these patterns written, tested and knit up a few samples.

I have four designs at this point in time that I can use as my base.

The Señorita Lolita, a sassy dress with a ruffled skirt and a big colorful flower on the shoulder. Fingering weight yarn makes it more time-consuming to knit but makes the little dress flow-y and light. I just sent my first iteration of this sweater off to the Central Florida Fair as my submission to the “Other” category. Submitted with this photograph of my little Lola (“Whatever Lola Wants…”) who is my inspiration for the design.

The Boyfriend is a classic turtleneck sweater knit in bulky yarn which makes it pretty quick to knit up unlike it’s sibling above. The design is based on the women’s sweaters with the same name that are bulky and loose and snuggly … hoping that the feeling of wearing a boyfriend’s sweater will translate to the feeling of caring for your fur baby.

The MacTire. Irish knit-style cabled sweater with a turtle neck collar. Right out of the pages of GQ! (Is that still in print?) I love this sweater with the “hugs and kisses” cable down the back. Also a relatively quick knit as it’s in a bulky wool, it’s simply classic and appeals to my Irish roots.

MacTire (mock teerah)

Last but certainly not least is the Nor’Easter Coat. Seed stitch is one of my favorite textural stitches and with this bulky or super-bulky wool, it is a visual thrill. The stitches are tightly knit and make a really warm coat for chilly days. I’m working on the finishing touches to the pattern. This may be my current favorite!

Patterns to come!

Gone knitting!

Crazy Socks … Northward Ho!

An uneventful trip north this year. Orlando to Atlanta to Cincinnati to Belgrade!

Day 1- Atlanta and a brief overnight visit with the best “Roomie” in the world, my friend Carrie. She’s about the only brave soul who would have us visit with our four-legged brood. And especially with the crazy old Cushingoid cocker who is like having seventeen puppies all rolled into one – we’re never sure if he’s housebroken or if he’ll eat the paintings off the wall.

Day 2 – Cincinnati and a 21st Birthday dinner with my son, my ex-husband and his boyfriend. Long story short, my ex had picked the dinner spot and it was obscenely expensive and not the most wonderful food ever. Over $500 for five and we only had a glass of wine and my ex’s boyfriend doesn’t drink. The plus side was, however, that I got to spend a few hours with my son. He is a very special kid and I was so happy to see him.

Day 3 – Rochester, NY which is on the way to Maine and there’s nothing special there. It was so windy, however, that the Hobie Cat was blowing away (and the sail wasn’t even up!)

trying to relaxThis is a photo from the back seat on day 4 on the way to Marblehead, MA and my youngest brother and his family. Too bad my little boy isn’t getting relaxed in the back seat! He does make us laugh with his antics. We love to visit my brother and his family. My three nephews are growing taller and handsomer every time we see them. Ninth grade, sixth grade and fifth grade this year and they’re all involved in various sports, etc. Ski and snowboarding season is now over so it’s time for track and baseball. Max (our Cocker) got bitten by Caspian (my brother’s German shepherd) who he fought for a ball but still a fun albeit brief visit.

in the bag?One more photo from day 5 when we stopped at LL Bean this is what I found in the back seat. My little boy, again, this time he’s chosen to sit in my computer bag instead of the seat … go figure. We had to stop in Freeport to get a warm jacket (we also found a jacket for poor old Max who’s losing his hair and shivers or shakes all the time, a couple of gifts for later this summer, and I found a great corduroy shirt that I’ve coveted … and it was on sale! Woo HOO!) After a quick lunch, on to Belgrade and “opening camp”. It’s a lot of work but it seemed like more this year. By the time we got the first floor of the house all wiped down and disinfected and swept out (not too much mouse evidence this year and no skulls), the furniture unwrapped, sopped up the puddle on the bed from the leaking master bedroom roof, and then unpacked the car and put away the groceries, we were beat! Thank God for the good old electric blanket. We climbed into bed and slept like babies and I didn’t get up until nearly 8 am which is unusual because we have no window coverings on the windows and it gets light early here! I did hear the loons calling in the middle of the night but it’s such a sweet sound, I smiled and rolled over.

I had a lot of fun knitting a second pair of stash-busting crazy socks on the way up here. They’re really cute. The first pair went to my sister, Kathy, for her birthday. This pair will likely be a gift for some lucky soul, too. I think they’re fun and they certainly are colorful! The best news is that I still have a ton more bits and pieces of sock yarn to make a few more pairs.

Another 1976 miles of road trip adventure … (ha! That was the year Ned and I first started dating. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not! Life is good!

 

Great Cables – Books from the Library

 

Great, Beautiful Book for Knitting Cables!

I went to the library a couple of days ago. Honestly, I was going to get a particular book which shall remain nameless because I’ll blog about it later. I always try to go online and reserve books at the library; that way, I don’t “waste” my time looking all over the place and leaving with an armload of books that I won’t have time to read (or even look at.) BUT … my online sign-in wasn’t working so I went in without a hold list! Scary!

I didn’t find the book that I thought I wanted (and I’ve since asked a lovely librarian to fix my sign-on problem) but instead found two wonderful books on cables and Aran knitting.

I’ve blogged before about my love of cables. You’ve likely seen a couple of my projects with cables. I won’t talk about the sweater that I knit for my sweetie that came out too large … I’m talking waaaaay too large … and I did swatch it. I guess I just thought he was bigger than he really is. Anyway…

Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman is a great book; especially so for those of you who may be afraid of cables. She provides some great tips and good illustrations for making the basic cables and increasing and decreasing, etc. I love some of the patterns in the book, most of which are sweaters but she provides patterns for different weights of yarn – bulky knitting is so much faster and if you’re new at cables, it’s a great place to start! In the back, she has a bunch of great color photographs of different cable panels, too. They’re so pretty, it makes me want to just sit down and knit each one … like I have time for that! 🙂

I swatched a new project, a sweater for my little boy (dog, that is) and will start on that this afternoon. He’s getting a simple sweater made from yarn that I bought at the Farmer’s Market in Ithaca, New York at least 7 years ago (and maybe longer). It’s a lovely double-stranded wool with one strand a light blue and one strand a natural brownish-grey (or greyish-brown). I’m knitting it on size 8 (US) needles and it will have cables down the back. When designing and knitting for male dogs, you have got to take their “parts” into consideration. These adorable sweaters that I knit for my two dogs last summer are cute as can be. However, my little boy (in the green) tends to get his wet when he goes outside. Not a good thing! I’ll be posting pictures of the “Boogie Sweater” as I progress! I know he’ll love it – he likes to wear clothes. His sister … not so much!

More books and knitting stories tomorrow!

I’ve gone knitting!