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Some Sunday Giggles

Very late Saturday night, Max decided to go all “devil puppy.” Sometimes, I swear, the little Booger gets things into his gigantically proportioned little cranium and just…doesn’t…let…go. He decided to raid the dirty laundry pile on the bedroom floor, which I probably shouldn’t publicly admit is sitting on said bedroom floor. Three times he brought out Mr. Adventure’s sock. In an attempt to end the raids, Robolego Dinosaur came to guard the pile. All I can say is that riotous hysterity ensued.

 First, he tried to get Robolego Dinosaur away from the laundry:

Then, when Robolego Dinsosaur attacked, he went on the offensive:


And yes, I realize how this officially means I am “that” dog lady.

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So, since we got Max, my blogs have revolved around all the bad things he’s done and how I wonder what we were thinking that stormy, tornadoey day. In all honesty, the little booger is a sweetheart. In honor of him and JD (and of course, as an ode to the greatness of Julia Stiles movies ) this post is about ten things I don’t hate, in other words that I love, about each of my little furbabies.

Ten Things I Don’t Hate About JD

1 ) I don’t hate the way, no matter what, when you see I’m upset, you come over and comfort me.

2 ) I don’t hate the way you always want my attention and snuggle into me.

3 ) I don’t hate the way you give me face kisses just because I’m me.

4 ) I don’t hate the way you curl up into me on the couch.

5 ) I don’t hate the way every time we say squirrelbunnykitty you really do go looking for the mythical animal that is never going to exist and yet you still hope against hope.

6 ) I don’t hate the way you optimistically look for toys that we pretend to throw but that we’re still holding.

7 ) I don’t hate the way you lie on top of me and look up at me like I’m the best thing in the whole world.

8 ) I don’t hate the way you watch Animal Cops like it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen every time we turn it on for you.

9 ) I don’t hate the way you wake up from naps with your face fur all smooshed up and just stare when we call it “bed face.”

10 ) I don’t hate the way that you lie on the club chair next to whoever’s there, even if the computer is there as well, even if it’s irritating sometimes.

 Ten Things I Don’t Hate About Max

1 ) I don’t hate the way you’re always so excited to see me, even if I’ve only been in another room into which you can’t go.

2 ) I don’t hate the way you give drive-by kisses, when you run in, jump up on the couch, kiss my face, and then run away again.

3 ) I don’t hate the way your little behind seems unconnected to the front of you so that when you wag your stump, your whole behind wags, legs and all.

4 ) I don’t hate the way you run up to me, jump up on me, and make me go outside with you when DH says the word “outside”.

5 ) I don’t hate the way you lie on the back of the couch right near my head to be close to me but not on top of me.

6 ) I don’t hate the way you take my hand, put your paw on it and pull it into your tummy for a tummy rub on demand.

7 ) I don’t hate the way you stand looking at JD, lean back a little bit, then pounce forward for a not-so-stealth stealth attack.

8 ) I don’t hate the way you bound around with your back legs flopping out behind you in opposite directions.

9 ) I don’t hate the way that you look up at me with the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen in my whole life.

10 ) I don’t hate the way you lie next to the chair I sit in and curl up there without getting in the way.

 Most of all, I don’t hate the way the two of you make my life better simply by being here and making the house not seem so quiet and empty. So, for all the complaining I do, I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

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Max(imum) Destruction

Max should be renamed Destructor. No, really. He’s like a comic book supervillain. Just when we think there’s nothing left for him to do that he has yet to do? He finds another way to surprise, shock and amaze us. Not really in a good way, either.

It must be duly noted that last night’s debaucle was partly our own fault. In all seriousness, we’ve notice that he has insane storm anxiety. He can tell a storm coming a solid eighteen hours before it hits. He’s a better indicator than both an old man’s arthritis or the news. He gets into serious trouble when he pulls these stunts. He has, prior to storms a-comin’ – eaten a hole in a chair, destroyed yarn, destroyed projects, thrown a remote off the coffee table, and defecated in his crate then stepped in it. That last one, incidentally, was totally my fault. I didn’t want him to have an accident, and everyone knows dogs don’t like to mess their crates. Not our Max.

Yesterday, obviously, was a storm. Winds hitting upwards of 40 miles per hour. Noise from rain and branches flying around outside. All of this was enough to give me anxiety, let alone him. He was willing to go outside, for a change. However, he stared out the windows as though the end of the world was coming.

We had plans with some friends. They arrived, came in the house, and dropped some accoutrements off. Max and JD greeted them excitedly. The four humans went out to dinner. An enjoyable dinner, it was. Arriving home, however, not nearly as enjoyable. This is what we came home to:

Yes, those pieces of wood would be bamboo double pointed needles. Those round purple things would be the “grapes” from the adorable wine glass flip flops my BiL and his girlfriend gave us (one of which you can see in the upper right hand corner of the picture, sans grapes). Also lost in hurricane Max was a Denise Interchangeable cord. A piece of which was clearly visible in the x-ray at the emergency vet to which he was promptly taken for a visit.

Now, as to why I haven’t yet punted him out a window? This is the reason:

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Let’s Go! Red! Sox!

Woof woof woofwoofwooooof! (JD and Max celebrate the Red Sox winning the ALCS at 12:30am Monday morning) JD was a bit tired by this point, but there’s nothing like watching Theo receive the trophy:

Max was more excited though:

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Perfect fall weekend. Changeover to new trash system starting on Monday (meaning no massive cleaning). What does all of this mean? FOOTBALL, KNITTING, READING and…karaoke. Yup, the random conglomeration of activities that describe my life.

Friday night we went to Koy (the bar attached to a local Chinese restaurant) for karaoke. How much better does life get than opening a two performance sequence with All Jacked Up by Gretchen Wilson and closing with Anarchy in the UK by the Sex Pistols. That’s right. It doesn’t. Unfortunately, some of the regulars were extremely nonplussed by the idea of some good old fashioned punk rock blasting in a rather off-tune tone. It also didn’t help that anarchy had broken out in Baltimore and Boston about the same time as Anarchy as supposed to be “sung” in the bar. DH could barely contain his excitement at the Bosox winning the AL East. Either way, definitely good times. Definitely.

Knitting and football are best ways to spend a Saturday or Sunday. Although Notre Dame did not win, they did manage to score a few TDs with Sharpley looking rather good. Thanks to Girl is Crafty , I had me some fantastic gold and blue yarn to work with in my humble attempt to make a Notre Dame scarf. Her football-along swap package came the other day with all the goodies thereunto appertaining. Talk about hitting the motherlode:

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See that yarn? 5 skeins Wool of the Andes in blue, 4 in Daffodil to make an HP house scarf in Fighting Irish colors, which, incidentally, are also my undergrad alma mater colors. Also, notice those macadamias sitting there waiting to be eaten? Directly from the great state of Hawaii they are. Girl is Crafty felt that since I had to wait for my swap package while she lived the high life on a Hawaiian vacation, I deserved a little giftie from there as well. AWESOME. All other projects have been shoved aside for the making of said Fighting Irish rooting scarf, including the baby blanket for a little guy who was born a few days ago. At least, I know that I’m not the one holding up his birth. I was convinced for a brief time that he wasn’t planning on arriving until he had some hand knit goodness to keep him toasty warm.

Of course, nothing can go completely smoothly in this household. While I was looking over this week’s fantasy football matchups, a little Mr. Someone (Max) decided he wasn’t getting enough attention. There’s nothing like turning around after being desperately disappointed with the players that you’re going to have to play to see several projects pulled from their happy little homes, sitting on the floor, with one of them having the working yarn chewed off. Of course, being so proud of himself, he needed to have his picture taken and tagged.

iz steelin ur projekt

 See that little bit of yellow and dark blue? Right, that would have been the chewed off scarf yarn from the Notre Dame scarf. Stupid Max. Stupid teething. Stupid.

I finished Blink before going to bed last night. I began thinking about whether blind grading of my students would be a good idea. One of the major themes of the book is that the more information we have, the worse our decisions become, at least when it comes to big decisions. Gladwell talks in depth about behind-the-screens auditions for different symphonies helping the maestros get better musicians because they are less focused on the visual aspects of the musicians’ playing or perceptions of how different genders play different instruments. This discussion harkened back to ye old law school days where in the larger classes, particularly in the first year, the exams were graded by number, and the professor did not know who was who until grades were entered. I began thinking about how my grading system of knowing students is both a positive and a negative for students. I tend to compensate for my personal feelings by doing the direct opposite of how I feel about them. In other words, if I really like you, I’m probably harder on you than if I don’t really like you. However, with writing and wanting to help students overcome their individual issues, this technque might not help them. Students’ personalities are one of the aspects of teaching I enjoy most. I enjoy getting to know the students and watching them grow over the course of the semester. I wonder, however, if I do any of them a disservice by getting to know them so well. I try to be as objective as possible. I have set standards for what I use as a grading system. I follow it as best I can. I weigh the aspects of their papers and usually give them the benefit of the doubt. For example, if 5 of the criteria for a C are met and 4 for a B, the student will end up with a C+. I try to keep things as mathematical as possible which is odd since I am not a math person whatsoever. I try to be as fair as possible, especially since writing can be viewed as extremely subjective and since I always hated that part of it when I was a student. However, do my personal feelings or the information I’ve gathered from students in class get in the way? According to Gladwell, most likely they do, at least subconsciously. How can I keep these from getting in the way? Should I perhaps employ, at least for the shorter papers, some form of anonymity? Should I try to get them to put their names on the last page of the paper instead of at the beginning so that I am truly grading each paper on its own merit without knowing who it is? Should I just resign myself to the fact that life isn’t fair, and I can’t always be fair? I can’t change it for this semester. I may talk to some other teachers I know both in and out of school. However, the impact of my subconscious on something potentially life-changing for my students is beginning to concern me. In the alternative, maybe I’m just overthinking things. Anyone with any ideas would be welcome to help me work through this logic problem.

Now that I’ve decided to solve yet another of the mysteries of the universe, since today is a perfect football Sunday, I should go watch my fantasy teams lose on a beautiful Autum day.

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The Passion of the…

Ok, no, not Christ. Not that I’m against Christ; I’m a Catholic after all. However, really, is that what I would write about? You should know me better than that. If not? tsk tsk tsk.

The passion of the – Malabrigo and cable. Oh yes. Dear dear me. So, while my dream swatch is still hanging around, I realized that I wanted, nay needed, to play with the squishy softy wooly goodness of the Malabrigo that came to me as a little slice of heaven. The amount was not a full skein. It was meant to allow me to play around with something without feeling bad. So, given that Bella Blu Mama loves cables, I thought she’d be thrilled to know that I decided to give them a try with her generous gifty.

Once I had determined that cables were the place to be, I went to Stitch Finder (you may need to be logged in) on the advice of kNew England Knitter . I searched the cable stitches until I found something that met the following requirements:

  1. Not too complex (i.e. not too many different types of cabling techniques involved)
  2. Not too many stitches needing to be cast on (some required upwards of 30 cast on stitches and I didn’t want to use too much)
  3. Something that looked, y’know, like a traditional cable.

In the end, I decided to use Retwisted Taffy as my first cable experience. Now, first you have to understand that this was a spur of the moment idea. Somewhat. Basically, I wanted to prove to myself that yes, I could do this! So, I don’t own cable needles. I decided to improvise. I have a Clover stitch holder thing that my mom gave me in a set of knitting nit knacks (avoid the pun…can’t…knit knacks…much better). I slipped the holder part off (a rubber thing) and used the needle part for the slipping of the stitches aspect. I only cast on an extra twelve stitches (six on either side of the eight required for the cable) and set to work. Oh. My. Goodness. So. Much. Fun. I, in my Celtic mode, was all about this. I have a new passion, cables. Working this pattern in the Malabrigo was a joy. The only problem is that because of the variegation, the cables do not come out so clearly. That’s ok though; maybe it’s even better that way.

In the end, the cables look like this:

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I know, lousy picture. Even worse? That was the best of the ones I took of that view. I think we need a new digital camera. Either that or the camera is anti-knitting. Although, I can’t believe anything in this house could be anti-knitting. I refuse to believe it. Do you see those squiggles though? Those are my cables.

Of course, me being me, as I was knitting along, I realized, “dude, this is your first cable project girl. You don’t have enough for ANOTHER scarf. The yarn is too chunky to use as a bookmark. What do you do?” I know that in a lot of ways I’m a process knitter. I like the learning aspect. Even worse, I get bored of projects once the newness of the technique gets old. I hate the idea that I have several unfinished WIPs floating around the house. Not finishing things kills me. Every time I think of them just lying around, I feel a little piece of myself go “ouch!” However, I also like a project to have some kind of practical purpose. I suppose I could keep making little swatches of new stitch types and make a blanket. Then I wonder where I would keep these little squares and would they have to be the same size. I realize I could answer “no” to that last part, but I require things to be symmetrical, even, of like textures and sizes. This would not work for me.

So, sitting on the couch tonight, I realized that this was the perfect time to make a wristlet. Lord knows, I don’t know what I’m going to do with one. No, really, I don’t. However, I looked down and thought, “Well, a wristlet would be cool, but I don’t really want to seam. Oh! Wait, I know! I’ll pick up the stitches from the cast on and, since this is a practice anyway, try a three needle bind off.” I yanked my knitting books off the shelf. I skimmed through them. I read the directions which basically said knit through the two loops and knit the stitches together. Why, I ask myself now, why did this seem to difficult to me before? So, I picked up the cast on stitches. I started a three needle bind off. Of course, I don’t have DPNs. I don’t even have more than my set of Denises. So, I improvised. It looked like this:

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Yup, that blue needle? That would be from the Clover stitch holder. The needle the other live stitches are on is a size 8 Denise. The one I used to bind off was the size 6 Denise needle tip. Talk about being ingenious and working with what ya got, right?

I was thrilled to find that the three needle bind off was not difficult. Even better? It totally beat the idea of using a sewing needle. I. Can. Not. Sew. My stitches aren’t even. I don’t like using needles of the sewing variety. I chalk it up to too many embroidery classes as a small child. Plus, I always poke my fingers with the needles and end up with cuts or something.

The end result of this bind off looked like this:
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Yup, hard to see. I know. Stupid camera. That thin line to the upper right side there? At the top? Going kind of perpendicular to the rolling edges? That’s my bind off. I had one weird looking loose stitch, but I took care of that with the sewing in of the ends.

And this:
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is my finished vaguely “punk rocky” cabled knit wristlet. I won’t extoll the joys of Malabrigo worsted weight wool on here. I think it goes without saying that I’m another convert. Although, now that I’m wearing my little wristlet, I’m feeling a bit itchy so it may not be in the cards for me to make many wearable for myself items out of it.  If I were cheesey, I’d be calling this my Red Red Whiney Wristlet. Or, maybe that’s just the pinot noir next to me talking.

In non-knitting news, the Maxman became, as DH calls him, a Maxeunich. Which, incidentally, when said fast, sounds an awful lot like Max-unit. In turn, that sounds vaguely like a bad porn name. He’s doing fine, mostly. Of course, he has diarrhea from the anesthesia (which apparently also happens to the in-laws dogs after they have surgery). MiL said it could last until Sunday. To think, here I was looking forward to sleep this weekend. max is maneuvering quite well with the cone. We’ve had to move a few things on the ground (some antique ceramic jugs), since the cone knocked them over. He seems to be whacking the cone on many a doorway. However, he’s moving more now, and he seems to be getting the hang of the difference in depth perception. That being said, watching him is pretty darn hysterical. He and JD are also on medicine for coccidia, another intestinal parasite, that was found in JD’s sample during her yearly exam.

In closure and in deference to Max’s trials and tribulations, I give you:
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Vicktory For Puppies

Today, Michael Vick announced that he would be taking a plea deal. Less than a month after wanting to clear his name, Vick announced that he will take a plea deal that would give him up to 18 months of jail time. The NFL indicates that Vick’s representations to them are not the same actions as those being revealed through his legal discussions.

The question as to whether this single high profile case will bring greater awareness and attention to animal abuse is one that is entirely separate from the Vick case itself. The CEO of the Humane Society said, “The only good that can come from this case is that the American people dedicate themselves to the task of rooting out dogfighting in every infected area where it thrives.” However, Michael Vick’s dogfighting case is not the usual circumstance. A majority of dog fighting occurs in tandem with drugs and other violent crimes in urban areas. A detailed discussion of the history of dog fighting and legal fight to end dog fighting can be read here. For those who are not concerned about the animals, the article discusses non-animal effects of dog-fighting, such as how dog fighting desensitizes children to violence and how, as an integral part of drug culture, it harms the communities in which it takes place.

What can be most disturbing, as an extension of these discussions, is the idea of how violence such as this, particularly from one who engages in a physically demanding and occasionally violent sport, speaks to how Vick would act on the field. Small children who torture animals are often viewed as dangerous. Violence towards animals by young children is considered an early sign of Conduct Disorder, which is defined as “a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated.” Although three of fifteen symptoms are required for a diagnosis, and no one is indicating that Vick suffers from this disorder, people should nonetheless be concerned about the safety of others on the field with Vick. Michael Vick, an adult with an even greater sense of right and wrong than the average child, should be held to a higher standard than a child. Football is, by its definition, a sport that involves physical interaction. An opponent could well question Vick’s intentions on the field in light of his inhumane treatment of animals. Again, not to say that Vick suffers from Conduct Disorder, but he does, at minimum, show a disrespect for life and health, albeit dogs not humans. In a field that requires the utilization of controlled violence, both opponents on the field and fans of the sport should be concerned about how Vick’s actions off the field could affect his actions on the field. The manner in which the dogs were slaughtered shows general disregard for their lives. Vick’s actions on the football field should be questioned, should he ever be allowed to return to the game. The NFL has several decisions to make regarding the future of Vick as a player. At some point, it will have to take a stand. Hopefully, one of the aspects reviewed will be the implications of Vick’s play on the field in light of his disregard for health and well-being of other living creatures.

All of this being said, dogs, too, should have their say. As such, JD and Max would like to express their feelings on this subject since they consider today’s plea a vicktory, of sorts.

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