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**Update 05-17-2011**

A week after I posted this, Paddy developed a serious aggression issue. We felt that it was not a manageable situation for us, and it would be irresponsible to pass a problem like this on to someone else.  Much as it broke our hearts, we made the gutwrenching decision to have Paddy put down. I don’t want to discuss the details or even talk about it, not now… it was a horrible thing to have to face,  a hard decision to live with even though we felt it was the right one. I actually took down the entire web site for a while, and then was going to purge it and start over, but decided in the end to leave it all here. Life goes on, and you can’t just edit bad things out and pretend they never happened.

After Paddy having so many issues reminiscent of our last disaster dog, Mojo, the post below was sort of a way of me letting out the breath I had been holding for a year and saying “we got through it, and everything is going to be fine.”

I guess we didn’t, and it wasn’t. RIP Paddy, we did love you very much and hope you are at peace.


St. Patrick’s day has just passed, which means that another milestone also just went by. Guess who has been with us a whole year?

Last year at this time, Paddy was a gawky, goofy puppy that had been picked up as a stray with another puppy and brought to the Henderson County animal shelter. The other pup, a pretty little black Border Collie mix looking girl, got pulled by the Humane Society and found a home through them, leaving one more abandoned Pit Bull mix (out of what is literally thousands, at any given time, around the country) sitting at unwanted the shelter. He had no collar, no chip, no one came to claim him… the only relic of whatever past history he had was a shotgun pellet embedded under the skin of one back leg.

We’d been talking for a long time about getting another dog, but were trying to wait until Cricket and Lindsy had passed… he seemed like a really nice pup, though, maybe he was the right one for the house… and he probably wasn’t likely to get a good home. We debated and discussed, and the end result was that one clumsy brown brindle puppy went from being Dodge to Paddy.

I have to confess that there was a period of time where I actually wondered what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into in bringing him home – regretted it, even. Paddy is, well, a bit ‘different’. It quickly became apparent that he had some OCD quirks, and after the tragic nightmare we went through with Mojo, that was the very last thing we ever wanted to deal with again. He’d slide along the furniture like a cat then suddenly scream inexplicably like he was in pain, but we couldn’t find any source of injury. He had trouble settling down and paced and fidgeted ceaselessly, he couldn’t relax outside his crate. He hoovered strange things off the floor and ate them, on a constant basis. To my horror, he even chased his tail at times. Or attacked his own foot. Or his own ‘manly parts.’ He was prone to what we like to call ‘parkarrhea’, whereby an outing to a public place produced an explosion of near liquid diarrhea, without warning, even if he’d had perfect stool for days before. I am sure the diners that were sitting on a sidewalk patio on Main Street still have nightmares from one of those incidents.

But even though some of these behaviors were uncomfortably ‘Mojoesque,’ it was more a case of personality quirks than a hopelessly miss-wired brain, and I do have to say that the techniques we learned in trying to cope with Mojo’s issues came in handy with Paddy. He outgrew most of the really disturbing stuff, though he is still rigidly routine-driven — anyone who says ‘dogs live in the now’ has never seen Paddy pacing and anticipating the various milestones of his day. He mostly has gotten over the pica, but did apparently eat about a pound of moss he meticulously peeled off the ground under the hemlocks a while back; I found this out when having to pick up the large, bright green, fuzzy, fluffy turd he pooped out at Jackson Park.

He’s matured into a beautiful dog, and coming onto 18 months now he’s beginning to settle down into adulthood. His quirky personality is endearing and he makes us laugh, even if we also sometimes want to throttle him. What we originally mistook for a lack of intelligence is just the fact that Paddy sees the world through a different lens than the rest of us (I think his is actually more of a kaleidoscope) and the same dog that can sit for an hour, trancelike, watching dust motes swirl in a sunbeam also once quickly learned how to open a beer cooler so he could help himself to the ice.  He can be melodramatic and puts on an impressive sulk, sitting sideways in his armchair positioned like he’s driving a car. He yodels, he likes to line all of his nylabones up in a precise row on the floor, and he’s afraid of hats and moles. And large tomatoes. And tape dispensers that look like lions.  He’s just Paddy – and we love him.


Finishing abandoned projects

Waaayyyy back in 2008, I took up pyrography (woodburning) and in a short time had a blast making about a half dozen plaques and other items I gave away as gifts. I decided I wanted more of a challenge and took it into my head that I was going to make my mom a portrait of her dog Bear from a photo she had sent me. A challenge is putting it mildly. Right off the bat I made a mistake transferring the outline I’d be working from and left a burn mark on the plaque that I had to try and sand out, then disguise. I also found out that subtle shading was a lot harder than bold lines, and I eventually got so frustrated with the project that I set it aside. Since I never finished that one, I felt guilty doing any of the easier pieces I had been enjoying working on, so that was the end of me doing any pyrography for nearly three years.

Recently, I decided it was time to buckle down and finish it. And I did!


It’s not quite how I pictured it in my head before I started it, but it did turn out fairly decent and my mom loved it. I’m now free to go back to woodburning other projects, though I don’t think I will be trying out any more photo portraits any time soon.

I did also finish that beadwork piece I was making:


and got it sewn onto a collar:


I tried to get the loom warped again to complete a second collar design, with my original, wider ladybug pattern. Even though I now had the correct thread, it didn’t go any better than the first one and (once I’d untangled and salvaged all my expensive beading thread) I decided to just buy another loom. I was intrigued by one I had seen online that uses a technique that produces four finished edges – no snarl of warp threads to deal with at the end – and bought one off eBay.

Within two days I had my new Versa-Loom and was off and running with a small sample project (to learn the new technique before getting into something complicated) using some really pretty beads I’d bought years ago and never did anything with…


That piece became a bracelet for Joy.

Having gotten the basic hang of working with the Versa-Loom, it was back to ladybugs. One problem I ran into, which was more noticeable with my wider pattern, was that even though all my beads were 11/0, the green was a different source than the other colors and slightly smaller, which made the rows a wee bit uneven (hardly detectable in the finished pieces, but it annoyed the crap out of me) so I’m looking forward to having them gone… at the same time, I didn’t want to waste them. I am now almost finished the original ladybug design which will go on a 1″ collar. I am not sure what I am going to do with it since it’s not really Paddy’s style but I had a ton of beads in those colors to use up, and really wanted to see my original design in a finished state. The smaller one I made for Gwen lost a lot of the detail of the head and antennae of the bugs.  I am going to be using delica beads from this point on, which are a lot more uniform and come in a huge variety of colors and finishes.

I have some great patterns I found online and more ideas for designs of my own, and am having fun with the beading. It doesn’t involve a lot of setup, unlike sewing (since I still don’t have a place to permanently set up my machine) or worrying about pets snagging power cords and burning themselves (or me burning myself) as is the problem with woodburning. It’s something I can sit, anywhere, and do as much or as little at a time as I feel like, and the process is very calming, almost meditative.


One thing though, I don’t think I will want to see another ladybug for a long time after this. 😉

Who are these cats, and what have they done with Winter and Simon?


I don’t think I’ve ever seen these two within a foot of each other. There was a sunbeam involved.