Gilbert’s Busted Face

Well, things have been a bit hectic here.

For once, there is only one creature to blame- Gilbert.

Gilbert’s an eight year old pit bull/’husky mix who joined our family seven years ago.

Gilbert is… needy. Very needy. He constantly wants attention, and prefers to sleep next to me under the covers. He just constantly wants to be IN YOUR FACE.

Gilbert’s also rather accident prone. He doesn’t just do stupid things (he’s not the brightest dog), he seems to attract problems. He developed a soy allergy. He regularly rubs his paws raw playing in the water, and then coming inside and licking obsessively. And lately, he’s been getting tooth infections.

We do all the things you’re supposed to do to help your dog’s teeth- lots of good bones to help clean off their teeth, combined with occasional cleanings. But Gilbert’s a moron, and apparently this is just a pit bull thing, so he’s gotten a recurrent infection in one of his teeth this past year. We’d treated the infection the first three times, but with this current one, our vet recommended pulling the tooth.

His tooth got pulled on Thursday, and he’s on a diet of mushy foods and antibiotics for the next week as the swelling gradually goes down. He’s back to his needy, crazy self already, but his face still looks pretty busted.


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Well, I’ve done some knitting, and some cooking, and some other things, but I don’t particularly feel like writing about them. I feel like writing about Pepper.

Pepper is our pony. Well, he’s my mom’s pony. He’s been in my family for as long as I can remember- he taught my little cousins how to ride, and when they outgrew him, he came to me and my mom, to work as her trail horse.

Pepper’s had an illustrious career, teaching young riders and calmly entertaining older riders. Plenty of kids have loved and learned with him. Some of them have gone on to ride other horses, too. He’s worked as a lesson horse, a therapy horse, and a trail horse for years. He’s gone to more schooling shows than even he can remember. He’s my favorite horse to teach beginners on- he stops as soon as he feels them loose their balance. And he won’t go faster than they know how to ask. Or where they don’t know how to ask him to go. But if you know, he’s fun, with neatly adjustable gaits and a fun little jump.

This is my cousin, the first young rider Pepper had, riding in a jumpers class at HITS. She's one of the *ahem* little angels who taught Pepper to buck when tapped on the croup with a crop.

Pepper’s nineteen now, and he’s enjoying his “semi-retirement”. We say it’s a semi-retirement, because every so often (i.e. whenever the footing isn’t going to kill us all) I stick a hackamore and a bareback pad on him and ride. This doesn’t usually happen more than once or twice a week, but as he’s the only horse in our little herd whom is sound, he’s considered to be a bit less retired than them.

He’s not the boss of our little herd, but he’s certainly very… communicative about his opinions. He pulls faces. I don’t have photos of those faces. Mostly because I am often laughing too hard to take pictures, but he is quite adept at them. Mostly they occur when you interrupt his post-meal cribbing, or if you’re Dewey.

(Dewey is the big paint. More on him later).

Pepper’s kind of like a weird, crabby sibling to me here on the farm. We make fun of each other (he tries to push me over with his nose when he finds treats in my pockets, and I tickle his nose when he tries cribbing so he makes funny faces) and he keeps me entertained. He and Dewey are generally inseparable, though they bicker like an old married couple at times.

And sometimes Pepper harasses the dogs.

So here it is- a post for Pepper, my weird, crabby, patient, fun little pony.

Who isn’t really a pony.

Pepper is 15 hands high, and of unknown heritage. He has been with our (nuclear) family since 2002, and in our extended family for longer than this writer can remember, honestly. She’s not much older than him herself.

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In which I finally finish a pair of socks

Socks, and booties, for a dear friend and the child he and his lady are expecting.

Socks, adult male medium, and Booties, newborn size.

The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Company’s Happy Feet Yarn. The yarn has short (1-2 inch) stripes of green and black, and it’s turned into an unusual stripe pattern that I actually kind of like. Not the sort of thing I’d want to wear myself, but it’ll suit my friend to a tee- he’s quite the mad scientist.

No pattern- just the usual basic sock, with a short ribbed cuff and a dutch heel. My gauge wound up at 9 stitches to the inch on size four needles- which feels kind of obscene. The booties are basically very small socks, with a seed stitch leg/cuff and a stockinette foot.

I’m pretty sure these should have knit up quicker, but I’m slow. I’m hoping to finish my next pair in less than two months 🙂

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And we’re back

So I went to South Sudan.

It was gorgeous. And there were so many cows. I love cows.

They’re a real country now!

People are coming home.

And there was a parade!!!

And then I came home.

Isn’t home beautiful?

Need more proof?

Even when Hurricane Irene hit, things were still pretty nice. The ponies certainly liked the flooding.

And now I’m back. I’m hoping to post something interesting, or relevant, sometime soon, but until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed the ridiculous array of pictures.

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Several months after my last post…

I’ve moved. Like, really moved. To South Sudan.

This place is ridiculously awesome. In ways I can’t describe. I love living here, I love my job. It’s… so different. And yet so similar to what I’ve known.

Let’s hope I become more eloquent during the next three months. Or, at least, take enough photographs to make up for my lack of eloquence.

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بآحب اللغة العربية

Hadayek el-Maadi... literally- the "gardens" of Maadi


وحشتيني يا حبيبي يا قلبي. انا زعلان جامد دلوقتي عشان لواحدي، مش معك. يا آم الدنيا، مصر

آقراء و آكل و آنوم، لكن كدا مش الحياة. بدونك، انا كوري الا طول

لكن الهو هنا نضيف، مش زاي في مصر. و الموية و الشاريعات، هم نضيف كمان

لازم آعمل شنو؟

There are times I miss speaking Arabic all the time.

But it’s nice to be able to breathe. And not be breathing in noxious fumes.

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An Introduction

I’ve written about ten cover letters for jobs this week, so I’m pretty sick of writing about myself.

I live on my family’s small farm. I’m unemployed. I like to knit, cook, and read. My cat likes to help with all of these activities, even though he’s not very good at them.

But I do love knitting. It’s pretty magical.

It was the end of a semester, in College (I feel really strongly that it was spring but chronologically it was probably fall). I was hanging out at a friend’s apartment (a place known as the attic, in a house known as the Orphanage… I’ll let you fill in the gaps about cleanliness and general state of repair) with this guy friend of mine. We were quite headily enjoying altered states of consciousness as created by a certain herbal substance, and I was knitting and we were chatting.

My friend, his mind quite altered, was incredibly fascinated by my knitting, by the process of creating each stitch, and thus new fabric, from yarn. He sat watching me knit for a bit, then demanded that I explain how it worked. He then insisted that he could knit, because “in Russia, they teach us to knit in kindergarten. Everyone. F*king communist bastards.” I obliged, and handed over my scarf, then watched as my friend proceeded to drop the first stitch three times in a row before cursing at the needles and throwing them back in my lap. And then we sat there and both just stared at the yarn and the needles as I knit another row, and were just utterly mesmerized by the yarn.

I’m pretty sure I should have been spending that time studying for finals or something, and I’m definitely sure we went to go play on the swing outside the Orphanage after. But for some reason I really love this memory, this sort of moment out of the usual crush of school and exams and “College Life” where, for a while, the process of making cloth out of string was truly awe-inspiring. And I loved my friend’s reaction, but that’s another story for another place and time.

Sometimes, especially when I get towards having a fully completed item, I slow down still and watch (now without the herbal augmentation) as slowly, or not so slowly, my sweet little stitches transform innocent, plain yarn into items with dimension and shape and warmth. Which is, I suppose, a bit cheesy, but that’s how I feel about knitting.

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