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There’s a little more to this story (with a cameo role by Crispin’s nose) that you can read over at my other blog, especially if you are in a craftsy frame of mind. I had decided to devote much of this weekend to painting, and though I have in fact made a bunch of miscellaneous things, I haven’t yet gotten out the ink and brushes (hey, the day is still young).

But here, for your viewing pleasure, a portrait of young Crispin in . . . felt:

He’s needle felted from about four different natural shades of sheep’s wool (and one highly unnatural bit of blue dyed wool for the collar). I made him last night and I’m ridiculously pleased with him. He’s just the right size to sit in the palm of your hand, or on your desk. Not, alas, on my desk, because that would put him well within reach of the flesh and blood (and hair and snool and mud and teeth) Crispin, who has indicated in no uncertain terms this morning that he thinks his likeness is very cute and ought to belong to him.

If you want to learn a lesson about impermanence, come over here and watch Dinah and Crispin when they get new toys.  Except for a Booda hedgehog that lived for two years because that’s how long he was lost under the living room sofa, a number of kongs (celestial music should play here as we sing the entirely unsolicited praises of the fine folks who make kongs), and a sturdy canvas rainbow trout that lived until it was too filthy to keep, most of Dinah’s and Crispin’s toys have had pretty short lives. They dogs aren’t bad-tempered, they’re just really rambunctious. And strong.

Sometimes a particularly favored dog toy will be petted and babied like a real puppy. Dinah will sleep with her head pillowed on it. Crispin will steal it and carry it out into the yard so he can baby it. But then some signal, inaudible to human ears, spells the end of said toy’s life, and within 4 minutes it will be ripped to shreds.

We’ve tried saving money by buying dog toys from the stuffed toy bin at Goodwill. We carefully select the ones that meet our criteria:

  • they have no glass eyes
  • they have no wires
  • they have no squeakers
  • they are not stuffed with (the devil’s own) styrofoam microbeads (man, if one of those even gets a tiny leaky hole in it, you may as well put your house up for sale and move out–you will be finding them for the rest of your natural life)
  • they cost $2 or less
  • there have to be two toys of roughly equal attractiveness so the dogs won’t fight over them

Today we brought home two soft toys from Goodwill, a yellow lion and a primary colored plush truck. The dogs were ecstatic. They were quiet, playing with their new toys. We were happy.

Then we heard the ripping noise that is the unmistakable signal of Stuffed Toy Demise.

The truck had lasted 3 minutes.

The lion lasted perhaps 3.5 minutes.

Second Child stood with me in the kitchen, surveying the wreckage and helping me to collect the cloudlike drifts of toy stuffing in a paper bag.  “Give it up, Mom,” she said. “You’d be better off getting some canvas and making your own dog toys.”

Cue celestial music again. And scurry for the black and white canvas in my fabric stash, the fabric printing paint, and a piece of rope (of course I have all these things on hand–don’t you?)

An hour later, a dog toy was born:

Within another half hour of watching Crispin sulk because I happened to hand this one to Dinah first, a second toy was produced.

Of course, before the afternoon was out, Cris had chewed the rope off of his, but–hallelujah–both toys were still here, unbowed, unbloodied, and with a full complement of stuffing still inside.

Anyone know where I can get a stronger rope?

I’ve long held a theory that murderous but absent-minded psycho killers will use whatever you carelessly leave out at night to dispatch you in your sleep. This is why I always put away the grapefruit knives.

In California this week a similar but–fortunately–less deadly incident took place. A man broke into the home of two farmworkers, and attacked them using things he found in their kitchen.

Yup, these gentlemen were awakened by someone rubbing one of them with spices and whacking the other with an 8-inch sausage.

Police apprehended the culprit after finding him hiding in a nearby field dressed only in his t-shirt, boxers, and socks.  They found his wallet (complete with ID) in the home of the victims, placing him at the scene of the heinous crime, but they may yet have difficulty making a case against him, because they can’t find the murder weapon.

The victims’ dog ate the sausage.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Family medical concerns on several fronts. The insurance company recreationally denying coverage for said concerns–you know, just because they can. Fights ensuing. Me winning (take that, evil insurance demons!). Stressful school transitions.

As for the dogs, they’ve had a pretty quiet week. Some cockleburrs have had to be severely dealt with. And they can’t figure out why First Child has disappeared (he’s at college, but they won’t understand that) and why Second Child has suddenly started getting up at dawn and is taken away every morning by a large yellow school bus. Oh, and their dog blog friend Lilly tangled with a rattlesnake–and won (go, Lilly! and hang in there, Roxanne!).

And then there were the Conventions, requiring that the Two Legs be away in another room for several evenings watching The Box. As a result, and at our purely partisan request, Dinah and Crispin have gone to bite some people in other states, so for this week, we bring you instead of news closer to home, this video. Pure enjoyment, via Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish.

Hope your September is going well.

He is so shaggy. People are amazed when he gets up and they suddenly realize they have been talking to the wrong end. --Elizabeth Jones
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Nancy Hall ©2009
September 2008