Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

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Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Revisiting puppy envy

He was the cutest puppy, maybe ever, and he's grown into one of the most impressive, magnificent animals I've ever known. Stone's one of those rare dogs who makes you feel his intelligence and dignity simply through the power of his presence. I love this dog.
He sort of likes me, too, which, quite honestly, blows me away.
This one's worth clicking on so you can see that wonderful face.

Now that you've been referred back to the original Puppy Envy post from Dec. 2005, here are a couple more photographs updating you on the growth and progress of two other puppies featured in that post. First, here is Tiercel, the Whippet who stole my heart as a puppy. He and his sister stayed with their breeder, so while I haven't managed to make my way to Seattle yet to meet them, it remains a possibility.

And here's Tiercel's sister, Lark. This is a candid taken in the ring, just before the judge pointed to her for a 5 point major. That softness and sweetness of expression, and the promised elegance seen in her as a puppy are still apparent. I love the marriage of power and elegance in this breed. I think she's beautiful, and quite frankly, one of the nicest Whippets I've ever seen.

So, it's official - yup - I've still got Puppy Envy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

One of a kind, or half a pair

Here's half the newest pair of socks. Getting faster, as I started this on Saturday and put it on my foot tonight. I don't know what it beats, one of a kind, half a pair, but I suppose I just beat my personal best. I like the color, which is more of a dark maroon than a brown. Lauren wants me to branch out into crazy colors, but I will probably stick with socks in colors I'm likely to wear.

I'd better get back to the blanket, which is slowly coming along, too. I can't get a good picture of it until I bind off the strip I'm working on, but it's coming along...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Still recovering

The flu yet lingers. We had a surprise three day weekend, due to a snow storm closing the university on Friday. I took full advantage of it and rested. But I still feel under the weather. I did manage to make it up to visit my mom today, and visited with my brother, Mark, for a bit, too. We often run into one another there. He told me I looked "rode hard and put away wet." Splendid. I warned him I'm quite fragile, and that was still the best he could do. And sadly, it's not a bad description of the way I feel.

Sue called me yesterday morning to tell me that she, too, has come down with the flu, which we have officially dubbed "Travisitis," since he was patient A in this particular outbreak. I packed myself into the car to go down and see if there was anything I could do to help her. I couldn't imagine having to take care of an entire kennel by myself when I was so sick. I had planned to pick up some hot chicken soup at the diner around the corner from them, but when I called on the way down, Sue said that her husband was on his way home from the Rockland show, and she suggested we'd all have lunch together. So, I managed to sit up long enough to visit. We got lunch from the local pizza place and played with the cats, the 2 papillons and the chihuahua. I realized how much I miss having "littles" around my house. Unbelievably, Angel's been gone a year on the 19th. I also got to collect the photograph of A.C.'s Sunday win at the Boardwalk cluster, and to actually feel marginally human for a little while, just getting out and visiting friends.

I've started another pair of socks, so I now officially have two projects going simultaneously, since the baby blanket is not yet done. This is not a luxury I allow myself when it comes to reading books - the first must be finished before a waiting book can be begun. I have to say, having lived with this self-imposed law for so long with regard to reading, it feels like a delicious sin to indulge in this with knitting. I took pictures of the progress on the blanket, and of the new Essential Tweed Russet socks, but I'm assuming you're all bored with my boring obsession, and I still feel too weak to be bothered with loading them from the camera. So, for now, since I'm content to stare at my pretty dog, you have to be, too. And I knit away.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Several pairs of socks later

I'll remember this winter as the winter of the flu and of socks flying off needles with remarkable speed. It takes me a week to knit a pair of socks, unless I take my time and put them aside for a few nights - something which my carpal tunnels occasionally scream at me to do.

These are done in Essential Tweed Inca Gold. It worked up into a nice, snug sock with a lot of stretch.

As for the flu, it's still with me two weeks later, and has me down again today. I can knit or I can sleep. As far as anything else is concerned, it's sort of a toss up as to whether or not I'll get through it. I actually abandoned a full cart in the grocery store the other evening, as the edges of my vision began to go dark, and the room started to spin. Maybe I have pneumonia. Who knows? Mostly the dogs believe I've become really, really boring. From what I can tell, they're right.

On another note, here is one of the promised pictures from A.C.'s Boardwalk Kennel Club weekend. Travis knows how to smile, something which he did rather broadly when he won Best of Winners for us. Apparently, there is a rule that 13 year old boys must not smile in pictures. This was Saturday's win. We still don't have the photograph from Sunday.

My knitting's now moved on to a baby blanket for Sarah's second, due any minute now. I'm doing another log cabin blanket, this time in softer pastel tones. It'll be nice, but I don't like it as much as I liked the deeper, tapestry tones from last year's blanket for Jen's baby. I have to say, it's a relief to be back on size 8 needles after all those hours and hours on size 0, making socks. This blanket feels like it's flying along! This will change, I presume, when it comes to the applied I-cord edging (scroll to the Feb. 12 post.) I must thank my dear friend, Janie, for sending me piles and piles of color hanks of tapestry wool for these blankets. They're just perfect, with the subtle tone shifts in hue, and the small hanks make it easy to work up the strips.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Flu stew

The week started out well enough. I went to the Boardwalk Kennel Club dog shows with Sue, Mike, and Travis. They were taking a small string of dogs, including A.C., and I took the opportunity to do what I love best (who knew one can be born to scoop poop so contentedly, and find such satisfaction in catering to the needs a bunch of dogs?), and went along to help. I had no expectations for A.C., but he surprised all of us, going Winner's Dog and Best of Winners on Saturday, and Winner's Dog, Best of Winners, and Best of Opposite (over specials) on Sunday. On Sunday, he was handled both to the point, and to the BOW and BOS by Travis, who is 13. He's got a lot of talent, but he's also got a lot to learn. A.C. carried the kid, and clearly won the point that day on merit. I was thrilled, and surprised to find I was mostly thrilled for Travis, who whupped up on both his mom and his dad with that win. Photographs of A.C.'s wins have not yet arrived, so for now, revel in his haul.
More rosettes in one weekend than I'd previously accumulated in more than 30 years of showing dogs.

I got home in time for the Super Bowl, and the Giants' incredible late come back. It was one of the best played Super Bowl games I can remember, and it capped with a victory an already victorious weekend.

Travis had been coming down with something all weekend. I went to work on Monday feeling like maybe there was something brewing in the back of my throat. Then, Monday evening while I was doing my consultations, the chills hit. I've never experienced such chills. They would hit, and my body would arch and spasm. I felt like I was doing a bad imitation of Linda Blair in the Exorcist, and I've never been so glad not to have Phone-A-Vision.

By Tuesday morning, the misery had hit. I didn't get much done all week. It was muddy outside, and I was too weak to even wipe off the dogs when they came in. There are still muddy footprints all over the house. I spent the week on the couch. All I was able to do when I got up in the morning was get up, make the bed, throw on my bathrobe, grope my way to the kitchen, and shiver and shake and tremble through making the dogs' breakfast. I did try to go back to bed. But, when I went back to it, it was unmade and occupied.

Entreaties to get him to move were successful by inches. I was too weak to resist that face, and he knew it. He won. I took to the couch. That's ok. My couch and I are one.

The boo-boo on his nose is from the frozen, gnawed
leather cover on the soccer ball. Poor baby. I can't resist him.

I slept all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Mail stacked up in the mailbox. Newspapers piled up on the doorstep. The bird feeders went unfilled (the wild birds, not the parrots - I made my weak, feeble way up to the parrot garret on my butt, too unsteady to navigate the winder steps any other way. I'm sure they'll say that I neglected them. They can, after all, speak - but shut up! I fed you, didn't I? Patience and a fever do not travel together well.)

Then, on Thursday, I was able to sit up some, and realize that I was still alive, foggy and gummy, but the fever of 103 had broken, and there might still be hope for my recovery. I was mind-numbed and bored, but my head still crashed enough that I couldn't read, and I could not really see the lap top screen for more than a few minutes at a time. Fortunately, KnitPicks to the Rescue!! One of the packages that had accumulated on my front step was my KnitPicks order. So, I finished up the last cocoa Gloss sock in a hurry (for future reference, 2 pair easily from 150 grams.) Now I am sitting looking at some yummy, yummy balls of embryonic socks in Essential Tweed tones of Inca Gold and Russet. The gold is already on the needle. Long live Magic Loop.

And finally, I paid my bills this morning (ok, about a week late, but I consider this last week as the Lost Week From Hell,) and our awful, springlike, unseasonable, horrible, icky too warm-weather has passed, we've hit the freezing point, and when I went to call in the dogs, they came - first Hudson at a canter, and then Crow at a trot in these pictures - running through the first flurries we've had since December. I want my winter back (can you tell I'm fully convinced that this weather is responsible for my flu? And it must be my commitment to fight global warming that's got me suddenly, unexpectedly, and quite diligently praying for snow.)
Ok, that's it, a sort of stew of thoughts from the Lost Week, just in the interests of keeping this blog fed. Oh, and I highly recommend the flu as a great kick start for rapid weight loss. Five days - 7 lbs. That's ok. I needed that.