Posts Tagged ‘Siberian Husky’

A soon to be done chain maille bracelet in rainbow niobium.

Nope, I’m not a Game of Thrones fan. Before anyone who is flips out, I did read the books, years before the series, and didn’t like any of the characters. I’ve gotta be able to connect with a character, and pretty much none of them were really likable people. I re-read them again after the series began, and tried the series itself, and just couldn’t do it. The only characters I liked were the direwolves. Sorry, no converts here.

But the post is more about the fact that winter is coming, which means the holiday season, which starts with Halloween in this house. And which honestly didn’t occur to me until just this second. After I’ve started on the Yule-themed tatted bookmark. Well, it won’t be the first time I’ve had more than one project going at once! Time to find my Halloween thread!

I started Yule shopping for the kids a few months ago, so I’m just about done with that, except for two items. Which I’m not going to mention, as Aneira is now more internet connected and may read this! I’m pretty proud of the fact that I’m done a couple of months early, actually, and now I’m thinking in terms of handmade things I can add to the mix. Fall, winter, and holiday themed things maybe. Some amigurumi toys. Bracelets and necklaces. Bags, although I did that once already. Fortunately, they’re girls, and we can never have too many bags, bracelets, necklaces, or stuffed animals. And don’t think I don’t have my own stuffed animals, because you’d be dead wrong!! There’s a whole box up in my bedroom waiting to be unpacked as soon as I make enough room for them! And I’ve no shame in admitting it; I even sleep with a Stitch pillow, and no one better touch him!

L – R: beaded kumihimo, Byzantine in niobium, Byz in titanium, box weave in aluminum, JPL3 in aluminum, and three more JPL3 in niobium.

I’ve worked on a few things since we’ve been in the new house, all portable crafts, since I can’t justify tying myself to the looms just yet, until the house is fully unpacked, as much as I’d prefer not to wait that long. But I have to be a responsible adult for some things, so there you go.

I finally learned some beaded kumihimo, which is somehow both challenging and yet easier than I expected it to be. I learned a couple of new chain maille weaves, and expanded the tatting shuttle collection a bit. One day, I’ll have to photograph that as a group. And the plier collection has grown as well.

I honestly thought I was crazy with that one. I think I have about ten sets of pliers currently, and I thought I was going overboard with that many, but I’ve since discovered that many maillers have a lot more than ten!!

Dreamlit tatting shuttle

As much as I usually say something pro/con about my many tools, it occurs to me that I’ve never said a word about my pliers! Never even thought about it! I think it’s because the other tools I’ve talked about here have been tools specifically made for fiber arts, where pliers are a common household tool almost from birth. Yes, the ones I have serve a specific purpose, but still fall into the category of pliers, and I’ve never thought much about them. So that’s an idea for a future post.

There’ll be one about the Dreamlit tatting shuttle too…those are new, and I’m just trying them out for the first time.

Ooooo, and I learned to make tandoori chicken!!! What a hit that was with the kids! Not the hubby, so much, but the kids loved it. Aneira and I had gone to lunch at a little Indian restaurant while waiting for her eye exam, and it was the first time we’d had tandoori chicken. SOOOOOO good! And Aneira asked me a month later to try making it, so I did. I didn’t expect it to come out all that great, not the first time, but it tasted just like the restaurant! Needless to say, that’s been added to the repertoire!

Well, the dogs have just put in a howling appearance, so I’d better go see what’s going on with them. Happy crafting!


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The Three Musketeers: Vanir, Valkyrie, and Thor

It is unreal, the amount of trouble a puppy can get into, even when supervised. To say that Valkyrie keeps us on our toes–constantly–is to vastly understate the situation.  I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to have an Arctic breed puppy, but Val is by far the most mischievous one I’ve ever been owned by. Vanir was shy when he first joined the family, which may explain why he wasn’t ridiculously difficult to train, and Thor was already three and an adult when he arrived. But Valkyrie is something else!! There is nothing sacred. She’s just barely tall enough to see over the counters when standing on her hind legs, but that doesn’t stop her. We have to police everything: floors, counters, closets, and even then, she will find what you miss, no matter how small! In the house, she is either on a leash attached to one of us, or she is in the crate when she can’t be watched. Crate training has begun in earnest!! She hates it, of course, because the boys don’t have to be crated at all, and she absolutely does, no question. On those rare occasions when she sleeps with us, she’s on the leash, and the wrist strap is around my ankle all night.

It’s hard, because she’s utterly adorable, and it breaks your heart when she cries because it’s bedtime or you’re going out and she has to go in the crate, but the house would be a disaster if we didn’t do it. The one night we allowed her to sleep with Aneira, she got loose and tore up the main floor. Garbage everywhere, papers shredded into tiny pieces, a dish broken…which is how she was caught. Bryony heard the crash at 3 am and came to get us after catching the little turdbrain. After that, the strict rule is crate at bedtime.

She definitely has a mind of her own, like all of her breed, and the ability to make you love her no matter what devilry she gets up to. She loves to kiss your face when she hasn’t seen you all day, her whole body wagging. Annoyingly, though she was my birthday present, she has a definite affinity for the PIP. She’s starting to include the rest of us, though, so it could be worse!

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It seems that the dragon loom and I have finally come to an agreement. I have a system now that helps me keep better track of where I am in the pattern. It seems kind of obvious in hindsight, but it took me awhile to realize the way the pattern worked, because I wasn’t looking for it. I was simply following the directions by rote, not really paying attention to it. Once I did see it, though, it was easy to work with. The pattern sequence is 8 turns of the tablets, made a bit more complex by the fact that I’m actually working with five packs of tablets, and they go in two different directions for half the sequence, and in the same direction for the other half, but it’s two consecutive picks for each turn. So I started counting off each pick, one and two, change direction, one and two, change direction, etc. That wasn’t working, because while yes, the two picks were identical, the next two weren’t, and carried the same numbers, so I was still losing my place. I had to count them off as one through eight, and once I started doing that, everything flowed much better. If I’m in pick five, I know exactly which direction the cards are turning, and therefore which way I need to turn them next in order to continue the weave, or to unweave in case of a mistake. It has been much easier!

Aneira is doing well with therapy, and she and I talk each night at bedtime about how her day went, rating everything on a scale of one to ten. Lots of hugs and kisses are given, along with lots of “I love you”. There are those who would say that all the repetition of those words devalues them, but my personal belief is that your kids can never hear them too often. Kids too easily fall into the habit of believing that their parents hate them. Not only that, but there’s also the fact that anything can happen during the course of a day, and sometimes whatever happens can mean that you never have the opportunity to say those words to that person again. So I say them as often as I can, to make sure the girls know how much I love them. So far, I’ve been lucky, and both of them are still tightly bonded to me. I don’t know how much longer that will last; Aneira will be thirteen in a couple of months!

Valkyrie is rapidly becoming the queen terror of the house. It’s a good thing I’d bought a whole bunch of Clorox wipes at Costco, because they’re getting a lot of use as we work on potty training. She and Vanir are very close, but the old man, Thor, still wants nothing to do with this little upstart. And she’s way too smart for her own good: she has already figured out that doorknobs are what allow one to open the door and escape a room. I have watched her working on them, and she’s going to get it right sooner rather than later! She stands on her hind legs, takes the doorknob in her mouth and tries to twist it. If she had opposable thumbs, I’d be in deep trouble already!

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Fourteen years old!!

Yes, I had a birthday a few days ago, and so did Thor, our now-fourteen-year-old Sibe. We share a birthday, which is pretty cool, I think. And while I’ll tell you how old he is, since I don’t think he cares, I think I’ll refrain from mentioning my age, in favor of my vanity. Most people express disbelief upon hearing my age, swearing I look younger than I am, but I’m never sure if the disbelief is genuine, or politeness lol.

So the day in question didn’t start out so well. A couple of days earlier, I had woken up to find my left knee painful and starting to swell. No idea what I’d done to it. I hadn’t fallen, wrenched it, or banged it into anything. Just, out of nowhere, blammo! And over the course of the next two days, it blew up to twice the size of the right one. I couldn’t bend it far, and couldn’t straighten it completely either. It hurt to touch it or move it. The PIP thought I should go to the ER the night before my birthday, but I refused. And by morning, I really had no choice. So off to the urgent care I went. Xrays were excruciating, but showed no breaks and no reason for all the swelling. Orders have since gone out for an MRI. Fun stuff. So I ended up with a compression bandage on the knee, naproxen for daytime, hydrocodone for bedtime, and instructions to wait for the MRI folks to call.

Then I had to head up to Denver International Airport, because my birthday present was arriving on Alaska Air. Naturally, the weather turned ugly, and since I was driving up alone, I opted to avoid the highway and take the back roads, which were themselves pretty nasty. I don’t ever do the highway in bad weather. Call me a wimp, but contending with idiots who are far exceeding the dry speed limit of 75 mph is not my idea of a relaxing drive. Thus, back roads. It takes longer–a lot longer–but I feel more confident of surviving the trip!

Without further ado, let me introduce my present:

Introducing Valkyrie, Tovik’s Warrior Goddess

She is an adorable bundle of trouble! I admit to being nervous about introducing her to Vanir, but the two of them are fast friends already. She follows him everywhere. Thor is less thrilled about the new arrival. It hasn’t been long since Bandit left us, but we agreed that the kids needed this, and I’ve known the owners of Tovik Siberians ever since I got Thor eleven years ago.

This is the first time I’ve ever had a pack that consisted only of Northern breed dogs. I figure Valkyrie’s mask will eventually fade, but right now she’s got striking markings. And when I finally get a picture of the three of them together, they’ll look beautiful together. And boy, am I glad the boys are neutered!!! She’ll be spayed after she’s a year old, to make sure she grows properly into adulthood. I have no desire to breed!

Of course, she latched right onto the PIP, Mr. I-Don’t-Want-A-New-Dog-Yet, who cuddles her every chance he gets, and she considers the girls of the household to be furniture, to be ignored as much as possible. Annoying, lol! Unless we’re giving out treats, of course. But what a cutie!

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1. You will need a rake, a pin comb with spinning tines, a pin brush, and lots of alcohol (for you, not the dog).
2. You will need to have three hours, free of interruption. And more alcohol than you originally set on the table.
3. If your woolly is anything like mine, you will also need a leash or grooming table to prevent escapes. Also, more alcohol.
4. You will need a working knowledge of four letter words that are not suitable for young ears. If you don’t have any such knowledge, trust me, you will when you have finished grooming your dog, and you will probably have invented a few. This will happen with or without alcohol.
5. Leash the dog.
6. I start with the comb. Woollies mat like you would not believe. If you groomed him yesterday, he is matted today. Don’t believe me? Get your hands in there.
7. The left side will take an hour with the comb, from head to tail. Start drinking now.
8. In fifteen minutes, the four letter words will start coming. Coo them sweetly. No sense in traumatizing your dog. Drink some more.
9. Be ambidextrous. There is no way you will get through this one-handed. Your arms WILL get tired, and you’re just getting started. Yes, you can have another drink. Pour some for me too.
10. By the time you finish with the left side, you should have invented a few four letter words of your own. Flip the dog, or move around him.
11. Continue with the pin comb, the drinking, and the swearing on the right side. I know, you’ve never seen this much fur come off of one dog in one session in your life. Welcome to woollies.
12. You are now two hours into a three hour session. Give the dog a break, and have a really big drink for yourself. Do not share with the dog.
13. Now comes the rake. No matter how much fur you already have off to the side, your pile is about to triple in size. The comb gets a lot, but it has nothing on the rake. This will take about 45 minutes. One more drink.
14. Now you get to the tail, and the pin brush. Best of luck. Have another drink first.
15. Finish off by raking, then combing the tail. You may or may not have any alcohol left. You definitely have a beautiful dog, though he may not appreciate it. Mine doesn’t.
Congratulations! You have just groomed a woolly-coated Sibe and gained enough fur to coat two more dogs. If you have any alcohol left after this experience, enjoy it as you clean up the fur.

All this being said, in all seriousness, if you have a woolly-coated Sibe, or any other double-coated dog, please do not have him shaved because it’s summer and you think he’ll be cooler. Nothing could be further from the truth. That double coat keeps him cooler than shaving will, by trapping the air close to the skin. Also, the skin of your double-coated dog doesn’t know what the sun is except by vague description. His skin wasn’t meant to be exposed to sun, and he will very likely get sunburned. No, I am not kidding. Yeah, some of the cuts are cute, but your dog will be happier if you leave his fur alone and let him hang out in the house where it’s cooler.

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The start of a jewel-toned Night Fury

The start of a jewel-toned Night Fury

I haven’t finished hubby’s black Toothless yet, but I decided to get a jump on things and start on Bryony’s this past weekend. She decided on this magenta-blue-purple variegated yarn, very jewel-toned, and very pretty once you start it working. Admittedly, I had my doubts about it at first, but I’m liking the look now. I got the two pieces for the head done, as well as the wings and wing arms, and am working on the body now. Since we are not going with black, the story is now that all male Night Fury dragons are black, and the females come in all kinds of different colors. This will be the explanation for anyone who teases the girls about having Toothlesses (???) that are not the proper color.

I’m trying things a bit differently this time, such as not assembling as I go along. This time I’m going to make all the pieces and then assemble them at the end. Also, I discovered that the reason I had all the quite-visible gaps in the black one is because as I’m crocheting in the round, I need to tug the working yarn after each stitch as I go. I wasn’t doing that, which doesn’t appear to make a difference when I’m crocheting flat, but apparently when I work in the round, I somehow manage to loosen each stitch as I go around. So far, it appears to be working. It’s not a sharp tug, either, just a slight one to tighten up the stitch just a tiny bit.

Another thing I’m taking great pleasure in is the ability to see my stitches! You cannot imagine the joy this gives me! I’m giving serious consideration to buying the lighted crochet hooks for the next time I do anything in black. I thought the lighted hooks were an amusing novelty item when I saw them on Amazon, but I’m rethinking my position now. They might have actually helped when working on hubby’s dragon. If you click on the link, you’ll see that they’re a bit pricey, but I’m really thinking they’d be worth it for the next time I’m working with a dark yarn.

In other news, I passed Pharmacology and Surgical Nursing. It was by the skin of my teeth, but it was a pass, and at this point, I’ll take it. I wanted to do a lot better in the grades department, but I’m finding out that I don’t test well. I can study from now till doomsday, but the second I find myself in a testing position, my brain shuts off. It doesn’t matter if the test is written or oral. I get nervous, and I’m done for. So as long as I keep my grades above a C, I’ll graduate, but after that comes the Test Of All Tests, also known as the VTNE, the Veterinary Technicians National Exam, which is essentially national boards. Passing is 75%, and the fee to take the test is $300…each time you take it. I am thoroughly dreading that test, and my plan is to take it as soon as possible after graduating, while everything still remains fairly fresh in my brain, as it were.

You know what? Let’s not even discuss this. I can feel the terror mounting even thinking about it. My blood pressure is high enough, thanks. Let’s go back to crafty stuff.

I’m also thinking about trying out another doubleweave blanket on my Flip. It’s been awhile since I’ve woven anything, and longer still since I’ve woven on the Flip at all. Since the last doubleweave disaster, I put it away and haven’t touched it. I think I’d like to get her out again. She’s not ideal for blanket weaving, with only a 25″ weaving width, but my big floor loom is long gone, and I miss her. I’ll never see a deal that sweet again. Anyway.

I also need to resume spinning all the Sibe fur for the rescue and get it back to them. Any spinners out there who’d like to donate their services in a good cause? Please comment and I’ll put you in touch with people who would be very grateful for it. If you know a spinner, please pass the word. As a matter of fact, if you want to donate some time or anything else to a rescue, whether you’re crafty or not, comment and let me know. You don’t even need to be local. I can probably put you in touch with someone no matter where you are, and the rescue groups are always grateful for any help they can get. So are the pups they support!

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That sounded like a really interesting title, actually, at least to me! Homeward Bound doesn’t mean what you think it does though. It was our field trip yesterday, and it’s a pet crematorium. In point of fact, it’s the only pet crematorium for hundreds of miles, apparently, and also the one that cremated our Smoky, so during our tour I found myself standing across from a shelving unit holding dozens of urns identical to hers. Not my best day ever. I’ve learned far more about the cremation process than I ever wanted to know. I can see how it might be wise to know something about it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, right? I definitely did not like it. The staff were all very nice, don’t get me wrong, it’s just the subject matter. It’s not something I like to spend much time thinking about.

I did take the advice of opusanglicanum on my cooking problem yesterday, and made an attempt at Yorkshire pudding. It actually went pretty well, as far as the cooking mechanics. As far as flavor, well, never having eaten Yorkshire pudding before, I have no idea if I did it right. Alone, they were pretty bland. With gravy they were awesome! So, I’ll probably make them again. I put them with a kind of end-of-the-month-toss-together meal: egg noodles with onion gravy and hamburger meat over them. Not exactly gourmet, but filling nonetheless. Thank you to opusanglicanum!

Radiology. Oh, radiology, how confusing you are. Actually doing an x-ray isn’t as bad as learning what’s involved in one. You measure the part you’re going to radiograph, figure out how big the image needs to be, follow the chart for the kvps and mAs, place the animal, and snap. Overly-simplified, but essentially that’s it. It’s learning about the kvps abd mAs themselves, and the cathode and the anode and how everything actually works together. But I managed to get an A on my final anyway, so it’ll be on to the veterinary technician program in about two weeks! In the meantime, I can catch up on my favorite television shows, of which there are few, and restart…again…my finger weaving project.

I refuse to be beaten by a few strands of string. Absolutely refuse. So one way or another, I am going to get the hang of this and get it right. I am not going to change materials, and I am not going to chuck the thing across the room. What I am going to do is alternate between the finger weaving and the fur I’m spinning for the rescue. Yes, I’m still doing that. There’s a lot of fur! And speaking of which, if there are any spinners out there willing to volunteer for the rescues, I’d like to encourage you to contact them. Right now I’m spinning for SOS-SRF, and I know they’d be happy to hear from some more spinners, but there are other rescues out there that can always use help, even if it’s not crafts or fostering. There are some, like SOS-SRF, that use crafts donated to them by selling them in eBay auctions to raise money to support the dogs they help. So never think there’s nothing you can do. Even kids can help!

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Specifically, the fur of a Siberian Husky. I wanted to blog about this today, because I’ve gotten a lot of strange looks when I’ve mentioned spinning dog hair, and many folks are downright grossed out by the idea. So here we go.

I got into spinning, and bought my wheel primarily for the purpose of spinning dog hair. Yep, you read it right. I’d heard of people doing it for the purpose of creating keepsakes for pet owners whose pets have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and I thought it was a fabulous idea. Then I thought, why wait till I’ve lost one of my babies? Thor drops enough fur in the course of one grooming to make another dog. Why not start spinning his fur now, while I still have him? To date, I have two boxes worth of his undercoat, with more on the way all the time. He’s a woolly-coated Sibe: there is never an end to his shedding. There may be a little less to comb out during parts of the year, but whether it’s less or more, it’s always a copious amount. If you’ve never owned a Sibe and saw what I brush out of him during a regular grooming, it would boggle your mind. Seriously.

Because he’s got a fairly long staple, learning to spin using his fur was not as traumatic as I expected it to be. And because he’s my dog, practice fiber was, of course, free. How can you beat that? If you run out of stuff to spin, go groom the dog, and voila! – you have more spinnable fiber at no cost other than your time to groom him, which is bonding time, in my eyes.

To address the idea that it’s gross to spin dog hair, I submit this for you to ponder: most people who aren’t allergic to it have worn wool. Wool, as a very general rule, comes from a sheep. Sheep live in pastures. Many of them have limited contact with the humans who own them. They don’t live in the house, they’re not (for the most part) getting regularly bathed. At the point that their coats are sheared, the unprocessed wool is full of feces, urine, and vegetable matter, if not other things. It also doesn’t smell very good.

Now picture the average pet dog: they’re in your home, which means they’re pretty much clean. Certainly, they’re not as dirty as the average sheep. Yes, wet dog is a fairly unpleasant scent, but just like sheep’s wool, the fur can be cleansed of that scent. There’s less work involved, too. I sit down, call Thor over, leash him, and brush him. Nothing to it.

Also consider this: Sibes are Arctic breeds. They’re bred to withstand temperatures that we in the lower 48 will never see. They have the ability to keep themselves warm. How warm must their fur be? Answer: pretty rutting warm, as well as pretty rutting light!

So, all in all, to me, spinning dog hair is a great idea. And since dog hair has been found in even prehistoric yarn, well, obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks so!

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DSC00452Yes, I know, I’m a bit belated on the Yule part, but give a girl a break…I’m lucky to have the time right now to blog at all!!

I’ve been back in school, and my grades so far have been awesome, which is shocking to me. Generally I’m a solid B student, but I’ve been racking up A’s, so I’m very happy and proud of myself. Naturally, though, this means I have no life outside of school. Not that I had a smokin’ social life beforehand, but it’s dwindled even from that! Oh, well. C’est la vie.

Vanir is a year old now, the biggest dog in the house, and also the biggest troublemaker. This time last year, he was too small, too shy, and too new to the pack to do much troublemaking. Now, he’s comfortable, and trouble follows hand in hand with comfortable, especially when a dog is that big. Numerous kitchen utensils, pots, hampers, and tree ornaments have been introduced to his teeth this year. He cleared the lower 3/4 of the tree. He clears the counters regularly. If you want to keep something, do not put it on display where he might see it!

Bryony turned five yesterday, although she informs me that since she still sucks her fingers, that means she is still four. She is adamant on this point, no matter what I say. She enjoyed brownies for her birthday, and her new doll, but hasn’t had a party yet. Given where her birthday falls, we decided it might be better to have her party next month, once the holidays are over. That gives us a break from the rush-rush-rush.

As you might imagine, not much has been done on the crafting front. I’ve got two blankets still on needles and not even a quarter done, although I did manage to weave some pretty scarves on one of my Cricket looms as a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law and Aneira, and my spinning wheel is back in action, as I’ve volunteered to spin up a ton of Sibe fur (not my own dog’s) for SOS-SRF. They often do auctions whose proceeds go to support the Sibes in rescue, so it’s a worthy cause.

I did try something new-for-me in spinning today. While cleaning my studio, I came across a small bag full of my Smoky’s fur. I know it was obtained long before she died, but I don’t know why I kept it, as I’ve always been certain that I could never spin a staple that short. I’m glad I kept it, as it’s the only fur I’ll ever have from her, but I still wasn’t sure it could be spun by me. So I took a small amount and carded it – I had forgotten how very soft she was – and made an attempt to spin it on a spindle. I learned that I can spin it, even on a spindle, and that the spindle I was using (because it was the only one unencumbered at the moment) wasn’t the right one for the job. I’ll try again when one of my other spindles is freed up.

I’m hopeful that life will settle down enough soon that I’ll be able to blog more often again. Until then, I’ll stop by as I can!

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Storm Kloud's Borealis North Lights, aka Vanir

Storm Kloud’s Borealis North Lights, aka Vanir

And once again, I’ve fallen behind on blogging.  You would think that, having taken a leave of absence from school, I would have kept up, but no. Somehow, I have both more and less time to blog. It’s a paradox I don’t understand. Well…maybe I kind of do. I’m home, but busy.

To bring you up to speed, first we got rid of deadbeat roommates. In keeping with the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” philosophy, I will say no more than that on that subject, other than that I’ve decided that I don’t care if we’re on the verge of having to live in our trucks, I absolutely will not have any more roommates in this house.

After that, on December 17th, we picked up our Alaskan Malamute puppy from Storm Kloud Kennel, who has been named Storm Kloud’s Borealis North Lights, with the call name Vanir. He is disgustingly cute and soft, and talks almost nonstop. This was the first time I’d ever gone to a breeder; my other dogs are rescues or strays. But we wanted a puppy this time, and a good quality one. He will be fourteen weeks old on this coming Tuesday, and is already very close to as big as two of my other dogs. The breeder thinks he will be about 90 lbs., minimum. Looking at his paws, which are nearly the size of my hand and still growing, I’m thinking he’s going to be better than 100 lbs.! He is settling in very well with the other much older dogs; there is the occasional “you’re getting out of hand, chill out” snarl, but beyond that, he’s doing well with them. House training is a work in progress, although he’s doing pretty well there too, considering how young he is.

Of course, there is also catching up on all the housework that never seems to get done while I’m in school, such as laundry. That’s a never-ending job anyway. And both the vacuum and steam cleaner both decided to break at the same time, so I’m trying very hard not to look at my carpet, lest I lose my mind. We actually tried to vacuum the living room with the shop vac. Let me tell you, that did not go well at all.

On top of all this, one of our two furnaces decided to break down as well, just before Christmas. This is the furnace that heats the children’s rooms, which meant that they slept in our room for about three weeks while the home warranty company took their time getting it fixed. That was the worst, but the dishwasher and stove also broke around the same time. When it rains, it pours. Christmas was very barren this year for the kids, but they each got a scooter, which thrilled them to no end, and hubby decided to build them a castle dollhouse. That is still not finished, but it’s well on its way, and the girls can’t wait.

I also filled out a volunteer application for a local Siberian Husky/Alaskan Malamute rescue. I’ve had a kind of preliminary interview, and there are a few other steps that still need to be taken, but I’m hopeful I will soon be helping out there. I’d like to foster for the rescue, but I’m already at the city limit with my own dogs, and we aren’t sure how that will affect fostering. So for right now, that’s on the back burner.

And Bryony turned four just after Christmas, which required a birthday party, of course. Her first, and she enjoyed it immensely. She had two birthday cakes: one the day of her birthday that was just for the family celebration, one of those sickeningly sweet, store-bought concoctions; and the other one I made specifically for the party the next day. She couldn’t have been more thrilled.

There was one extremely negative incident on Martin Luther King day, which involved a carload of twentysomethings yelling the “N” word at me in front of my eight year old. I didn’t respond, not because I’m that good of a person at turning the other cheek, but because I was that shocked it had even happened. It’s probably better that I was too shocked to say anything. It’s not unheard of for me to lose my temper and say something that will make things worse. Of course, I do try not to do that, but I’m an Aries, with all attendant negative stereotypes. My daughter had never been exposed to that kind of hate before – why would she be, after all? Her dad is white, and I’m black, so there isn’t exactly an overabundance of hate in this house – and she really didn’t know what to make of it. Her innocence in that respect is now gone, which is what hurt the most. I would have preferred to broach the subject of prejudice in a much gentler way, but living in what seems to be the interracial couple capital of the USA, I didn’t think I needed to worry about it this soon.

That’s life in a nutshell…crazy. It rarely seems to be anything but crazy. Thankfully, though, it’s equally rare that life takes that negative a turn.

In the last couple of weeks, I learned to crochet a basket weave type of pattern, which is very cool, picked up my naalbinding needle to practice a little, and have made myself pick up needle knitting again, in the hopes that I’ll get it. It’s very frustrating for me. I’ve mastered the long tail cast-on, and decided to try knitting socks. I thought nothing could be simpler. Um…no. It’s anything but. Every time I start to knit, I either lose a stitch, or gain one. In one day, I unraveled the stupid knitting no less than eight times. I cannot stress enough how irritating it was to start, rip it out, start, rip it out. I was so sick of it that the last time I gained a stitch out of nowhere, I just knit two stitches together as one and kept going. Were my needles not so gorgeous, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I would have ended them. But these are part of the limited edition Knitter’s Pride set of needles, in all their loveliness. Throwing them across the room was not an option!

I almost never lose a stitch when I’m loom knitting, but hand me a pair of needles and I’m as inept as it is possible to be. But I’m determined to get the hang of this. Other people can do it, so I can too. It’s just going to take me longer than I expected, and I hope my patience holds out.

The basket weave crochet was much easier. Someone posted a question on Facebook about the tutorial, which is how it wound up on my radar. The poster couldn’t figure out the pattern because the lady who did the video only spoke Spanish. I do speak Spanish, but it’s been years since it was spoken to me, so I’m very rusty. But I managed to follow along well enough to actually do it. It helped that her videos were very clear, even though I understood almost nothing she said.

So that’s it. Life continues on its insane path, and we just keep it as positive as possible. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon!

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