Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

October 24th

Autumn is in full swing here in NH and the colors are spectacular this year- lots of yellows, fire reds and oranges on the trees.   So far the weather has been fairly mild with most days ranging from 70-50 degrees.     Bit rainier than last year, but after the dry spring and summer, I try not to mind it too much.  I know we need it. 

My brother’s cat (Ninja Kitty) has taken to timing her nap times to coincide with when the window sills are sunny and warm.   In another few weeks she’ll probably start camping on the heaters.   We have base board heat and for the past couple of winters she’s taken to stretching out on top of them.  They are just wide enough for her to do so without too much trouble.  

At 15 and arthritic we don’t think she has too much time left so she’s been getting spoiled by everyone.   Even the dogs have been gentlemanly towards her- when she deigns to notice their presence in her world.  As far as she’s concerned, most days it’s: DOGS DO NOT EXIST-LALALALA CAN’T HERE YOU.   

My dog Lucky and Chewie, our son’s dog, are enjoying the fall weather as well. Lucky is delighted in all the new (re: rotting) smells of foliage and...other things dying right now and is forever rooting and scenting for new and fascinating things to roll in or eat.   Chewie is mostly happy for the cooler temperatures, I think.  Having a mostly black coat tends to lead to roasting like a potato in foil during the summer.   

As of this weekend, Chewie has been with us 6 months and it truly does feel like he’s been with us for years.   A dear friend had been trying to find him a home for about a year.  As we already had four cats and a dog I was reluctant at first to bring another pet into the fold, but after mentioning Essie’s predicament to SSG we were on our way down to CT to bring him home. 

Seriously, our conversation went like this:

“Oh, Essie is still looking for a home for her Dad’s old dog.”

“How old?”

“6, I think.  Here’s the pic she posted.”

“What breed?”

“Basset Hound/Besingi about 40 lbs.”

“Well, we can’t drive down this weekend because of Drill.  How about we go down the next long weekend?”

(Note: SSG gets every other Friday off at his totally awesome civilian job)   

“I’ll see if they’re still looking for a home for him.”

FB MSG to Essie:
Are you still looking for a home for your Mom’s dog? Our son would love a dog and mine could use a buddy.

Essie’s reply:
Do you know how much I love you? 

Two weeks later, we drove down, introduced Lucky and Chewie to each other and took both back home after it became clear that they didn’t immediately hate each other.  SSG drove the entire way- roughly 6 hours of driving- without tapping off.  My husband, the USARMY tank. 

Chewie quickly settled into our house, and Lucky has been delighted to have a friend.  He was getting dangerously bored as the only dog, a very bad thing for my shoes.
Six months later, Chewie and Lucky are practically attached at the hip and get distressed if one is being taken on a walk or car ride without the other. 

There have been challenges.  Chewie does not like other dogs as a general rule so we have to deal with extremely aggressive behavior if we meet other dogs while out and about.  He also has no patience for “busy” children poking at him incessantly.  He’s cute as a button and munchkin height, so they are attracted to him like ants to honey.  I spent GNEW terrified that he’d bite one of the little darlings that would not leave him alone.   Not that the kid wouldn’t have deserved it, but the last thing any pet owner wants is to have their dog bite someone.  

 Chewie had a really rough beginning.  When Essie’s family adopted him at around a year old he was mostly white with some black spots.  Then they discovered that the white fur was due to scarring and scabbed over injuries.    Chewie has a tuxedo coat naturally.  

I hate people sometimes.

None of which is his fault and Essie’s family rehabilitated him beautifully but there are challenges we’ve had to discover and deal with.  There are days when he reacts badly to loud noises or being moved when he’s settled in for a nap (he frequently picks the most inconvenient spaces to settle in) and I’m dead certain that we will have more challenges down the road with him.

I highly recommend adopting shelter dogs as they really are some of the most loyal pets you will ever find, but it’s a gamble and you need to be ready to deal with anything. Educate yourself about training a dog, and training out unwelcome behaviors as well as know what your limits and capabilities are before adopting a dog.   Shelters often have only the barest of details about their dogs, especially if the dog is from out of state like my Lucky was.   

Lucky was well treated before going into a shelter in AL and someone had worked with him at some point as he was at least half-trained.   Chewie, abused and
malnourished before finding first Essie and then us, will always be suspicious and distrustful of strangers where Lucky is fearless and has yet to meet a dog he doesn’t immediately want to be friends with.

He’s a Rat Terrier mix, it’s apparently inherent to the breed. 

Dealing with Chewie, as well rehabilitated and loving as he is- and he is a total love slave- has taken patience and understanding from everyone involved and we went into it with eyes wide open and full disclosure. 

Seeing him and Lucky like this the other day has been totally worth the worry and occasionally catching him on top of my kitchen table. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Heirlooms we don't have in our family. But stories we've got." ~ Rose Cherin

Although he passed away from a heart attack before my second birthday, I can not remember a time when I did not know about the man my mother called Dad.  

Born in a time when horse and carriages outnumbered automobiles on the road, he lived to see the Apollo Missions.  He was born to a good-sized middle class family.   He had two sisters, one elder and one younger, both of whom were very involved in my life while growing up.  

Growing up in the Roaring Twenties, he was in high school when the crash came and the Great Depression hit.   According to family stories, my great-grandfather had passed on early in his life. When the hard times came he did what he could to help keep food on the table.  Up to and including- ahem- extra legal means.  

Most people remember Prohibition as part of the Roaring Twenties that ended with the Crash of '29, but it wasn't until 1933 that the 18th Amendment was actually repealed.  Bathtub gin, moonshine and other hard liquors were commodities that people wanted for the cachet at first, and then, the comfort found in alcohol during hard times during those first years of the Great Depression. 

More than one illicit still was kept busy and profitable during this time, and according to the stories, my grandfather was part of the trade as a bootlegger.  He (allegedly) smuggled sugar over state lines to avoid the various taxes assessed against cane sugar by the revenuers.  Being a suspicious sort, I would not be surprised if there was also some deliveries made of the final product and cigarettes as well.  

Fortunately,  he either never got caught or his best customers were among the local law enforcement; because he graduated High School, went into the Merchant Marine and from there the US Navy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"I reverently believe that the Maker who made us all makes everything in New England but the weather. I don't know who makes that, but I think it must be raw apprentices in the weather-clerk's factory who experiment and learn how, in New England, for board and clothes, and then are promoted to make weather for countries that require a good article, and will take their custom elsewhere if they don't get it". - Mark Twain "The Weather" speech, 1876

C'est quotation has to be one of the best descriptions of NE weather I have come across.  I admit that I don't speak with the weight of years behind me compared to some, but if anyone is an expert on the weather, they reside in NE.

 If it's not hot, it's cold or wet and can change in an instant.   The forecasters are frequently suspected of using ancient prognostication methods for their daily reports.   I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the reason for the long stable prices on poultry in NH is due to the meteorology profession.

The weather has fluctuated in true NE fashion from gorgeous to the fields of hell, which this weekend was.  The unrelenting heat and humidity hit like a sledgehammer and left everyone cracked and shattered around the edges.

The oppressive humidity of the last several days finally broke me enough to actually go out and buy an air conditioner.  Since returning to NE, SSG and I have stubbornly refused to buy even a small one.  Why get an AC for at most a week of nasty weather?   We lived in both South Korea and Georgia for several years and knew what a humid summer was like.

This past weekend convinced me that summers in NE are trending warm and hot for the entire season compared to the seasons I remember from childhood.  Back than the summers were slow to warm and quick to finish.   I remember attending school in the fall in sweaters and jackets with killing frosts before October.   Now, the fall colors remain until the week of Halloween when the chill dreary weather I remember from childhood returns to NH.

 In some ways I revel in the seasons now, but not when it's so hot I'm dragging the dogs into the shower daily to cool them off so they don't suffer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Drink, and dance and laugh and lie, Love the reeling midnight through, For tomorrow we shall die! (But, alas, we never do.)" ~Dorothy Parker

I both love and hate using quotes as my blog titles.   I love honoring all the pithy and witty writers that I do- but hate how I lose time trying to find the one I want to use!

I simply have to open up my favorite page of Mark Twain quotes, get lost, and 'lo, I find half a day has gone missing.  

Much the way this weekend went- I spent weeks waiting, preparing, planning and bribing for it- only to have it pass by way too fast.  I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from whiplash from the speed that the Pirate's Other Salty Ball came and went.  

The Brigands (if you don't have one of their CDs, you should!) came up to do a one night only performance in Manchester, CT with proceeds going to the Testicular Cancer Society.   Somehow, close to 200 people fit into a set of rooms about the size of most 2 bedroom apartments for mayhem and music.

By the end of the much rum and other libations had been consumed- although, I still maintain that I wrenched my ankle by stepping on some one's boot while dancing, and not while stepping into a stray depression in the ground as my reputation leads most to believe.

There's a reason why we're on board ship and not  following the drums still.

And now, 'tis back to my mundane calling I go.


~ From the journal of Pheona Ni' Choinaoith
Pilot, Black Rose II 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."- Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

And I've been obliged to do more work than play the last few weeks, sadly.  Oh, I've had days off- but most of those have been filled with the type of housework that becomes unmanageable if not kept on top of.  

Especially, with my houseful of men.    Seriously- it's amusing to watch how two allegedly grown men and a half grown boy can walk right by something that needs Picking Up and not touch it for DAYS.  My brother calls it "Man Looking."

I prefer a more descriptive term.

Not that I'm a neat freak- I'm not.  I just prefer not to have my house look like a flea market exploded in it.

So, when I'm not working, traveling to work or sleeping- I've been cleaning.  My knee is contemplating putting a price on my head, I'm pretty sure.

Birka was amazing and fun- but lots of work.  I'm so grateful that both my husband and the House Troll were able to be there to help with the heaving.   The conference center floor where Birka is held is the Floor of Hell  after 8 hrs on your feet.

Spiffy came out for Birka-for everyone who doesn't know- I'm the oldest of 5.   Spiffy is daughter #2, House Troll is #1 son and 3rd in age. Anyway, Spiffy is off in Northern NH where she works as a nurse at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.  Ridiculously proud of my sis- it's not everyday a 29 yr old lets out their inner SCAdian!   The nurse thing is pretty cool, too.

Pretty much every moment since Birka has been get up, clean, go to work, sleep.   Just got the ARC of War Maid's Own by David Weber- loved it!- which took me 3 days to finish reading.   Normally, I plow through his books in less than a day.  Two, if I have a long shift at work.   Not this week- everything seems to be taking longer than it should to accomplish.

It just seems lately that all I do is go to work, go home, sleep.  Part of the reason is that we're short handed at work- and everyone in the tri-city region seems to have been down with one of two illnesses in the past month.   Which means is went through the salon like grease through a goose.  So far, I'm the only one who hasn't had to call out of work.  

Pretty sure the girls have a betting pool going on that.

I know I shouldn't complain- things could be much, much worse after all- but I'm finding it really difficult to balance everything I have to do with what I should also be doing.   What I want to be doing fell off the list sometime between Halloween and my birthday last year.  

Fun times are ahead, however.  Faire season is ramping up for kick off in early May, we're going to the "Another Salty Ball" in CT (it's a Pirate thing) next weekend, today's my 11th anniversary and we're going to Dragon*Con in Sept!!

Also, my husband- sweetie that he is- gave me an anniversary present early.   Star Wars:The Old Republic!! /Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee  

I know, I know, total geek but OMG OMG OMG.  Just made my character today, and I'm in love.   It's going to take some military level of organization and scheduling- ugh- but I think I've managed to come up with a workable method for balancing LTG Paintings,  home, work and SWTOR.  

Until the next lightning strike, anyway.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Joyeux Nouvel An!!

I hope everyone has had a great holiday season and ended the year well.

Despite the rotten luck we’ve had with vehicles-our own holiday tradition, one I could do without- we had a lovely holiday season filled with family and friends.  

December was a crazy month, as can I’m sure most of everyone can relate- and for that I am happy to see December leave for another year.

The holiday season is one of the busiest for the salon- and one of the most exhausting.   I think I averaged 6 non-holiday days off the entire month- including the 3 days I had off for the trip out to Dallas.  

I just plain ache all over, from top to toe.  

Anyway, with the relaxing of the holiday season I can return to Looking Through Glass (with some creative time management, /sigh) and actually get something done.

To that end, I’m adding two more events over last year!

They are, Market Day at Birka, in Manchester at the end of this month and one weekend of NHRF 2012 in May.  I am ridiculously excited to be returning to both events under LTGP’s sign.

With that, Happy New Year to everyone and good night!

-Phe dy Vaganza