Thursday, February 24, 2005

Blogging Vacation
Lord willing, the next post will be March 1.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Cell Phone, Camera, Snow, and Anticipated Warmth
The road in February. A rather boring snow picture.All the little chores and errands that need to be done before going on a trip have been keeping me busy.

Yesterday I braved the cell phone store and bought a camera phone. Can't give a reason why I need a camera phone. I have a very serviceable digital camera. But I've know for a while that I was going to get one unless it cost too much. It didn't and I did. Just for fun.

One of the things that needed to be done before my trip was to figure out how to use my new phone.

What you're seeing in the top picture is the very first photo I was able to get from my cell phone to my laptop. I went out to get the snail mail, twirled around and took a picture down the road.

Looking down the road into a winter sunsetThis is one of my favorite pictures from last February. Same road, opposite direction from the mail box.

We live on a shaded dirt road in rural SW Michigan. Once the road gets a packed down layer of snow it usually stays covered all winter, even through minor thaws like we've been having.

Checked out the weather forecast for Post Falls, Idaho where I'm going tomorrow. They're having daytime temps in the 50's. Now that's a thaw worth mentioning!

To someone coming from a Michigan winter, a temperature in the 50's is going to feel like tee-shirt weather. I can hardly wait. Do you think the sun will shine? Maybe we can have the baby shower outdoors.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Long and The Short Of It
Mom at five feet and John at six foot five standing together reading a bookThe short (5 foot) lady is my mom. She's the height I usually knit socks to fit.

The tall (6 foot 5 inches) guy is my son John, the one who lives 2000 miles away in Idaho and is eventually going to receive the Opal Handpainted Basketweave Ribbing Socks for his birthday in March.

This is my first time knitting socks for him, and I'm a little concerned about the fit. In addition to being tall, he is also very slender.

I'm knitting under deadline. I want to be down to the toe when I pack the first sock in my suitcase for the trip to Idaho.

Several ladies on the Opal Chatters List wrote to me about making socks for their equally tall - or taller - sons. How did our babies get so tall?

During John's growing years, I worked at Kellogg's. The rumor was that feeding Pop-Tarts to our boys would make them grow tall. It sure worked for John.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Griffin, My New Canine Nephew
Griffin, a 45 pound cocker/bassett and many other things mixJust a short post to welcome Griffin into the family.

He's 45 pound cocker/bassett (and many other things) mix whose owners decided they didn't want him after ten years together. How sad.

He was recently adopted by my sister, Carrie, and will be overly properly loved and appreciated in his new home.

In his old home, he was not allowed on the furniture. You can see that he is adapting quickly to the new furniture rules.

Welcome to the family, Griffin.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Knitting Needles on the Plane
A little knitting content is creeping onto Seasons of Violet here. It's good for you non-knitters to know that your government is very concerned about the possible danger of grannies on the plane with knitting needles.

There are a few airlines who don't allow knitting needles at all. My airline, NorthWest, does allow them, but there are reports of some security people who don't let them through.

The poor unfortunate knitters who get these security people are doomed to having the needles ripped out of their knitting and confiscated.

I'm going to take a five day vacation from knitting. I have a John Grisham paperback to read on the way there and will pick up another paperback that doesn't require a lot of mental attention to read on the way home.

Please don't tell the Knitlist. They would probably ban me for life for not wanting to knit in the airports, through all my flights, though all my sightseeing, and through the entire baby shower.

Travel is full of interruptions and interesting things to see and hear. It's much easier to be interrupted mid-sentence than mid-row. And I wouldn't want to make the other passengers nervous with those needles.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

One Week To Go
A week from today I'll be leaving for the baby shower in Post Falls, Idaho, Idaho's River City, 2,000 miles away.

I'm so looking forward to seeing Son John and very pregnant Daughter-in-law Anne. This will be the first time I've visited since the wedding in Las Vegas (Anne's home town), over five years ago.

I've never been to Idaho. Montana, yes. Idaho, no. And this will be the first time I've visited the State of Washington. My plane lands in Spokane, 30 minutes from John and Anne's new home.

I'm also looking forward to visiting the Coeur d'Alene Resort where John works. I've been warned we're going to have a decadent brunch - bad enough to ruin my diet for weeks - there on Sunday. Oh well, I guess I'll have to deal with it.

This is my orientation visit, so I'm doing it without a rental car. John is going to chauffeur me around and show me the sights. Once I've looked everything over, I plan to learn how to get around by myself for future visits.

I've decided to do four trips this year whether I can afford it or not. A new granddaughter is just too special to miss.

Tentatively I'm planning a late April/early May newborn trip, an August trip with Granddaughter Kimmy, and an October/early November trip with Great-Grandma Monette before the weather gets bad.

Kimmy is excited about flying for the first time, seeing her Aunt and Uncle, and meeting her new cousin Sydney.

"Tell me about the plane. What's it like? What kind of thing can I do for 4 hours on a plane?"
Guess I better get busy and ask the Knitlist about taking knitting needles on the plane.

(For those who don't know, this is a joke. The topic of knitting needles on planes has been overdone and is now forbidden on the Knitlist.)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine Pappy
Pappy the Papillon in his Valentine tiePappy wants to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day. Yes, those are little hearts on his tie.

I rarely dress my dogs. They don't seem to appreciate it. I put the little tie on for the picture and took it off again as soon as I was done.

The tie was a gift from my friend Sue. She formerly worked with me at Pharmacia/Pfizer, but now finds herself happily unemployed and making dog bibs (she has a drooling Newfoundland), ties, and kerchiefs.

Pappy is a very active middle aged male dog. He has a very thick, luxurious coat which makes him look like he might need the Doggy Diet, but he doesn't.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Introduction to Doggy School
Sunny at her doggy school beginner class graduationSunny was four months old when I got the idea it would be fun to take her on nursing home visitations.

Knowing almost nothing about what I was doing or how to go about doing it, I talked to the lady at the Humane Society who tests dogs for their visitation program. She told me to give her a call when Sunny was a year old and, until then, see about getting her into a puppy class to learn some basic obedience.

Through a long series of timely coincidences, I found out there was an excellent, semi-secret (doesn't advertise because she doesn't need to advertise) dog trainer only eight miles from my house.

Sunny excelled in her puppy class. In fact, she won the top-of-the-class award. This picture was taken on puppy class graduation night. Sunny was six months old and freshly spayed, which I mention because the incision shows in the picture.

We had fun with the class and practiced almost every day. The whole doggy school thing was new to me and I needed to practice just as much as Sunny.

By the end of the nine week session, it was obvious that we couldn't quit. Sunny loved going to doggy school and we were having a great time on our night out together each week. That's how we ended up in Intermediate Class.

From there, we moved up to the class we're in now, Hobby Advanced. On Monday night Sunny and I go to doggy school for two hours. The first hour is non-competition obedience. The second hour alternates weekly; agility one week, tricks and games the next week. Sunny's favorite is tricks and games.

On Thursday night Pappy and I go to doggy school for the same class. Pappy's favorite is agility.

I'll be telling more about what we do at doggy school in future posts.

For now, I want to explain why Sunny is not visiting nursing homes.

Sunny with her tail between her legs before the 2003 Christmas ParadeA picture is worth a thousand words.

This picture was taken in the staging area before the 2003 Kalamazoo Christmas Parade. There are strange people, strange loud noises, bands, floats, and lots of kids.

See Pappy in the foreground? He is loving it all, holding his tail high and wagging it as fast as he can.

See Sunny up next to my leg? She wants to go home. Her beautiful bushy tail is tucked just as tight under her butt as she can tuck it.

I never made her do another parade. Or go to a nursing home.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Cute Puppy Pictures
Kim at The Woolen Rabbit has newborn Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy pictures on her blog. Too cute to miss if you're a puppy lover.

Two of the puppies are very small and she's concerned about them. I keep checking her blog to see if there's news - or even better, there might be more puppy pictures.

Friday, February 04, 2005

February Thaw
Pappy standing on the crust of the frozen snowIn Michigan we have good imaginations when it comes to winter turning into spring.

Yesterday and today we're having high temperatures in the lower 40s (about 5 C) and it's feeling balmy.

At night, everything freezes solid again. This picture of Pappy walking on top of the snowy crust was taken early this morning.

For the past few weeks the snow has had a nasty crust. The two little dogs could walk on top of it as long as they kept their weight distributed on all four legs. The second they would squat (Do I have to say why they're squatting?) the crust would break and little legs and butts sink down into the snow. Even lifting one leg to pee would send them through the crust and off balance into the snow.

After the mini-thaw yesterday and the re-freeze last night, the crust is finally thick enough to support them through all their bodily functions.

Glory a big black lab mix standing in the snowI take many pictures of Glory, our black lab mix, and end up deleting them because it's hard to get a good picture of a solid black dog.

This morning on our walk I was able to get a good shot of her against the snow.

Granddaughter Kimmy is coming this weekend. I'm picking her up after school this afternoon.

We will eat at McDonald's, go see a movie, make some turtle bars, play UNO, yak with each other, and whatever else we decide to do. It's been a while since we've been together and I'm looking forward to having her energy around for a few days.

She's getting the Sweet Valentine socks for Valentine's Day. I stopped at the post office and mailed them to her yesterday. She loves getting mail and I love making my granddaughter happy.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

She is Our Sunshine
I always wanted a lap dog. Bob wasn't so sure.

I found Sunny's picture on Petfinder. She was seven weeks old, two pounds, and just about the cutest thing I'd ever seen.

Sunny was advertised as a Terrier Papillon mix. Since she was found by the side of the road with her mother and two sisters, the guessing at a breed was just that, guessing. One sister looked like a Jack Russell, the other sister was twice as big as Sunny and looked like a white poodle. Her mother looked like a very pretty "breed unknown."

There were fifteen applications for Sunny. Her foster mom wisely decided she needed to go to a home with older people and no kids because she was so small and delicate. We got the nod, and off we went on a hundred mile ride to meet her.

It took me about 30 seconds before I was ready to dig for the checkbook. I handed her to Bob and I'll never forget the look on his face when he took that tiny little puppy. There was no need to ask him if he agreed we needed to take her home.

Sunny standing next to her favorite toy turtle and smilingWe named her Sunshine after the song "You Are My Sunshine." We call her Sunny and save Sunshine for when she's in trouble.

She's a mature lady now, a little over three years old. Her ideal adult weight is twelve pounds. Right now she's on a doggy diet.

It's too bad she isn't a breed, because she is a wonderful little dog: intelligent, loving, and very expressive. She's a people dog and doesn't like to be without at least one of her people around.

One of her favorite things is going to doggy school where she does obedience work, tricks and games, and agility.

When I started this post, I was going to write about Sunny and doggy school. Then I got sidetracked on her adoption. We'll talk about doggy school some other day.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Quiz Time!
We haven't had a quiz in a long time. I find them, I take them, I decide the questions and/or results are stupid and I don't post them.

Today I found one where the results are right on accurate for me. Give it and try and let me know if your results were true for you.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

You are great at finding patterns and relationships between things.
Always curious about how things work, you love to set up experiments.
You need for the world to make sense - and are good at making sense of it.
You have a head for numbers and math ... and you can solve almost any logic puzzle.

You would make a great scientist, engineer, computer programmer, researcher, accountant, or mathematician.