2012 Ups and Downs

2012 is over and done.  It wasn’t a bad year.  Lots of good things happened with the bad and I’m thankful for all of it.

Probably the biggest thing that happened was figuring out my soy allergy/sensitivity.  Call it what you will, but I’ve been doing fantastically since cutting out every last little bit of the nasty substance.  Only once in a blue moon (I’m talking really only once every 2-3 months) will I have an episode and only after eating things that I know I shouldn’t eat!   I’m really glad that Darling Hubby was able to figure it out and that it wasn’t milk.  Despite the friendships I lost during the whole brouhaha, I feel I’m better for having the whole thing happen.  I’m feeling better overall.  I don’t wake up feeling like crap every morning and don’t go to sleep in pain every night.  And, it was all because I simply changed my diet.  Who’d have thunk it?

Another good thing that happened was that I learned how to knit socks.  I’ve made 14 pairs of socks since the start of March.  They are all pretty simple socks, but I love them simple. I’m not a real fancy lace and pattern girl.  I even challenged myself to do some unusually constructed socks like the carousel socks and the sideways socks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the Owlie socks my friend Barbara and I started as a knit along.  I just had a bunch of other projects come up that took precedence.   I wear a knitted pair of socks practically every day and most members of my family have received a pair of socks at some point.  The only one who hasn’t is Fidget…

Another good (and bad) thing was that I opened my own shop on Etsy.  It’s been open since April and I’ve only had one online sale and that was a custom order for a friend…but, the recipient of that custom order Cthulhu hat is delighted with it, so that’s what really matters.  I will admit that most of my sales have been off etsy to friends or at the craft fair I did in September with some of the girls from the library knitting group.  I made 3 blankets for a friend from back home for her to give for Christmas gifts.  I also made another blanket for someone at the knitting group at the public library after she fell in love with one of the 3 that I made.  I haven’t had much time to do my own knitting lately because I’ve been doing projects for the shop.  I’m still excited to have the shop open…I’m just a little disappointed that it hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped.

Another good thing is that I went to Rhinebeck for the first time for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s where I got bitten by the spinning bug.  I came home with a drop spindle and taught myself to spin yarn on it.  Of course I couldn’t just stop with that.  I’ve fallen in love with wheel spinning.  I’ve been getting better by leaps and bounds and just learned how to Navajo ply and I might even list this most recent yarn in my etsy shop (if I can talk myself out of keeping it!)  I’m hoping to save up enough money to buy my own wheel at some point.  I’ve tried a Kromski Sonota and an Ashford Kiwi and so far I really like the Kiwi, despite the nasty creak that it has in one of the treadles.  But, I’ve heard that Ashfords have a tendency to creak…lol

The bad was, thankfully, few and far between.  Things didn’t really start to get bad until November, which seems to be a pretty crappy month for many people.  Darling Hubby was off for the week of Thanksgiving and we woke up that Monday to a very cold house.  Despite the fact that the furnace was running all the radiators were stone cold.  Turns out the circulator pump blew and a day of waiting for the technician to come to fix it and $700 later we had a warm house.  Thankfully we have the wood fireplace for back-up warmth…then, Darling Hubby had to have his car inspected and that needed $400 worth of work…so in 2 days we’d spent over $1100…and we hadn’t even started to buy Christmas presents.

Probably the worst and absolute last thing that happened in 2012 was that on New Years Eve around 9:30 pm, our little dog Spiral passed away peacefully in her box.  It’s something that we’ve been expecting could happen at any time due to her age and health, but it was pretty sudden how it happened.  Literally it was she was alive one minute and gone the next.

We came home early from a New Years party, Darling Hubby walked the dogs and I started ushering the kids upstairs.  I filled the dogs water bowl (both dogs were happy and dancing around) and headed upstairs to do the bedtime routine while Darling Hubby went out to plow out the bottom of the driveway, thanks to not 1, but 2 plows coming through right after we got home.  Anyway, Fidget left his new Buzz Lightyear downstairs and wanted to sleep with it, so I went down to get it.  I noticed Spiral was laying with her nose down in the blanket and not on her paws like normal and I got no response when I called her name.  I’d seriously only been upstairs 10 minutes.

It came as a complete shock to both me and Darling Hubby as to how sudden it was, but like I said it was expected.  We’d had her for over 9 years and she was estimated to be around 2 when we adopted her.  She had bad teeth and a severe heart murmur that had progressed into congestive heart failure where she was constantly coughing, but she was still active, ate well and seemed happy.  I’m thankful that she seemed to go peacefully and that she’s in a better place and has hopefully been reunited with her best friend, Grace, who passed away nearly 2 years ago.

So, the bulk of 2012 was good (oh, and I should add that we didn’t die in the apocalypse that didn’t happen!)  I can only hope that 2013 is even better!


Ghost Dog and Other Freaky Tales

So this past Monday at craft night, the girls and I were talking about scary ghost stories and I shared a couple personal experiences that I’ve had over the years at my parents house.  I thought I’d post some here.

Let’s see…let’s start with the Ghost Dog.

When I was in 8th grade or so, my beagle Samantha, who was 10 and a half years old, died during the night.  All was quiet in the house for a while until one night I woke up in the night to go to the bathroom and I heard the sounds of a dog drinking very loudly from the water bowl in the kitchen, just down the hall from my room.  I automatically assumed it was one of our other dogs, Sheba or Gabrielle, and went to get out of bed.  I found that Sheba was curled up on the rug next to my bed and listening closer, realized that the sound was much too loud to be Gabrielle drinking…she was just a tiny poodle and often never got down off the bed in the night.  I left my room and ventured across the hall to my mom’s room to see if Gabrielle was in there and upon waking my mom learned the poodle was curled up on the foot of the bed…I continued to hear the sound, as did my mom.  Together, we walked down the short hallway to the kitchen and as soon as my mom flipped on the light switch, the lapping sound stopped.  There was no one in the kitchen.  Freaky.

That wasn’t the last time Sam could be heard in the house at night.  My mom claims she’s heard her jump up on the back of the couch (where she wasn’t supposed to be when she was alive) and has also heard her rubbing her back on the edge of the bed and underneath the kitchen chairs.

On to “Wedding Day Tugs”

The day after I got married in 2002, Darling Hubby and I drove down to my parents house to spend a little more time with family and to see my brother Frank who, for various reasons, was unable to attend the ceremony or reception.  My Uncle and Aunt (my mom’s brother and wife) flew in from Illinois to meet me for the first time, to attend the wedding and to see his sister, whom he hadn’t seen in over 25 years.  While we were  visiting in the living room, I assumed my usual spot standing in front of the fireplace.  Don’t ask me why, but that’s always where I stand when we are just talking in the living room.  I always have, whether there was a fire or not.  This time, as I was standing there, I felt something tug at the back of my right sleeve.  I turned and looked and there was no one behind me.  I mentioned it to the room and we kinda laughed about it.  We’ve always had the running joke the the house is haunted anyway.  A little while later I was standing in the archway between the living room and the kitchen and it happened again.  Same sleeve, same tugging feeling.  This time I was a bit creeped out.

We got talking about different freaky things and it turns out that my mom, during the time my Aunt and Uncle were staying with them, began smelling her Daddy’s (My grandfather’s) snuff.  My aunt also smelled it, but was reluctant to say anything about it, because she figured she was going crazy.  We came to the conclusion that my grandfather was around visiting his children and wanted to congratulate me on getting married.  Weird.

Since we are on the subject of my grandfather, my mother is convinced that he comes around, a lot.  My mom has a set of those battery operated candles.  You know the ones that people put in their windows during Christmastime.  Well, they used to sit on the entertainment center in the living room.  One day, one of the lights was lit, but no one turned it on.  Mom went to unscrew the top to turn it off and the top just fell right off.  She tried to get it to light again just by putting the top back on, but it wouldn’t light.  She found you had to screw the top down quite a bit before it would turn on.  This type of thing would happen fairly often so eventually she took the batteries out of the light and they got moved into her bedroom above her bed during some rearranging.  My dad was walking out of the bedroom one day and noticed that the light was on again.  He mentioned it to my mom who went in to check it out and saw that it was on and there were NO BATTERIES in it.  Explain that one….

A while ago, my mom was talking about her sister Clarice in our kitchen and she watched the wooden cutting board that was stored standing on end between the wall and the microwave slide to the right as if someone was pulling it from it’s storage place.

Just recently, my mom told me she was sweeping the back porch while my dad was working outside.  She distinctly heard a male voice ask, “What are you doing?” to which she replied, “Sweeping.”  When she looked around she saw no one was there and when she looked around for my dad, saw that he was up on top of the hill at the horse barn, very far from the house.  Strange.

There you have it…some of the freaky, creepy and just plain strange things that have happened at my house.  I’m just waiting for Thanksgiving when we go back.  If was stay over night I might just have a haunting tale to tell about Blossom returning from the grave!  Ooohhh!!  Happy Halloween!


In the spring before I turned 12 my parents adopted a little white, 8 week old kitten for me.  She was our only ever completely indoor cat and she was my pal.  At the time there was a show on TV called Blossom about a teenage girl, named Blossom Russo.  Since that was my last name at the time, I bestowed upon my new kitten the name of Blossom, rather than the “Gwen” she’d been called at the shelter.

Blossom was a great pal.  She would play with cat toys, indulge me in dressing her in my baby doll clothes, and would sleep curled up under the covers with me at night, purring up a storm.  Like any cat, she would sit on my desk while I did my homework.  She loved curling up underneath the warmth of the desk lamp and would sit in the middle of my books and papers when it was convenient for her (and inconvenient for me).  When I moved out of the house to go to college in ’98 my mom wouldn’t let me take Blossom with me to my new apartment so she stayed behind in the house where she grew up and despite frequent visits initially, those visits eventually waned and we grew apart.  She was still my cat, but she wasn’t really my cat anymore.

Blossom had several quirks she developed after I left.  She had to be warm and would complain if she was cold and wanted a fire built.  She hated closed doors.  She had to have fresh food and water in her bowls before everyone went to bed and she would complain loudly during the night if those food bowls weren’t filled.  Sometimes she would just complain…As she progressed in age she started showing traits of being senile.  She would pick a particular spot in the house and sleep there, no matter how strange of a place or how inconvenient it was.  Her favorite places were on the footstool on top of my mom’s feet, in front of  or under the fireplace with or without a fire built, and in her litter box (it was clean).

This is one of only a few online pictures of have of Blossom.  This was taken in December of 2006 at Christmas time.  Bug got a big kick out of petting her and hearing her meow at him.  She was in one of her cold moods.  See how close she is to the wood stove.

Bug and Blossom

I got a call this morning from my mom.   I could hear something in her voice when I answered the  phone and knew something was wrong.  I knew instantly it was Blossom.  Blossom died in the night, at the age of 16 and a half, stretched out sleeping in front of my old dresser in “her room,” after eating a final meal from her freshly filled food bowls.  I instantly teared up when my mom told me the details (I’m crying even now) even though I’d always told myself it’s been several years since we were close and I wasn’t going to be overly sad when she passed.  It still hurts.

In the past few years I’ve pulled out my old scrapbook of the pages I compiled of her pictures and the story I told of her life with and without me.  I think I’ll have to track down a few more pictures to create a new page to add to my book summing up the remainder of her life, just like I’ve done with past pets.

I’m sure when I go back to the house for Thanksgiving there will be a different feeling about it.  I’m sure there will be nights when she can still be heard meowing for food and water, much like we’ve heard past pets after they’d passed on.  She’s buried on the property in our very own “pet cemetery” so I’ll still be able to visit her.

So, Blossom, where ever you are right now, hopefully curled up in front of a nice warm fire with full food and water bowls,  please rest in peace.


Blossom Russo

April 1992 – October 14, 2008

Warning! Don’t Flush Your Fish!

I think the title says it all. Don’t flush your dead fish…well, if you have a tiny goldfish or a beta or something, then by all means, give the little sucker a flush, but don’t, I repeat don’t, flush a palm size angelfish.

Yeah, you read that right. A palm (as in the palm of your hand) size angelfish. Oh, they flush, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think toilets really like them. At least ours didn’t appreciate it very much.

I saw last night that my poor black and silver angelfish was on her last fins and she was, sadly, dead by morning (she was an old fish so her time was up I guess) and as all our other fish have received, she was granted the ritualistic burial by flush. As I said my sayonaras to her and Darling Hubby pressed down the handle, she obviously didn’t want to go to fishy heaven right away as she lodged in the hole and after a poke with the fish net, down she went. Darling Hubby just had to say that he hoped it didn’t lodge in the pipe. I’d thought of that, but I’ve surely flushed down greater amounts of toilet paper and other…um… stuff that there was no way a fish would clog up a toilet.

Well, apparently, I was wrong. Shortly after that, the toilet stopped flushing well. The water level would drop, but it wouldn’t go all the way down. I attempted to plunge it and without improvement, Darling Hubby got the pipe snake from the basement and after a failed attempt at snaking the toilet (pipe snakes just don’t go around the bends in toilets very well) Darling Hubby added some Drano to the bowl and let it mellow for a while before flushing it. I’ve since then flushed down a wad of TP to help move things along and, while there has been an improvement, the toilet is still not flushing properly…

So, we’re going to give it a little bit and see if things improve over time and hopefully we won’t have to call in a plumber…that would be after taking the toilet apart ourselves to see if we can snake the pipe directly…trust me…it would happen well before we called a plumber.

So, word to the wise. If you own a tropical fish tank with fish that are bigger than a couple inches….don’t flush them when they meet their fishy maker. You’ve officially been warned!

Bug’s First Snow Fun of 2007

We had our first big snow of the year recently and after much shoveling and snow blowing, Bug and I headed out for some fun. The weather was nice with blue skies and decently warm temps. Our goal was to create a masterpiece Snowman.

We bundled up in our warm clothes and headed out. As we were getting dressed, Bug said, “This is so exciting.” The first thing Bug does is run right into the snow where he gets “stuck.”

With some help out from mommy, we go about building our snowman. Well, I should say I built a snowman. Bug had much more fun wading through the knee-deep (to him anyway) snow than actually helping. He was keeping our dog Max highly entertained by throwing snow at him. Max loves that.

When I completed my snow boy, as he turned out to be only 3 feet tall, I grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures of Bug with him. At first, he had to say ”hi snowman” to him.

Then he tossed some snow at him. Then he gave him a hug.

Overall, it was a great day outside in the white goodness. Bug had a good time and slept very well for his nap. Coming inside was a fight, but I promised he could go back out tomorrow with daddy. More snow is coming Saturday night into Sunday so there will be many more days to play.

Oh, we read the book The Snow Family at nap time. If you’ve never read it, you should. It’s one of my winter favorites. We may have to go out and build snow parents for our snow boy, or at least a snow dog he can romp with. Who knows What Snowmen Do at Night. Guess we’ll know in the morning.

And one of my favorite quotes (and Bug’s too) from The Snow Family:

“… and a kiss on every carrot nose…just like that.”

It’s Been A Long Few Days…

This is just an update on how things have been going in my life recently.

Saturday morning we got up early and went down to Pennsylvania to see Darling Hubby’s SIL and her 2 kids. They came back from New Mexico for a few days to load their horse trailer full of stuff to take with them, things that they couldn’t take the first trip out. We mainly went to visit but helped load stuff (which was a complete and utter disaster.) It took forever. Bug didn’t nap until late when he fell asleep on the futon that was left in the living room while all the cousins were watching The Wild. He slept for a while, but woke up cranky and only wanted Daddy who was filthy from moving stuff and trying to help them load kennel panels onto the top of the trailer to tie on since they wouldn’t fit inside. We didn’t leave until 7pm (3 hours later than I had wanted to leave) and it was a 3 hour drive. Plus we had our dog Max with us so we had to stop for a pee break for him and once cause Bug got car sick after eating dinner of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. We think that was because he was watching a dvd and it was on really windy curvy roads. He was fine after that. We got home around 10 and I dunked him in the bath to get the insect repellent (there were tons of those big black flies everywhere, it was gross) and vomit off him before bed. Darling Hubby and I needed to take showers, too and I had to douse myself in aloe as I got a terrible sunburn and I wasn’t even in the sun that much. Bug was asleep by 10:30, but was awake at 7 Sunday morning. He did play in his room quietly for a while before the rest of us got up.

One really funny thing while we were down there, our dog Max was out running in the woods with the older kids and he came back and tried to cut across the pond. He got part way out and panicked and got stuck just off shore and wouldn’t come back.

We tried calling him and snagging his collar with a cane. I had to snag his legs with the cane to get him to come out.

“Now how are you planning on getting me out of here?”

He hates being in water for some reason and then when Darling Hubby was trying to get him out, he thought he was in trouble and refused to budge. Needless to say, Max got a bath Sunday morning. He was a yucky dog! lol

We got to go through some of the stuff that they were not taking with them (putting in an auction) and we got a couple small chairs and a little tykes desk and a booster seat for the car for when Bug’s bigger. It just needed to be disinfected as it had been stored in the horse barn. Plus Darling Hubby’s sister gave me 2 big boxes of clothes that her son has out grown. I washed them once, but they need to be washed again as they stink to high heaven of cigarette smoke. Yuck!

Sunday was a bit better. Bug seemed to be better, although he did have a couple very messy diapers. I got out of the house to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Despite the negative things people have said about it, I enjoyed it.

Today started off bad and I’m hoping it gets better. Bug didn’t wake me up until around 8 and he was a poopy mess. I had to change the sheets on his bed as well as his clothes. Then, I brought him into bed with me so he could watch Curious George and he threw up all over himself. Needless to say, I called Baby Girl’s parents and requested that I not watch her today. I’m also getting tomorrow off just to make sure he’s feeling better. We aren’t sure what he’s got, but it sounds like what Baby Girl had last week, except with the throwing up. Everyone keep your fingers crossed that Bug gets better soon and that I don’t get sick this week. Tomorrow I’m going to see Celtic Woman at the arena and I don’t really want to miss it.


I’m worried about my dog, Grace, this morning. She’s been acting a little off since yesterday afternoon. She peed and then “peed” like 4 more times but came up empty. She ate fine yesterday and was drinking as far as I know. She was fine all night, and went to the bathroom no problem before bed. This morning she went fine and then when I fed her she didn’t want to eat. She NEVER turns her nose up at food. She eats anything and everything. I’ve recently switched her to soft canned food as she’s been loosing teeth (her teeth were bad when we got her and nothing helps). I checked the food and it’s not part of the recalled food from March. Her nose is cold and wet so I don’t know what’s up with her.

I plan to keep an eye on her today. Maybe she’s just having an off day and I’m overreacting about the peeing thing. I know the other day I kept feeling like I had to pee even when I went and I’ve had days where I’m not hungry. I just hope that nothing is seriously wrong. I don’t think we can afford to have anymore medical bills for her. She’s already cost us 3 grand with her broken leg in November.