Wee Lass

Paisley has been my Supervisor and constant companion since she was born, in 2004. She has changed me, as best friends do, in ways I cannot measure.

She defined childhood for Lindsay and Campbell.

She introduced us to Bailey, and happily invited him to share her home and family.

She effortlessly taught us how to appreciate the best things: Snacks, Love, Companionship and what it means to belong to the Pack.

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She helped me through the writing of five (almost six) books about knitting. She said to tell you you're welcome.

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And she liked everything I like: Knitting, Snuggling, and being with the ones I love.

Last Sunday she refused to eat for the only time in her whole life. She moved stiffly and didn't want to go walkies. I stayed up all night with her. And in the wee hours of Monday morning, she sighed a big sigh and went to Heaven. Straight from my embrace to the arms of the angels. 

She never did learn how to "Stay".

When you love and lose a pet it feels like the best parts of you go with them. Like the lights will never come on again. And your heart is a little weaker along its fault lines.

Without Paisley here to tell us what we should do, all the Huffs are kind of wandering around and looking at each other. Morning walkies happen whenever they want, instead of on the strict schedule of Paisley's insistent squeak and wag. Six o'clock dinnertime arrives without anyone going "Aroo" to tell us to make with the kibbles, already. Ten PM comes and goes, and nobody reminds us about bedtime by loudly bouncing up the stairs.

We all keep looking for her in every corner. And the house is so very, very quiet. Bailey was never much of a talker, preferring to let Paisley sound off on his behalf. He is possibly the saddest of us all; without another dog for the first time in his life.

So we are leaning into the sorrow, the best way we know how. Holding each other close, and whispering to Paisley that we'll be with her again one day. Remembering all of the good and happy things she gave to us in her brief little life. And being thankful that we got to share it with her.

Thankful

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Considered the ultimate expression of our Mother's love for us, these rolls were absolute manna, as far as the 5 Scott children were concerned. Made only for high holidays, birthdays or other events deemed worthy, the rolls would cause us children to clump up in the kitchen, watching her knead, roll, butter, sprinkle and shape them. We jockeyed for the closest position as the pans came from the oven, redolent of yeast and butter. Mom allowed us one apiece while they were hot, and none of us was above throwing an elbow if it meant we could get ours first. All of the tongues were burnt, and all of the bellies thankful. They are possibly even better the next day, should any survive that long. Cold sliced turkey with a dab of mayonnaise and some leftover gravy on one of these is an ecstatic experience.

Margaret Hoake was a friend of my mother's, but to my siblings and me, the rolls will always belong to my mother. Making them is one way we commune with her memory.  It's also a love note I leave to my own children. Set aside a leisurely morning to make these, and let your kids burn their tongues, just this once.

Margaret Hoake's Crescent Rolls                                  Makes 4 Dozen

2 cups milk

7 cups flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 package dry yeast

½ cup butter (plus another stick, softened)

Scald the milk and set aside to cool. Using ¼ cup of the warm milk and a pinch of sugar, proof the yeast. Add eggs, butter and sugar to the milk and beat. Add flour and salt to mixture until workable, then knead on a floured surface. Place dough in a buttered bowl and cover with buttered wax paper and a hot damp towel. When dough has doubled in size, punch down and knead again. Return to buttered bowl and let rise again until doubled. Divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each into a 12" circle on a floured surface. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Cut round into 12 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent and place on a buttered baking pan. Cover with buttered waxed paper and allow to rise a 3rd time. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes and allow to cool on a rack.

Beware of lurking (and potentially combative) roll-snatchers during cooling.

 

Scary

Working on my new book, I've been up to my eyes in mittens. I've made 14 pairs in 16 days. And there are still 6 more pairs to go. The deadline is Monday. I'll probably make it, right?

In a fit of denial, I announced to Lindsay that today I was going to take a break from mittens and make a Halloween wreath for the front door.

"Let me get this straight," she said. "You're going to give yourself a break from making things, and use that time to make other things?"

Well when you put it like that it sounds scary.

I challenged myself to make the cheapest and fastest Halloween wreath possible. 

First, I spent exactly $11 at the Dollar Store, which netted me a truly sad little wreath, six sparkly frondlike thingys, some ribbon, pipe cleaners (naturally), a crow, and some swell suction-cup hooks to hang it up with. I also used scissors, wire cutters and a hot glue gun, which I already had.

I timed it, and the wreath took exactly ten minutes to assemble.

But then I went down the rabbit hole.

Because it looked a kind of incomplete to me. I decided that my Halloween crow needed a book to read while posing prettily on the front door. Which I then made from some cardboard that was in the recycle basket, and a little craft paint.

I glued a pipe cleaner to the back of the spellbook so I could wire it into position. I also sprinkled some of the glitter from the frondy-things onto the book's paint while it was still wet. I have glitter everywhere now, including up my nose, and it will never go away. Glitter is the Herpes of crafting. 

I'm pleased with myself. Even if I did use my time off from making things to make yet other things.

Happy Halloween!