Archive for December, 2012

2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you for reading my blog!

Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag, Part Two

December 27, 2012

A few years ago I knitted a drawstring bag in cotton.  In my mind, it took large amounts of planning and executing.  I found an image of a sailboat design that I knitted into each side.  The final product would be awesome.

The final product was awful.

It looked like a drawstring sad sack.

Sometimes things just don’t work out.

One day I was admiring a bookbag.  And suddenly I realized what my sad sack bag was lacking.  I redesigned the strap, in my mind, and I knew that it could work.

I gathered 3 skeins of 100% wool, and I cast on with 2 strands, with ever-so-large circular needles, 20 stitches, and knitted in garter stitch for 21 ridges.  I picked up 20 stitches on each side, making a total of 80 stitches on the circular.  I added a strand of novelty eyelash yarn and knitted round and round until I ran out of eyelash yarn.  When I ran out of the main wool, I added in another skein and knitted until the whole contraption was as long as the length from my elbow to my fingertips, about 18 inches.  I knitted the next round with 8 buttonholes spaced evenly, knitted 2 more rounds, and bound off.

I knitted an I-cord with two double-pointed needles until the I-cord was about 3 yards long.



Then I put both into an old pillowcase, tied it shut, and ran it through two cycles in the washing machine.

I threaded the cord through the buttonholes, and here’s the part that made the backpack part workable.  I poked a hole with a knitting needle through two corners of the base, and threaded an end of the I-cord through each hole, and tied the cord off inside in a supersized overhand knot.  You’ve seen a backpack before.  You know what I’m talking about.



On the front, I tied an overhand knot to keep the cord from sliding out of place.

And there you have it.  Some of the gray parts are really gray, and maybe I’ll get better pictures someday.

Until then, use your imagination.

Christmas Greetings, One Day Later

December 26, 2012

On Christmas Day, Sugar had a two-pronged plan.

First, we were to go to Garnett to take dog food and treats to Richard.

Second, we were to go to check on the two stray dogs that Sugar is still feeding on his mail route.

Sugar has a bag full of Milk Bones that he emptied easily, and then refilled several times from the box in the van.

Sugar has a bag full of Milk Bones that he emptied easily, and then refilled several times from the box in the van.


These are the two semi-feral dogs that live under his house.


The red one does not have a name. The one on the right was trapped several years ago in Sugar’s big dog trap and taken to the spay/neuter clinic. She had to have a name for her paperwork, so we called her Heidi.


These two littermates are MoDo’s children. She’s a big white houndy-looking dog that Richard trapped a few years ago. She had been roaming the area, getting into garbage cans and eating roadkill.

Then on to Hardlyville.  We turned the corner in the van, and there they were waiting for us.  They trotted alongside the van, then stopped by a Christmas tree that the local folks had decorated here at this little community area.


The second dog is to the left and back of the tree, but he blends in with the leaves and is hard to see.


I turned the van around and headed back out to the main road, and the dogs trotted alongside the van back in the direction of the food.


The cows are across the road. Sugar says sometimes that the dogs hang out in the field with the cows.

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Merry Christmas, y’all!

Pinckney Colony

December 20, 2012

On Sunday, December 16, 2012, Sugar and I, on a whim, drove down Pinckney Colony Road.

I’d never been on that road, even though I’d driven by it hundreds (thousands?) of times.  When Sugar was a boy, he and his brother would ride their bikes out to Pinckney Colony to spend the night with a friend.  He said it must have been ten miles by bike on dirt roads, and they might see three cars.  That same ride today might yield three THOUSAND cars (Maybe.  Really, I don’t know, I haven’t done the research, but it sounds like an entirely good number.).

Sugar still can’t believe the changes that have taken place in his sleepy little village.  Concrete, buildings, and golf courses everywhere.  So for fun we deviated from our regular Sunday shopping to see how Pinckney Colony had changed since Sugar was a boy.

There were things he could identify, like the Monkey Farm, which has since moved, but is still in the general Lowcountry area.  (When he was a boy, some of the monkeys escaped and were living in the wild.  Imagine waking up to monkeys chattering in the trees outside your window.)

Speaking of chattering, he started talking about someone he knew named MaryO, and how she and her husband had a dairy farm, and how she now has an organic garden and sells produce at the farmer’s market, and how she must be, oh, in her eighties.  And how MaryO’s mother Olive played the organ at the Episcopal Church by the river where he was an acolyte, and there might be seven people at the service.

We got to the end of the road, which wasn’t exactly the end of the line, because it ended at a private driveway, guarded by a farm gate, that wandered off and away through the trees.  So clearly, we stopped, because we are good citizens (and, ummm, also we were observing the “no trespassing” sign).  Seemed like a good spot for a photo.


When I got home I did a little internet stalking, in the nicest way possible, on Pinckney Colony.  I found this.

And there’s MaryO with a story about growing up on Pinckney Colony, and photos of her family, and she mentions her mother and her mother’s love for playing the piano.

Then I did what I usually do when I’m researching people and trying to get them placed in their proper spots in my mind.  I made a family tree on

Sugar thinks that Miss Olive is related to the Lawtons somehow, but I can’t find that link.  Yet.

I need more time in the day.

Flannery, Part 2

December 19, 2012

Sometimes in the rescue world, you just get really lucky and get to meet up with a former rescue.

Such was the case for me last week.  I’ve gotten a bit of work back at the boarding kennel where I worked, but only a bit on a Saturday, in case you are monitoring my unemployment claim with the state.  Yes, I am claiming the work on my weekly reports.

Moving along.  Flannery was boarding for the Christmas holiday!  Everyone there loves her and can’t believe that she was a semi-feral dog once.







I seriously love this dog.  Or am I just enamored of her because I love her story so much?

It’s All Over But The Shouting

December 18, 2012

My mother-in-law had a rule for her boys.  Well, actually, they had a lot of rules, but the one that stuck out was this one:  If you tell a lie, you will be strapped.

They actually used that word.  “Strapped”.  I had a few spankings in my childhood, but no one ever used the word “strapped”.  My in-laws, on the other side of the same coin, never used the word “spanking”.  As far as I know, those boys never got strapped, but they certainly told some lies.

The thing about this rule that was most prominent in my mind was this:  You had to have a rule for that?

Everyone knows that lying is wrong.  You had to have a rule with consequences?  I still shake my head in disbelief.

Perhaps it was the difference in the cultures that we were brought up in.  I really don’t know the answer.  Really?  A rule that you will not lie?

The harder part became determining that a lie was told.  In other words, you got caught.  What if you didn’t get caught?  The rule couldn’t apply to you, because in order to be strapped, you had to be caught in the lie.

I told my mother-in-law once, “You had to have a rule for that?”, which was only a rhetorical question.  I’m still shaking my head on the whole matter.

Here’s where I’ll insert my disclaimer:  I’m not a perfect person, and I struggle with my imperfections.

But I grew up with a different set of expectations and rules.  The rules were unspoken.  You just knew what they were, and for little children, the rules were just understood.  Don’t lie.  Don’t steal.  Don’t cheat.  Don’t fight.  Be nice to your little sister.  (That last one was just for me.)


Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to change jobs and work at the spay/neuter clinic.

Do you ever think that you can predict the future?  I mean simple things that are predictable because you have been in similar situations before and know how things play out.  If I drive too fast, and I get caught and get a ,ticket, and I don’t pay the ticket, what will happen?  Frankly, I don’t know what will happen because I would pay the ticket.

That’s just me.  I’m scared of stuff.  I’m afraid of consequences.  I don’t like it when I don’t know the rules.

So I decided to change jobs because I had concerns about the viability of the veterinary practice that I worked for.  I read the future.


I was in for a rude awakening.  I knew the folks at the spay/neuter clinic.  I’ve been using that clinic since they opened about five years ago.  I wanted to make a difference, and I love the concept of spay/neuter.

Jumping forward about 90 days after my hiring, I was released from employment.

I applied for unemployment benefits.

(Insert jumble of paperwork, a hearing, weekly paperwork, phone calls, and the interminable job searches.)

After six weeks I received a notice that I was disqualified for benefits.


Do you  see that part?  Click on the image to enlarge.  THAT part.  The part that says I LIED?

So now the state of South Carolina has it on file that I am a liar.

I went to the unemployment office and filed an appeal.

I went to see an attorney.  He requested the file from the state so that he could determine which part of my application shows where I freakin’ LIED.

I received another notice that there would be a telephone hearing between an officer of the state, my employer, and myself and my attorney.

The employer, during his testimony, stated that I had mispresented myself and that he told me during the interview that I would need to perform two specific procedures, and that my resume and my application both stated that I could perform those procedures.  Yet, strangely, my resume does NOT state this, and my application (of which I do not have a copy, because who does that?  Who keeps a copy of their original application before they turn it over the the potential employer?), had it been produced by the employer, does also NOT state this.

I never even had an interview.  I never had an evaluation or exam.  I never had a  working interview.  I never received a job description.  I was never asked if I could perform specific functions in a factory setting.

Initially I asked if the clinic had any openings, because I was reading the future and decided that I could not stay at my present employer.

I was told that there was an opening, and I asked for consideration for this position.

I was asked when I could start, and when could I take a urine test.

I’d like to insert here that people know me.  They know what kind of person I am.  My reputation precedes myself.


 The hearing is over, and the matter is in the hands of the state.  It seems clear to my attorney that I will win the appeal.

Because really?  I want that “LIAR” part removed.

Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag

December 17, 2012

After all the hat fun while making the hat for Reader Sharon, I set out to make a knitted-and-felted purse.

Here’s the before.

It's about twentyish inches long plus the handles.

It’s about twentyish inches long plus the handles.


And about 16″ wide. I spread the backside of a quilt on the top of a gigantic dog crate for this photo shoot. The dog crate was the only thing that I had that was big enough and easily portable to take advantage of the winter sunshine. The cats are still using the picnic table for the picnic table wars.

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And then after…

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Now the dimensions are about 14″ x 14″, after a few sessions of felting in the washing machine.  These last two photos are taken inside the RV under artificial light, which accounts for the color difference.  I assure you that you can step outside and the colors increase their vibrancy.

Just imagine what your woolen sweaters will look like if they accidentally go through a wash cycle.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.  When I’m knitting these bags and don’t have a tape measure handy, because it’s probably wherever the safety pins are, I knit the bag about as long as the length from the tip of my fingers to my elbow.  That length is about 18″, not the 20″ in the before photos.  I knitted the green about 18″ long, then switched over to the hot pink, and knitted that color about 2″ before I bound off the bottom.

Did you know that it’s easy to knit while watching TV online?  So easy that you might not stop to measure your project.

Lucille Catches A Break, Part 2

December 12, 2012

Lovely Lucille went back to the vet on Monday for a follow-up visit. Sugar and I were pleased to see that she had put on 1/2 pound. The vet was not so pleased, for she said that the weight gain might just be the way Lucille was standing on the scale (I must remember that line. “I haven’t gained weight, I’m just listing on the scale a bit”.).

The vet recommended that Lucille be euthanized.  I have to say that I don’t agree with her one bit.

Lucille is old.

Lucille has arthritis.

Lucille has worn-down nubs for teeth.

Lucille is thin.


Lucille eats well.

Lucille wags her tail.

Lucille is mobile, although shaky.

Lucille has good control over her bowels and bladder.

Lucille has bright eyes.

Lucille responds to people.

Lucille has a home.



Euthanize?  I don’t think so.

Lucille Catches A Break

December 5, 2012


You might remember Lucille, the ancient pit bull that ended up at Richard’s in Garnett.  She just showed up, like many of his dogs do, and she was old when that happened four years ago.

Lucille has arthritis, like some other of us older citizens (clearing throat here), and she benefits from carprofen, an anti-inflammatory.  However, Richard doesn’t have the resources to provide it for her, and Sugar has been the one to see that she gets it.  He’s also been providing heartworm and flea prevention, but lately things have gotten out of hand at Richard’s.

He’s taken in 15 dogs.

He started with three:  Creech, Little Bear, and Molly.

Over the years he added a few as they showed up.  Some stayed, some did not.

The crew he has now includes Lucille, Lady Jane, Marsha, MoDo, Ziggy, Sweet Tater who was walking along the railroad track, Neighbor’s Dog who abandoned him, Hound Dog with no name, Choco, and two feral dogs that live under the house.  There’s a red pit bull that is living outside his fence.


We back up a few days to a few weekends ago.  Richard called to say that Lucille was dying.

Dying?  Could he be more specific?

It seems that she is dying of arthritis, and that she is rickity and decrepit, and she wants to lie in front of the fireplace or in the sunshine.

So the next day Sugar called to Richard to say that we would be out to pick her up and take her to the vet, and how was she?

“Oh, she’s fine”, was his reply.  Note that this was a daytime response, which is generally different from his nighttime response after he’s had a few.

So, dying, or not dying?  I usually say that we’re all dying, but that doesn’t really qualify Lucille’s condition.  So we went out to check on her.

She was lying against the house in the sunshine, and I didn’t even recognize her.  She was emaciated.  The rest of the dogs were milling around and making a commotion, eager to get the treats that Sugar took.

Lucille could hardly walk, and as we drove her to the vet we conjectured what was wrong with her.  Bad arthritis makes you feel like you want to die, but she wasn’t dying from that.  I guessed that her arthritis was so uncomfortable with the cold weather that she couldn’t get up the stairs into the old house to the dog food feeder, and even if she could, she probably couldn’t compete with the other dogs for food.

We stopped at the grocery store across the street from the vet’s office, and Sugar bought some canned food.  Lucille ate the contents of one large can.

The vet performed some bloodwork, and the results didn’t look too bad, so Novox was prescribed.  While we were waiting for the results of the bloodwork, Lucille ate another large can’s worth.

Both the vet and the vet tech thought that Lucille shouldn’t go  back to Richard’s.   But there were no other options.  Sugar has 7 dogs and 2 cats.  I have 3 dogs, 4 cats, and the feral cat station, AND I live in an RV – there’s nowhere for her to stay and keep warm.  Richard was just going to have to step up and do better.

We took her home, and Sugar talked to Richard, and told him that she needs to eat the canned food that Sugar bought for her, and to take her daily meds.

She goes back in two weeks.