Oct 17

Still Lonely

Dogs, Life 1

Always missing him. I found one of his bright blue rubber balls in the moving process the other day, and I put it away with his collar and leash, and the last rope toy he didn’t quite chew all the way through. I think about him all the time.

People keep asking if I’m going to get another dog. Listen, folks…getting another dog will not fix the pain. Another dog is just that, another dog. Yes, I adore canines in general, but each one should be appreciated for who they are and not brought into a family just to try to fill the shoes of a dearly loved but absent pet. It’s not fair for us to have those kind of expectations of them. They don’t understand, and if they did I think they would be terribly hurt and put out.

One very sweet lady I met the other day, with a pawprint and flower intertwined tattooed on her forearm, told me quite bluntly that I’ll always miss him, and that part of my heart is gone forever. “But,” she said, “One day another dog will find you. And they’ll give you a piece of their heart. It won’t be the same, but it will be good. And then you’ll be able to remember all the good times and smile.”

Maybe one day.



Oct 16


Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 2

The move has really upset my equilibrium. Which – duh – is what a move usually does, I’m just finding it uncomfortable. Since work is continuing on regardless, I don’t have as much time as I would want to put everything into place in the new rooms, which is leading to more time in limbo. I’ve found stressing myself out for the few hours before or after work aren’t worth it though, so I’m still trying to take some time to relax, read, drink my morning coffee.

The Roanoke River Greenway runs right behind our new building, and we’ve already been making use of it. It’s quite a lovely thing, I’ve already taken lots of pictures but for now will just leave you with these of a sculpture we discovered along the way, which I think is beautiful and amazing.


Sep 18

Bookish Things

Books/Writing, Reviews 0

Maybe it’s the change in weather. Maybe it’s a release from some work-related stress. Maybe it’s a little more time after losing Timmy. Regardless, I’ve developed an interest in reading again. Right after deciding I didn’t have to force myself to finish Jane Eyre. Hm.

First of all, WTF is with the vampires? I knew there was a big rush of vampire books thanks to the Twilight books and the TV show “True Blood,” but good gods alive. Do people never, ever get tired of them? Supernatural is fine, when done well. But variety is the spice of death. Er, something like that. Please, how about something else? Also…WHY all the YA novels? Why? I don’t need to be reminded of just how whiny 16 and 18 year olds are, or just how drama-filled their lives tend to be. Nor do I want to read about the reject-Hermione-type exception to those generalities. And I most definitely do not (I’m 24) want to feel like a cougar for being attracted to the main male character. Alright, rant over.

So how about the werewolves in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series? Excellent alternative to vampires, in my opinion. I just finished the first one, Soulless. Apparently I’m a bit late on this bandwagon, but better late than never and all that rot. In the interest of full disclosure I’ve always had something of an interest in shapeshifter mythology, so as soon as I figured out there was more werewolf than vampire in this particular story it moved up my to-be-read list. Then it was offered as a B&N Free Friday book, so…

Two words: Hot. Damn. I was expecting a crime/mystery of the noir sort. What I got was a racy little number that while maybe a little short on the intricacy of a mystery plot, delivered a lot in terms of humor and style. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book so fast. Not that it would have anything to do with the sexual tension between awesomely snarky, intelligent Alexia or the cursed, given to profanity and frequent roaring but ever-so-sexy Lord Maccon (with a Scottish accent to boot). Highly recommend and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

Also this kind of changed my mind entirely about Goodreads. Previously I had sort of written it off as not being nearly as good as LibraryThing. It’s not, as far as library cataloging goes, but when it comes to book recommendations it was right on the money. 🙂

It’s been while since I updated my reading list here, so, for the 75 Books in 2012 Challenge:

35.  The Serpent’s Shadow, by Mercedes Lackey
36.  Chocolate Cookie Murder, by Joanne Fluke
37.  Parker Pyne Investigates, by Agatha Christie
38.  Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: a Beginner’s Guide, by Rosemary Gladstar
39. Walkin’ on the Happy Side of Misery: a Slice of Life on the Appalachian Trail, by Junius R. Tate
40.  Round Robin, by Jennifer Chiaverini
41.  Still Life, by Louise Penny
42.  Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker, by Elizabeth Hartman
43.  The Other End of the Lease: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, by Patricia B. McConnell
44. Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts, by Jacquie Gering
45.  Soulless, by Gail Carriger


Sep 12

Autumn is Almost Here…

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature, Life 1

I love feeling the change of the seasons, regardless of what season it is. We’ve been sleeping with our windows open for the past couple of nights, and I woke up this morning to a distinct chill in the air and a new, crisp scent outside. I pulled out my knitted sweater work-in-progress and knit like a possessed woman for about half an hour (because I want to *wear* that sweater, darn it!). Lady Autumn is approaching with soft, slow footsteps. Daily we feel her presence growing and welcome the changing of the seasons with open arms. Living in Texas, where there are basically 2 seasons (broiling for 10 months and meh cold for about 2) taught me to never again take the seasons for granted.

Getting the itch to get back into the woods for some hiking. I really wanted to have my first overnight trip this year but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. 🙁 Regardless, I want to get out and capture the changes on camera if I can – and in art. The season always inspire me to make something or start a new project.

Virginia’s Travel Blog has some lovely autumnal fun ideas. The one that most captured my attention – no, not hangliding this time – was the Golden Eagle Treehouse. One day I hope to live in a secluded enough place with big enough trees to have my own, but until then can I please have a night in this place? I’ve been through the Meadows of Dan area once for work and I really just wanted to tell them to leave me there, it was so beautiful. Not to mention the lovely Chateau Morrisette Winery is right there. Mmm.



Sep 06

One Month of Lonely

Crafting, Dogs, Life 0

I keep coming back to this “tired face” picture to remind myself that I did the right thing. His expression is so far from his normal happy self, and this is even better than he looked for most of the last couple days. He was just worn out.

One month ago today I said goodbye. It’s still a struggle coming home to emptiness every day, and I still feel guilty, like I should have done something else. But I’m trying, and my husband and friends have been very kind and sweet.

Timmy’s quilt is growing.

I’ve been picking this up a lot, when I think of him and it hurts. Something about putting a visual to his life helps me feel a little better. I’ve finished the first 16 tiny blocks and need to cut more fabric before I can proceed.

I still can’t get over how tiny these are.


Sep 05

Pets Add Life

Dogs 0

If you need or would like a smile and a giggle, watch this quick video. Wait for the dog. 🙂 (HT to To Dog With Love)

And after that, check out their FB page and Pledge. They’ve also got a nice website and a cute blog. If and when I get another dog, I know rescues and shelters are the first places I will look. I’m thinking of a way to make the “take a picture” part of the pledge workable too…not sure I can visit a local shelter yet though.


Sep 04

Goulet Pen Company – Review

Reviews 7

I used to try to do reviews quite often, but I haven’t done any for awhile. So today I’ll dust off my reviewer hat and offer my review of an awesome company that has left me very happy in all my interactions with them. I started thinking about them last night when I pulled out pen, paper, and ink to write some long-suffering friends reply letters (they are coming, I promise).

First off, the Goulet Pen Company has the most amazing website for fountain pen and ink knowledge and comparison that I’ve come across. As a relative newbie to nice pens and inks, I honestly can’t do without all their comparison tools.

The Swab Shop is both useful and fun. Since the multitude of fountain pen inks available were what first drew me to fountain pens, having a way to compare (with reasonable accuracy) a large number of different colors is vital. Of course you can’t tell everything about an ink from a swab sample, but you can narrow it down to what colors you really like, and then order a little sample so you don’t pay out for an entire bottle right away.

Speaking of samples. They offer samples of every single ink they carry. I might have a slight problem. Ahem.

Their Nib Nook is yet another brilliant comparison tool. For those of us who can’t just randomly dish out for all the pens we would love to try, we can at least see something of how they write. Because no matter how beautiful a pen is, if it only writes broad and I hate anything wider than fine…we will be very sad. The designations different companies give their nibs are not always similar, so examples are great. Personally, I have my heart set on a Namiki Falcon with a Soft Fine nib thanks to this tool. Sigh.

The most recent of the Goulets’ interactive tools is the Pen Plaza, which is yet again, amazing and helpful in every way. The amount of detail they put into measuring the pens they sell is already astounding. Now they’re compiling that and images of the pens so that we can see the differences as well as read them. Since most people have a decided preference for the larger or smaller (me!) pens, this is also incredibly helpful for internet buyers.

Can I have these? What about just half of them?


Goulet Pens keeps a large assortment of brands of pens, inks, and papers/notebooks. While I don’t see many of the more expensive fountain pens listed on their site, there are several other brands listed in their special order section. Since I’m far from being independantly wealthy, I love that most of their pens are within my “affordable” range even if some of them are still a definite splurge.

My most recent order from Goulet Pens. Love the secure packaging.

Ordering from Goulet is quick and painless – they accept Paypal as well as other forms of online payment. Their shipping is lightening fast. I do live in the same state, so that may make them a little quicker for me than for others, but everything is shipped Priority Mail so it’s still very quick. The packaging is superb and something they’ve obviously put a lot of time into, considering the fragile nature of a lot of the items they ship. I wish I’d taken a picture before I unwrapped everything, but I was in too much of a hurry to see my new pretties.

Everything arrives wrapped in Goulet blue plastic wrap. And I mean wrapped. Sometimes I think I need a blowtorch. Then inside, anything particularly fragile is wrapped again. Inks samples are in their own bag. Ink bottles are wrapped again. I know Brian mentioned on their blog that they were experimenting with some different, more environmentally friendly packing options (and I did get packing peanuts in mine – but they were in bags, so easily reusable), but I am not aware if any permanent change has been made yet. Nothing I’ve ordered has ever been broken or damaged or leaked, so I hope they keep it that way!

Speaking of their blog, Brian Goulet keeps a very fun and informative blog, Ink Nouveau. While keeping readers up to date with happenings in the store, he also regularly posts how-to and informational videos, like the wonderful Fountain Pen 101 series. I’d like to just issue a general thank-you for explaining some of the very basic fountain pen terminology and issues without making us newbies feel like idiots.

The Goulet Pen Company is a pleasure to buy from, and I think they give much back to their customers – not just merchandise, but knowledge and service. I certainly hope they are around for a lot longer and I will happily continue to patronize them.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated or otherwise influenced by the company or others in the writing of this post. All opinions are mine.


Aug 29

McAfee’s Knob

Gardening/Herbalism/Nature 2

This post is long, long overdue – the actual hike took place on July 4, right after the massive storm that took out power throughout much of Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio. I had been posting the hiking trip posts the week they were done, but since I also came down with the death flu the night after we hiked this, it was never posted. Anyway, enjoy the pictures. 🙂 McAfee’s Knob is such a famous part of the Appalachian Trail and so widely covered everywhere that I’m not really going to go into much description about the hike itself. It’s 3.4 miles each way, not very steep. Might advise bringing more water than we did, as we were rather parched on the way back – but that might also be due to it being nearly 100 degrees that day!

My husband standing out on the knob – my favorite picture from this hike.It wasn’t that early in the morning when we arrived, but somehow the light looked like it.

The Knob was a popular place that morning.

Me and a friend that joined us. We didn’t plan the outfits, I promise!

For most of the way up, it didn’t look like the storm did much damage, but once we were on the ridge about half a mile or so from the knob it was awful. I can’t imagine how many hours with a chainsaw it will take to get the trail clear again.

One of many trees uprooted by the storm.

This fascinates me…what sort of force has to be applied to get this to happen?