Thea's out of class and some cartoons

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Well, Thea had her last puppy agility class. The last two classes were the best classes she'd had. Instead of focusing on one obstacle and then getting back in line (waaaaay boring for a Cattle Dog mix) we actually worked a series of obstacles for each turn. Thea loved it. I think that being able to chain the obstacles, keeps her from over thinking it. It's just fun.

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I'm not saying she was perfect, but she did a pretty darn good job for a 6 month old.

We're taking a short hiatus from school so that Thea can get spayed, but it was enough fun for both of us that I plan to sign us up for more.

I'm going to miss her classmates, some of whom you can see below.

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Pictured are Moose, Bella, Saba and Maggie. Not pictured, but much enjoyed, are Julia and Toby. Hopefully I'll see them in future classes!

In unrelated news, I'm thinking about redesigning the ol' website. My last redesign was in 2005 and while I like it fine, I've been thinking about a little change. I've done a couple of very simple sketches.

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I think I want to go back to having a clean white background and simple graphics. I'm playing around now and will see if I can come up with something that makes me happy.

Keeping busy

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I've been keeping pretty busy, crafty wise. Quite a few hours go to working with the test knitters for the secret Stitch Diva project.

I'm also knitting up a garment for Donna Druchunas' upcoming lace book.

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The yarn is Lorna's Laces, Lion and Lamb. Soft and subtly shaded. Who could complain? If you look carefully, you can see some darts in there. I'm hoping this piece comes out as well as I'm envisioning it. And yes, I realize there is no actual lace yet, but it's coming, I assure you.

I have also sneaked in a few rounds in my knit/crochet skirt. I'm trying to be good and focusing most of my energy on my deadline stuff, but I keep this handy for mindless knitting.

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Here's a closeup of the knitted portion.

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Between bouts of knitting and pattern editing, I'm spinning up more of the yarn for this skirt. So far, this is just enough variety to keep me interested.

Panda on LuvMutt

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I've been posting a lot of dog photos lately, mostly because I can't post much else, but look. I have crafting!

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Remember those motifs I crocheted? I have been playing around with how to use them. I knew I didn't have enough of the motif yarn to make a whole garment, but I realized that the September Glow Cotswold and Silk yarn I spun, would look nice with the muted peach color of the motifs.

I think I want to make this into a skirt. I have quite a bit more of the Cotswold, that I can spin. I've played around with knitting and crocheting the skirt portion. Right now, the motifs are joined in such a way that they make a natural chevron, which is great for this subtly variegated yarn. I tried crocheting the skirt, but I wanted it to be a little softer and drapier, so I switched to knit instead.

It's actually really hard for me to post a this point, because I'm not totally sure I love it and I might very well rip the whole darn thing out if I'm not satisfied with the results, still, so far, it looks good enough that I feel I can share.

And aren't I doing well, not a doggy in sight.

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Urm, well, yes, Thea did sneak her paw into that shot. You can see her little goth pinkie nail. But we aren't looking at puppies in this post, we're looking at handspun yarn working up into a skirt.

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*Sigh* I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself. I mean, come on, that's funny, people. Even if you hate dogs. Plus, I think the color really brings out the pathetic expression plastered on Panda's face. Don't you agree?

Like we needed an excuse

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Our backyard is elevated slightly, and surrounded by a short rock wall. You can see what I mean here. Instead of taking the stairs up and down, to get to the grassy area, Panda likes to simply leap.

Well, yesterday, Panda misjudged the wall a bit and slammed her front paw very hard on one of the protruding rocks. She stopped dead in her tracks.

I called out, "Panda, are you OK?"

She looked at me, limped over to me, sat, and held her paw up. My heart just sank. She looked so so sad. Of course, I showered her with kisses and coos and scratched her head.

After determining that no bones were broken and that the cuts were largely just surface abrasions, I lead her back out, slowly, to do her business and then brought her in to take a closer look at the damage.

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See those red marks? Poor thing. Just breaks my heart.

Leo suggested that this was as good an excuse as any to pack up the girls and take them to the beach. It would take Panda's mind off of any discomfort and they were really getting stir crazy, anyway.

Our first stop was in Manzanita. The wind was intense but that never phases the little ones.

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Panda showed no signs of even remembering she had hurt her foot. She didn't limp, didn't shy away from the water and had a great time, so we decided to keep going.

We headed south, following the ocean, and ended up at Manhattan Beach. There was far less wind and we were able to find a nice spot to play fetch with the pups.

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It was all fun and games until the little stink pot decided she'd rather run off and play with other people, instead of hanging out with us.

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Leo had a talk with her...

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But you know how adolescents can be.

After that, we decided to explore a bit more. We ended up at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company, which also boasted a petting zoo, wine tasting, chocolates and other sundries. We bought some cheese, wine and baguette, and headed back north, towards home.

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But not before another detour to Manzanita...

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As the sun was starting to set, Leo thought it would be fun to put some of our food to good use and suggested a picnic. We headed over to Cannon Beach, picked up a beach blanket, and caught the last few glimmers of daylight, over a couple sips of wine and cheese.

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Since we had a bit of a drive, we didn't really have much wine, but we put a nice dent on the bread and cheese. YUM. And unlike So Cal, where you have to pay to use beaches that allow camp fires and late night picnics, Cannon Beach was alight with fires set by families keen to roast marshmallows and make the most of the gorgeous evening.

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After it got dark, we reluctantly packed up for the trip home and we listened to Harry Potter XII doh! VII the whole way.

I would say that's a most excellent way to coddle a doggy's boo boo. See more pictures over at Flickr. Leo's already declared that we'll be doing many more beach picnics in the future.

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