I love my husband for many reasons, but high on that list is the time he spent teaching Samson how to ride in my bike basket. He did it when Sam could still run alongside us for a couple miles but we wanted a way to take him on longer trips down the Eugene bike path. Now Sam doesn’t ever want to run as fast as a bike. But he’ll sit in the milk crate for a long while. Last weekend he accompanied me on a ride to the library…
Watching my beloved dog grow old is hard. He has a lot of pep in his step still, and sometimes strangers we meet at the park are surprised to hear he’s 13, but he is slowing down nonetheless. He’s lumpier. And his skin hangs looser and he snores louder. And more than ever he’s interested in staying warm, which makes me think of a friend’s ancient cat Foof who lived out the last few years of her life hardly ever straying from an electric heating pad on top of the bed. She was 17, and I remember how cool her fur felt as she slept there on her little heater.
Short of moving to a warmer climate, what we can currently offer Sam is the top of the file cabinet in the back office. There’s a small wall heater back there with two settings: HOT and OFF. When it’s on all the heat rises to the ceiling, creating cold feet and a sweaty forehead. Sam was joining R. for his study sessions this winter and spring, but his bed on the floor was cold even with the wall heater on. The top of the file cabinet, however, is super toasty and sauna-like. Eventually we might need to provide him a Foof-arrangement.
For those of you who have seen a pet through old age, do you have any words of wisdom to share?
I’m a few days late in putting together my salute to 2012, a year not terribly different from 2011. It was our coasting-comfortable year – same job for me, same apartment, same program for R – a welcome respite after so much change the two years before and what I’m sure is more change to come in 2013.
Compared to 2011, there was not quite as much experimentation in the kitchen this year. There was more sewing though, inspired by my trip to the fashion district of L.A. in early spring. Some mittens, a couple of dresses, a maxi skirt, two shirts, and my biggest accomplishment with the sewing machine: the chevron baby quilt.
Still a lot of knitting. I think Holl was my favorite FO of 2012. I published two hat patterns – Joyride and Ryegrass - and my goal is to do more of that in 2013.
We did a little more traveling in 2012 – Ohio to the park where I found Sam, Oregon, South Carolina, Cape Cod, Los Angeles. Everyone splurges on something, and R. and I have talked about how we’d rather have a tinier house in the future if it meant we could afford more travel (tinier house, but still yard enough for some sheep
Much love to you and yours in the coming year! I’ll sign out with one more photo collage, this one of the person (and pets) that make this space a home.
I had to set aside the apple green yarn for a while because the pieces I’d knit weren’t right, but I wasn’t ready to frog them all. A month or so of not looking at them should do the trick – I’ll be able to rip them right out. The yarn is part silk and no matter how small I go with the needles it wants to be something drapey. I was trying to make something structured. I feel humbled – yarn demands to be listened to!
This other project is working out better so far. On my way to a wedding in Western Mass this fall we stopped at WEBS and in the short time I had to shop I found 7 skeins of Misti Chunky Alpaca on clearance. It’s incredibly soft, which I’ve enhanced with a 2×2 Shaker Rib. My idea is to make a loose shrug, and there should be enough yarn to add sleeves. If it works out I’ll write up the pattern!
The house is getting chillier. Everyone’s committed to finding a warm spot…
We’re dog-sitting this weekend for Louise, a young tawny-colored terrier (if you want to see her as a little puppy click here). Louise wants to play and sniff and go places. Sam wants to sleep in, followed by some couch naps, followed by bedtime. Saturday we played things Samson’s way and showed Louise how nice mid-morning naps can be. Is she convinced??
Early afternoon I left the nappers to visit Fiber Revival in Newbury with my friend Christine. It was an easy hour’s drive from Boston, and the happenings took place at a beautiful historic 17th century farm.
I thought the $6 admission fee was totally worth it, because in addition to the vendors and food there were tents and chairs set up so you could just sit and knit/spin. Despite ominous skies the rain held off, and we had a great time just hanging out and talking with fellow fiber nerds.
I fell in love with two things. First, the color of this roving from Enchanted Knoll Farm:
Second, a double-treadle Hitchhiker spinning wheel.
It’s a little guy designed for portability. Small enough to put in a bag and fit in the carry-on compartment of an airplane. Also – and this is what caught Christine’s ears – it’s small enough to put by your feet so you can spin while riding in a car. WHAT? I tried it for a while and it was really smooth. I think Christine and I both know what we want for Christmas.
This morning Louise was looking especially bored. Aww, okay little pookie. Let’s go out. We took her and Sam to the Sheepfold off-leash area of Middlesex Fells and she got to roll in some stuff and chase some dogs.
It’s been eight years since Samson was a stray in Hocking Hills State Park, and in that time he’s made two cross-country road trips and lived in four different apartments on two different coasts. At some point in the past year I was struck by this idea that we would take Sam back to his old stomping grounds for a visit. A dog homecoming. Would he recognize it? Would he care? Was I being really super weird?
The answer to all three was, maybe. But the idea wouldn’t shake. I cautiously rolled it out to a few friends and family members, presenting it as a half joke. Only it seemed to resonate with people. The notion of returning home after a long life adventure is such a powerful storyline that I think we can’t help but be moved by it…even for a dog. Soon we began planning a week’s vacation in Ohio that included a couple nights of camping in the park.
My parents and brother met us there. They brought their old green Coleman stove that I remember from camping as a kid, some tents, and enough food to feed us all for a month.
So….how did my old dog like it? I will say that I haven’t seen him acting so puppyish in a long time. There are days where he looks pretty stiff walking up the apartment stairs, but in Hocking Hills he was scampering up and down rocks and scouting out every cave and holler. He ate s’mores, growled at a raccoon outside our tent, and wooed the little girl in the neighboring campsite into giving him some of her breakfast. ”He seems so happy,” my mom said. I think he was.
We were too! Even with the drought as bad as it is – all the falls were dried up – Hocking Hills is a beautiful place. I was happy that Read got to see it.
Read took this picture of me and Sam and afterwards laughed, It looks like you’re having a conversation. Hmm yes well in fact we are! I am asking him if he liked his trip and what reflections he might be having about adventure, returning home, and growing old. And bacon, of course. Always bacon.
I just got back from vacation and oh man was it wonderful. I’ll be posting snippets this week once I get the photos uploaded. Get ready for some good ones of Samson re-exploring the caves and hills of his youth in Southern Ohio!
There’s no vacation like a screen-free vacation, so it wasn’t until I returned that I saw Kami had been mentioned in this 100 Beanie Drive by Epheriell Designs. A few folks have already posted their Kami Hats on ravelry with a note that they’re for the drive. At least 141 hats, mittens, and scarves have been pledged in under a month, which is awesome! The items will be donated to the local hospital’s oncology unit….won’t you join in? Just follow the link above and add your pledge. Items are to be sent by July 31st, and the Kami hat is such a quick knit you could easily make one in a night or two.
Nobody’s tamed the almighty power of bleach better than Rachel C. I met this woman in 2004 while we were sweating out a summer of camp counseling in southern Ohio. She had bleached these fantastical designs into her camp jeans (camp counseling is an alternate reality that requires a completely separate wardrobe from regular life), and those jeans one of the many reasons I was like, “I gotta make friends with this person!”
Check out the shirt she mailed me for my birthday.
Rachel did a full tutorial for foxflat readers in 2009, so if you’d like to try your hand at bleaching (shirts, pants, table runners) click here. Me, I’ll just keep trying to talk her into knitting-for-bleaching trades. And birthday presents!
When I was on the floor taking a picture of the shirt design I snapped one of this old pup…he’s about twelve now.
Scrolling through pictures with a friend the other day I happened upon one from Sam’s youth…camping in Kentucky with guy friends. Look how brown his face was! He looked less beagle-y without any white.
In a burst of questionable judgement, I friended my hometown animal shelter on Facebook. Terrible idea. Logging onto Petfinder is something I can generally avoid, but now I get regular newsfeed updates like: “Williams County Humane Society added 7 photos to the album Williams County Humane Society ~ Adoptable Pets.”
And then I HAVE TO click on it.
One of those 7 photos this week was this, with the caption: Katie ~ 4 year old female Mountain Feist (small in size). I am a little shy, but I do enjoy the outdoors very much. There are so many wonderful smells out here!
What a lovely feist friend for Samson! With a name he already recognizes hahaha. Read says I’m just torturing myself because we can’t have two dogs and two cats in this little apartment.
So then I torture myself some more by looking up real estate in the Boston area. After about ten minutes I’ve snapped back into reality and can proceed with studying Spanish for the final exam this week.
Read is not able to sit at the table and type without a lap mate. Usually one hops up, but last night they squished in and made room for two.