Like we needed an excuse


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.


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.


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.


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.


Leo had a talk with her...


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.


But not before another detour to Manzanita...


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.


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.


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.

Feelin' the love


Do you love mutts?

If so, LuvMutt is having a little contest for the best summer mutt pic. Both Panda and Thea are represented, but honestly, you should vote for whomever you like best of the bunch.

IMG_0073.JPG 0198hug.jpg

Head on over to vote now.

And if that isn't love enough, check out Goofy Dogs, a new site devoted to great pictures of dogs. Do you have a dog? Is your dog goofy? Send your pictures in and feel the love. Panda and Thea are there too!


You know I'm a happy doggy mum.

When is three less than one?


It's funny, when we got Panda, she was 9 months old and a very gentle and timid sort. You could give her a stern look and she'd tuck her tail and hide in a corner. Teaching her what is ours and what is hers was a breeze. She quickly learned, "leave it," and anything that was ever dubbed as such was unharmed.

Thea, she is much younger, much more confident and far less concerned with the repercussions of her mischief. She's a good girl, don't get me wrong, but she lives in the moment and runs a little fast and loose with the law of the house. One must be ever diligent to catch her before she slips up, which is why I have only myself to blame for this.


I closed the girls out of the office, during an important conference call, and when I came out, Thea had her handiwork on display. It's that delicious baby camel down that Thea so beautifully modeled, a little while back.

She tried to look sorry


But then something interesting passed by the kitchen window


As you can imagine, it was no small feat to untangle the mess, but the yarn was salvageable.


Only two breaks, leaving me with two small and one larger ball of yarn. So, while my three little balls might not be quite as good as my one larger skein, it could definitely be worse.

Now, tell me again about how lucky I am to have such well behaved little girls. I think I need a reminder. Oh wait, here's one.

Using Excel for Complex Lace Charts

Cross posted at the Create Along

This tutorial is the 4th in my set of Excel tutorials. You can see the others here:

And, if you happen to have any tutorials of your own, please let me know.

In my last tutorial, I cover creating simple lace charts in Excel. Today, we'll approach a more complex lace pattern and introduce the no stitch. The lace pattern, I'll be covering, is most of the Peri's Parasol pattern I used in Chapeau Marnier.

What is a "no stitch"

More than any other single question, I get this most of all and I think it boils down to a lot of over thinking from the knitting community. Often, people ask if it means a stitch should be slipped. A no stitch, in fact, simply means there is no stitch in that spot. Some lace and cable patterns, change stitch count from row to row. The chart can be made a little more intuitive by distributing the stitches in a logical manner and spacing them with "no stitch" blocks. Generally, when using a "no stitch," one should format it in such a way that it can easily recede from focus. I usually shade mine in gray or black.

Format your spreadsheet

I begin, as always, by adjusting my cells so that they are approximately stitch like in proportion. See the tutorial on colorwork for more information about this step.



Select all the cells, go to the FORMAT menu and choose CELL


Set the alignment to be centered both horizontally and vertically. This will ensure your symbols are centered. Set your font size and add borders to all your cells.

8 random things


My friend Kat tagged me for the 8 random things. I've done 100 things about myself and some other memes, and covered a lot of ground, but since this is "8 random things" I'm not going to talk about my idiosyncrasies, per se, instead, I'm just going to tell you 8 random stories from my life. If you know me well, in real life, you've probably heard some or all of these, but I think they will all be new to most of you. Some of them are sort of sad, some are funny, they all stick with me as meaningful moments in my life; times when I learned something about myself or about other people.

  1. As a very young child, my parents had cars with vinyl seats. In the hot days of summer, sans air conditioning, we'd drive to various and sundry locations and, inevitably, my skin would adhere to those seats. When time would come to exit the vehicle, extracting myself from the seat was often painful.

    Come Christmas season, my parents put a cute little dress on me and brought me to the mall to sit on Santa's lap. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I got it in my head that, because I was wearing a short shirt, I would end up sticking to Santa's lap. The thought horrified me. As we neared Santa, I burst into tears. My parents had no idea what had come over me./li>

    More after the bump

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