Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, August 13, 2022

The Wood Puzzle


I wanted to try a wood puzzle so I put a request on my public Amazon Wish List for a wood puzzle.  I didn’t want any just wood puzzle.  I wanted pictures of my 3 original grand dogs who are all gone.  

My daughter must have seen it and made it happen.  Here’s a better shot of the front.  The 3 dogs are (clockwise from the biggest picture)

  • Grimace, the Pug, 
  • Grimace and Milo, the French Bulldog
  • Meathead, the English Bulldog
  • and Grimace, Meathead, and Milo.


And I love those 3 dogs still!  Miss them every single day.

But the real interesting part that others might be interested in is the back of the puzzle.  It really is an interesting and fun puzzle. Check out all the interesting shapes!!  This is not just any wooden puzzle.






I have glued this puzzle together and I plan to frame and display it at some point.  It 
is just a shame to hide either side of this puzzle in the back of a frame.
Any ideas??

Just a fun little post that I had to share.


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Tate: Then and Now - and some Bull Dog Advice

THEN

Remember this adorable face? So many wrinkles.


And I think I showed this picture as well.  Check out that half blue/half tan eye!  He still has that.  He seemed to fill out some of those wrinkles. He is about a month older in this picture.


Such a sweet face.


NOW

Well, now 5 months later - at 7 months of age ... here is the current face.  It is a face that has matured some.  Still cute as can be.


He is only 7 months old.  He is not finished growing. From my previous experience of watching English Bulldogs grow, the head increases in size at the end of their growth so we will see what the few months bring. At present he weighs 37 pounds.  Compact.  He definitely has the bulldog tooth pose down pat.


ADVICE FROM A BULLDOG GRANDMOTHER

If you think you might want a bulldog or you know someone who might want a bulldog, you need to read on.  I feel people should be fully and honestly informed of what owning a bulldog can cost.   If I can educate even one person prior to purchasing an expensive bully (responsible breeders can charge from $4,000 to $10,000 for a puppy) and help them understand that the purchase price is just the beginning of your spending experience (you need very deep pockets to keep most of them healthy,) then I will have helped this breed stay in their forever homes. People give up these dogs because they can’t afford the medical bills.  How sad for the bulldog who had absolutely no control over their breeding and inherited health issues ... and now are surrendered to a shelter or rescue group - or worse yet, euthanized.

Anyone who has owned an English Bull Dog knows that health issues are pretty common with them.  In fact, I would guess that a life long perfectly healthy bully is fairly rare.  My daughter has pet insurance for Tate as she did for her previous French Bulldog, Milo.  Bulldog health insurance is at least twice the cost of insurance for a normal mixed breed dog.  The medical history of these bully breeds are reflected in the high cost of their pet insurance. 

Just one example from my own family:  My daughter had a French Bulldog before Tate. Milo lived a long life, dying around 12 years of age of pneumonia, but for all those years he had excellent quality (and expensive) health care.  He was well cared for and at his death - other than gray hair on his muzzle and paws, he looked at strong and fit as he did years before.  My daughter spared no expense because she loved him dearly and accepted the full responsibility for his health.  But Milo had back surgery at the age of 6 - without it he would have lost the use of his rear legs within 2 years.  And before the back surgery, he had to have nasal and throat surgery to correct the problems related to his brachycephalic airways (“pushed in face” problems typical for English Bulldogs, Frenchies, and Pugs.) That surgery assured that he would have no problems recovering from anesthesia after a surgery. And before those two surgeries, he needed an MRI to clearly identify the back issue for the surgeon.  She had pet insurance but it covered only 80%.  The grand total for all of that was close to $15,000.  Yes, Fifteen Thousand Dollars.  Milo also had skin allergies that he took medicine for his whole life and GI problems that required expensive prescription dog food. He also saw a veterinary ophthalmologist for an eye infection that would not heal - he had months of care for that condition.  I do not exaggerate when I express the commitment my daughter had to give him the best quality of life she could.

In talking with pet owners who showed an interest in Franchies while waiting with Milo in a Vet’s office one time, I warn them that Frenchie medical care can be expensive.  Typically these folks who have never owned a bully nod in a knowledgable way saying ... "yes, yes. - all veterinary care is so expensive now-a-days” as they look down at their own pet that is not a bully.  Then I give them the medical litany of Milo’s history and you can see their eyes glaze over with the realization of what “expensive” actually means in a pure bred bulldog with problems! Bulldogs are really are a luxury if they are provided proper medical care

At the age of 7 months, Tate has started his own medical saga.  He had the normal neutering but he also had a small hernia that needed to be repaired.  Then his right eye had a eruption of Cherry Eye - a large swelling of the tear duct gland in the eye.  It seemed to come and go, but then it didn’t go.  And his left eye erupted as well.  So my daughter arranged an appointment with a Veterinary Eye doctor.    Yes, it could be corrected,  it can come back, and this condition is apparently inherited.  She scheduled the surgery, and now, $4,000 later his eyes are back to normal. But his medical chart is off to a fast gallop before his first birthday. We are hopeful that this ends his medical issues, but we aren’t being naive either.

None of the problems mentioned are exclusive to bulldogs, but the frequency of these problems is more the issue. I won’t get into the problems of irresponsible breeders, or the terrible problem of over pet population and the high rates of euthanasia because of it.  Adopting a specific kind of pet is a personal choice - but it should be an educated decision and you should have the commitment (and the money) if you choose a bully breed.

With that all said, our family LOVES all our pets.  Our pets are family members and my kids (and now me) LOVE these bully breeds a lot. All of them.  They are wonderful companions ... funny, inquisitive, and curious, rambunctious, couch potatoes at maturity and, above all, stubborn. 



But many come with inherited conditions and pet owners really need to be aware.  If you take a bully into your heart, you take everything that happens to the bully into your life and your wallet.  I agree the same can be said of all pets, but I guarantee, a bully breed will hit your wallet much harder.   

Our family has adopted our fair share of shelter pets with no pedigree and our commitment to them is just the same.  So the point of this Grandma Advice was not to prize one choice over another.  Just be sure to do your homework before you adopt any pet - know what you are getting and what will be expected for you for your pet to be happy and healthy.  

It is worth it!  Every cent.  They give back more love and companionship than you could possibly imagine.  But if it is not for you, I get it and respect that decision as well.




Sunday, August 7, 2022

Thank You

Thank you for the kind comments and observations to my most recent post.  

I am kind of stunned that my regular readers all commented.  I kind of expected that some would have moved on to other more active bloggers.  

I have a camera full of pictures, taken with the idea of sharing - so I guess that means I am not quite ready to stop blogging.

  😂😂😂

I did make a discovery recently.  Looks like Blogger has finally deleted all my “email subscriptions” to the blogs I follow.  Don’t know when it happened, but I don’t get hardly any notifications in my Google Email In Box that a blog post has been published, and as a result I have missed a number of your postings.  Blogger warned us that would happen long ago and when it didn’t happen to me I just ignored them.  I am in the process of rebuilding my “follow” list on Blogger where I create my blog posts - in the Reading List option.  Truthfully I would love to put my blog on another platform, but I just can’t stand the thought of starting over and leaving behind this archive of blog posts.  My caregiver journey with my mom resides here and although it is buried deep in the past history of this blog, I know it is there even if it is no longer seen by anyone other than myself.  That experience was 8 years of my life and it is a major contributor to the person I am today.  I sometimes check back and remember - look at the pictures and generally just “visit” with mom ... so here I stay.

Working on other posts.  Be back soon.

Elaine

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Struggling ...

Ok, so I have been off the grid - again - not only off my blog but missing most of the posts of my blog friends.  Not good.

Some of my personal disconnect has been related to a family issue.  A close family member has been very ill and waiting on a double organ transplant list for 2 years - not a topic I figured to cover here.  She got that transplant this summer (thankfully) and is slowly improving.  I don’t think I accurately calculated the personal impact of that situation.  It was a gnawing worry for quite some time that I underestimated and which finally came to a head.  She is now on the other side of that surgery - healing at an amazing rate and adjusting to the new demands on her life. We are a small family and loss of a family member is rare, so this whole transplant journey has been a tough road for all.  I spent much of those 2 years hoping for a miracle rather than the “fix” with a scalpel - a fix that appeared to be the only way to save her life.  At times the whole saga felt like a train speeding down the track with no way to stop - speeding to the end of cliff and when the tracks disappeared, you either crashed down the mountain or your train sprouted wings at the last minute and you could fly. 

Sometimes I need to remember to breathe deep - and remember - she is flying now!

I have also been struggling with the idea of maybe not blogging.  I seem to have lost my mojo for this writing activity.  I still visit some blogs and comment on a few, but not enough to be really engaged. And I hate that because I have been blogging since 2009!  When I tackle the thought of stopping, I always come to the same conclusion ... How can I give it up!  And I drift back again.  Not sure if I am drifting back yet.

In the midst of my worries, I have also managed to be a bit of ADD personality - (Attention Deficit Disease) in my crafting life.   Jumping on the band wagon for a lot of stuff and accomplishing very little.  I have done this before and have come to the conclusion that I use that ADD behavior as a form of distraction from what is really weighing on me.  I then get a bit depressed and default to just sitting in my chair and knitting.  Ahh, knitting.  The thread that holds my life together no matter what is going on.  

Anyway, that is where I am right now.  Not really gone and not really here either.

Thanks for checking in.  

PS: If you aren’t an organ donor, please consider it.  I am an organ donor.  I figure once I am done with this body, if there is anything of me that could save a life - it is theirs.  Being on the receiving end as our family has been - there is no greater gift you can give!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Finished: The Patch Work Blanket

As I mentioned in my previous post - I saved a lot of pictures of blog ideas to trigger future posts.  It is going to take some time to get caught up.  Each deserves it own time in the spot light.  If you missed the last post - be sure to check it out.  There is one very very cute bull dog featured there.  And he has almost entirely left the puppy stage.

During the blog break I did finish the weave-it square blanket that I started about 15 years ago.  


Weave-it squares are done on a special 4 inch square loom and the pins or nails are arranged in groupings of 3.  All the squares are sewn together just as you would sew together a granny square blanket.  Pictured above are 3 weave-it style looms.  The wooden one on the left was the first loom I purchased.  It took me a bit a research before I found someone who would make one.  There were original versions available on the secondary market but they often were expensive as they also qualified as antiques.  These looms were popularized in the 1930s through the 1950s.  Recently they are are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. The white loom on the right is a Zoom loom (a weave-it loom by another name) manufactured currently and has some comfort design elements.  But it works the same as the wood loom.  The clear loom on the bottom is also a weave-it style loom - only it is 8 inches square, but the nail placement is the same - groups of three.  


You might remember this picture from a previous post.  A collection of squares - some sewn together and some not.  And many not even made yet.


Here it is finished and folded up.  It makes a perfect square.  I decided to put a border on this blanket using some of the colors to pull it all together.  At first I was going to make it with a one color border, but I couldn’t settle on the one color.

I finally decided that 4 colors from the blanket - one for each side would look the best.

All for corners and colors.

As I was sewing the blanket together, I was not entirely satisfied with my seams.  Some of them looked very uneven and almost amateurish.  But try as I might, the seams were sometimes just messy to my eye. The pictures below show what I mean.  



But despite the rough look of the finishing I couldn’t help liking it.  There was something about the finishing that was appealing and I couldn’t put my finger on it.  And then I remembered what the true meaning of “patchwork” was.

United States[edit]

Patchwork enjoyed a widespread revival during the Great Depression as a way to recycle worn clothing into warm quilts. Even very small and worn pieces of material are suitable for use in patchwork, although crafters today more often use new 100% cotton fabrics as the basis for their designs. In the US, patchwork declined after World War II but was again revived during the American bicentennial.


The picture above shows that patchwork items were not entirely perfect and often the fabrics and colors used were not necessarily planned to coordinate perfectly.  And that was the feeling that my own weave-it blanket was echoing in my mind.  Not perfect but as a fully finished item - very appealing.

The weaknesses of this blanket in my mind are:

  • This blanket has many types of fiber contents and as a result will never be machine washable and dry-able.  Yarn was picked on color primarily. 
  • Because of the various types of yarns and the various colors - the seams would never look entire finished to a perfectionist eye - which sadly I seem to have.
  • It has a ton of ends.  The problem in my mind is that each end represents a break in the fabric of the blanket - a weak point!  There are tons of weak points.

But despite those weakness - I LOVE it.  I learned a whole lot about what yarns work with this weaving and what don’t. I LOVE that this used scrap yarn. It was yarn I loved from previous projects and couldn’t throw away the left overs - and finally, finally I got a chance to put them to good use.

Perfection!!

And already grabbed and used!!  



Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Back - and the Bully!

I knew I had fallen into a blog break, 

but I didn’t realize my last post was mid-March. 

Life, of course, never takes a “break” .... just keeps marching on. There is no real reason for the break in writing - it just happens - and I go with the flow now more than I used to.

I have been taking pictures, however, as a reminder to me of possible blog topics should I ever get my butt in gear to write again. Before May slips away and it is JUNE (yikes), I thought I would slip in this post.

One of the main “eaters of time” is this little guy - my daughter’s new puppy, Tate.

Here he is running toward the camera while my daughter, in a mask, watches on.
He is a fortunate pup - gets to go to work with her occassionally. This picture was taken at her work. 


 He is a hogger of time.  A real attention “sponge.”  And such a cutie.

A cutie picture!
Note his left eye.  Exactly half blue for sure and half brown?, gray green? -
not sure of the other color.
 
A sponge picture.

He is growing soooo fast.  One last picture that shows his evolving adult bulldog face!

The latest picture I snagged of Tate from Facebook.
He definitely has lost that puppy face and the grown up face is
fast emerging.

And yes,
he had his mouth in the dirt in this picture.  Keeping him from eating stuff
is a full time job.
  
Looks like he might keep that color in his left eye - it is 
half blue and half something else.

He is finally old enough and vaccinated enough to go to doggie daycare.  As a result, I might not have him as much as I did this last spring.

I may get more blogging time in now ... I certainly have a number of topics to catch up on.

Hope all is well with you guys.  My family and I have still missed the bullet of Covid - shocking really since it seems to be cropping up around us in some of our friends.  Guess those vaccines and masks really do work.  Here’s hoping you guys are also missing this same bullet!

Cheers!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

And here he is!!

 Last weekend my daughter and I drove down to southern VA,                     3 hours away from home - to pick up this little guy!!!


Meet Tate, my daughter’s new English Bulldog puppy and my new grand dog!!


It began the night before with me driving down to my daughter’s condo in DC.  This is a drive I have taken hundreds of times to pick up Milo, her previous dog, that we lost last July.  But this was during rush hour, it was dark and the traffic patterns were a bit different because of rush hour, and I haven’t driven in city traffic in 8 months. This trip is about 30 miles away - and mid-day it would take me about an hour, but this night it took about 90 minutes.  Just the state of traffic in our area.



The next morning we traveled through snow and high winds.  Fortunately we were traveling south and driving out of the storm.  


At some point it was just rain.

We knew the storm was still hitting our area and we would need to deal with it on our return trip, but ...


At the end of the road was this wonderful joining of pet owner and puppy.  And what a darling he is.
We spent a short time getting his paper work and some initial instructions ... and then we turned right around and began the 3 hours trip back home.



I had some serious bonding time with him in the back seat - and when he wasn’t sitting on my lap, he was looking out the window.  Everything was new to him.  He didn’t sleep a wink on the trip home. He was on an adventure.



A seriously cute little guy.



Arriving at home my daughter had set up his crate and his play area - with toys aplenty!  He was so cute running around and enjoying it all.


She purchased a very important ’toy’ - a stuff white dog, with a heart beat you can feel and a heating pad insert that lasts 24 hours.  He sleeps on or beside it all the time.




She even purchased a quilted jacket for him because the weather was so cold over the weekend and he seemed so cold outside, but the jacket was kind of big and the weather is now improving and he clearly had an opinion about wearing his new jacket.  The face says it all.


What Tate doesn’t yet understand is that he will want for nothing!  He has landed in a family who values their pets as especially important family members.  

Welcome to the family little guy.  
You are in for a great life!