Thursday, August 30, 2007

Squid N' Ollie

So, the other day Miss Kathy said that this sweater I was working on looked like a squid. I wanted to let her know that while a knitted squid might be fun, it's not on my design menu at the moment. This, however, IS. This is Williamstown pullover with no name, will be in the Valley Yarns holiday catalog I think (you can ask Kirsten or someone about that though, I have no clue). I can't even link to the yarn, it's THAT new. Not even on the website yet. But there it is, and although I really hated it yesterday we're more in like today. Finishing now, and then blocking and handing over to the powers that be.

Now, we all need to expect some rather sporadic and frantic blogging for the next couple of weeks. See, Evil Girl (who's father obviously lost a screw somewhere) came home with THIS, Ollie (Olive or Oliver?? I lean toward Olive myself, but more will be revealed as it grows.) the Infant Felid-Person. I am not a cat person at all. But it's an infant and it needs a mother. So I clean it's face after it dines, and I let it suck it's milk (KMR really) out of my hand if it's feeling lazy, and I play with it, and let it lap me face and I snuggle it and nuzzle it as if I am licking it's fur clean, and I even helped it to go potty. By the way - it is an excellent pottier. Loves the litter pan at four weeks of age, what's not to love about this animal? Oh, yeah, it's a CAT. Easy to forget this with it's wide blue eyes and soft little paws and sweet mewing sounds...for reference this is one skein of Artyarns Ultra 4. It thinks it's a real cat. It's little cabesa is about 1" across from ear to ear. Don't tell a soul, but I think it's rather cute, really. It's got the littlest feet and the skinniest rat-tail. Yesterday it looked quite dehydrated and was very lethargic for a kitten. Today it is a fiest when awake and dead to the world when asleep, just like a baby should be. And when it's ready to sleep? It just crashes, bang, splat. No warning. Just WONK, done. Really very adorable.

Friday, August 24, 2007

For a good time....

Anybody wanna come along with me? Just a simple little local event on September 22nd...we could hang out, knit in public, listen to music, sip some beer - ok, well, you can all sip beer, I get the stuff made out of sourghum which is sorta like beer but not considering that my last favorites before the gluten ban were this and this...but you know what I mean. And there's gonna be food and snackies and...and...and just fun!

C''ll be AWESOME!!


Knitters and non-knitters alike are welcome to join our little mini-knit-fest. Maybe, after a few samples, we can get all the spouses knitting too!

Bring a lawn chair or some other comfy seating device. This is a parking lot - no grass. If the event expands a tad more, in 2008 we'll have a nice lawn to rest upon, but for now it's pavement, so bring a chair!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Little Blog Break?

Yes, a short break. Not by choice. So, does anyone remember how my doctor said that eating sushi was a risk behavior? And how she gassssped and looked at me like I was sleeping my way through the county sans latex protection for just eating a little raw fish? I get it now. I was already not great to begin with (girl stuff). And then I eat some raw fish and...well..use your imagination. I am off sushi for a while. Maybe forever. Fish is The Devil. Monday was all about water and rice cakes and an odd craving for garlicky dill pickles. This was probably an attempt by my body to regain salt. I wish it had just asked for the shaker.
ANYWAY - we're better, back on track! Last night we put up some corn in the pressure canner, and no one died. Nothing exploded, nothing cracked, broke, or turned disastrous. Pressure cookers sort of scare me. I have these images from old black and white 1950's television where the pressure cooker explodes and the wife, in best apron and crinoline, is doused in whatever she was whipping up, while the cooker top hangs from the hole in the ceiling. And they're time consuming and require pampering and attention, as opposed to hot water baths which just sit and boil away. BUT - the pressure canner uses much less electricity. 18 ears of corn became seven 3-cup jars of yummiess to set aside for winter. I want to get more corn, and try drying it. I'd freeze it, but there's no room in the freezer and I've never been a fan of freezing vegetables. I always manage to ruin frozen stuff. I've also got about a half bushel of cukes left in my fridge after putting up 12 jars of dill pickles with extra super garlic. I could do relish...but no one eats it. I could do more pickles, but 24 jars seems excessive. Maybe. It was the lure of the cukes in their box, calling me. Now I am drowning in them. I love end of summer! I want more tomatoes. I should go on a quest today and find some. I bet my aunt has a bunch...
I also designed a pair of socks out of yarn from Sojourner Sheep in Florence. Simple, but fun, with contrast heel and toe. The final samples won't be ready for a little bit, but this is the tiny swatch I ran up. I really think this is going to be a very fun and wonderful pattern when it's done. Simple enough for a new sock knitter but with enough to entertain a veteran. Once again the stupid camera does not do the colors justice. Diane did the prettiest dying job on this yarn. I love the colors, and I love that each skein will have a matching buddy. The yarn is not on the website yet, but soon - along with the socks! I am getting 7.5 stitches to the inch on a US 2 in stockinette and I like the resulting fabric.
The weird Williamstown sweater continues to grow. Once the sleeves are done the body will be a breeze, super fast knitting. I have not dedicated myself to this like I should, and am continually distracted by the call of cashmere from my bag. I must, I think, be forgiven. Today shall be Odd Williamstown Sweater Day. I have named it thus. By evening the sleeves should be done and the body stitches picked up and moving downward. I also swatched for infant's set in . . . that yarn I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. Soft. Pima bamboo? SOUTHWICK!! Southwick! Why can't I remember that one? I love the yarn. But the name perpetually escapes me. Anyway, I had an adorable swatch and deleted it in an electrolyte depleted haze. it's going to be very simple, very sweet, and very classic infant stuff.
Goodness. Really exciting stuff, huh?
Oh - here's fun and exciting - the dog, who's finally stopped pooping (after ridding himself of his trichobezoar, which, by the way, was worthy of a blog all it's own) has re-developed his staph skin infection. This means he smells, and itches and is not pleasant to touch. And he's a very very needy boy. I am actually beginning to get worried. I've read up a little on this recurrent staph thing. It's not a good sign. It's usually a sign of some other underlying problem. Sigh. To the vet we go, tomorrow morning. My father's dog is visiting us for a while beginning Friday. Tucker will be a nice distraction. A reminder of why my next dog will be small and hardy, and not a genetic mutant. Poor Boo. I so adore his big brown eyes and I hate it when he's not well. He just does not understand which makes it worse.
And - I cannot stop with the cashmere. It calls out to me day and night, relentless. I am going to need a good 24 hours "git 'er done" marathon to kill it off and make it stop calling. Then I can WEAR IT! It is the Minimalist Cardigan by Ruthie Nissbaum from Fall 07 Interweave Knits and I love, love love it. Tiny bit shy on yarn and may need to play around a little to make this work, but then I live for that stuff! The piece is biasing a bit but comes back into line when I reef on it, so blocking should solve the issue. The yarn does not appear to be overspun, and it's just moss stitch, so there's no real point to the biasing thing. It's not a huge issue, and I am crooked anyway, so as long as the yarn is biasing the same way my spine does, we'll be all kinds of good!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


You who've been around for a while may my remember the story of the Christmas Ham and the resulting tale of the new range. Those of you who've known me even longer know that I am a little bit of an old-fashioned girl. I believe in cloth diapers. I like food from my own yard. And I really really like to put food up via the method commonly known as canning. Most of my canning activities take the form of hot water baths. Now, since I got the new range I had not done much canning, principally due to a perceived lack of time and a very real involvement with other things. When I bought the new range I asked Mr. Wonderful's occasional golf buddy (good thing he don't golf wit' him no more) very clearly and very distinctly "Can I can on this range?" I reminded him that I was a former Homemaker of the Year at the local county fair. I reminded him that I was "weird" and did weird things like "can stuff" - sometimes a lot of stuff. I asked again and again, and once again for good measure. I always got the same answer. Yes. They'd worked out the kinks and new glass top ranges were fine to can on. You can can your little heart out. Can away!
He lied. Or maybe he was misled. One cannot process hot water bath items on a glass top range. I put my canner on the biggest burner. I turned the heat to it's highest setting. And I waited. And waited and waited and waited. Nothing happened. In fact, the water did not even simmer. I lifted the pot and, upon seeing the light, the element glowed up at me. But no boil. In order to safely process acid foods, a full rolling boil is required. For low acid foods you need a pressure cooker, which apparently works great on a flat top range. And you can use a pressure canner for high acid foods, too. Trouble is I don't own one big enough to process quart jars. Would you believe that I was raised by women who actually did this for a living? We've got home economics teachers in the bloodline here, from back in the day when preservation was necessary to survival. Between them and the other family full of depression survivors, I am pretty able. Not to mention the geographic location of my upbringing which lends itself to a conceited independence. Yankees really do think we not only can, but SHOULD do it ALL ourselves. To not can is a desecration of the fore mothers memories. It's besmirching the very core of who I am. It''s just not ok.
So where does this leave me? Smack in the middle of a kitchen surrounded by freshly made salsa, an additional 10 pounds of tomatoes and 20 pounds of pending dill pickles currently still masquerading as cucumbers. But wait - I have a heat source alternative to my range. I have a gas grill with a side burner! Gas rules, as we all know. I often bemoan the lack of natural or bottled gas. I advocated strongly for a gas range and clothes dryer for a while, but then Mr. Wonderful found out a.) how much it would cost and b.) how ugly the propane tanks are and I lost the war.
At 7:30 this morning I could be found on the deck, tongs in hand, water bubbling away, processing a total of 12 jars of salsa. Success to the intrepid canner. Eventual success. The first batch was not enjoyable as the wind picked up and I had to get creative with cookie sheets to slow air flow, and temperatures well below 60F, not to mention the damp morning air and the dew on every surface. But all's well that ends well in my little world. Pickles next...maybe tomorrow morning...

But meantime, knitting. I will assemble and finish the sweater shortly (literally, like now). It's Sugarloaf, for Webs, kid sizes up to a six I think if I remember right. The shawl is a present, but I can say this - Fiber Trends Baltic Sea Stole which I love and have already memorized, yarn is Sireno with 2 extra repeats cast on for gauge compensation. The aran looking thing is Everett silk from Webs, Rowan Classic Beach Driftwood totally altered gauge somehow, long story I still don't understand but now more fully respect the gauge imps lurking in my stash. I am down to two repeats of the cables with no dividing stitches which means the sleeves will have to be rewritten, which is no big but I wish it could be a no-brainer project. Which it could have been if I'd just plunked down the money for 23 balls of the Rowan stuff. But I just couldn't make myself do it. The Everett is a closeout for crying out loud. Can't say no to that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Coming Clean

I need to confess to an addiction. It's been taking over my life lately. I can't stop. I have no control. It's really very sad, and not like me at all.
It''s just this - I've been shopping at The Loopy Ewe. Yes. Paying retail for yarn. I know, I know. But it's not really hurting anyone, is it? How is buying yarn bad? It's GOOD! I am supporting small business. I am helping to keep small dyers and designers in yarn. First it was two Cookie A patterns. Totally justifiable. Just look at them and it's clear that they had to be purchased. Twisted Flower and Gothic Spire. Frankly I am amazed at my ability to keep it to two patterns. They arrived in record time, too, AND I got a refund on my shipping since it was just the two patterns. Then it was a little splurge on some Fleece Artist Seawool and Misty Mountain. That order was a little too pricey and I saw Mr. Wonderful flinch, so I switched to a new policy - one skein or pair at a time. My next order reflected my commitment. One single skein of Fleece Artist. But it just wasn't enough. I needed more. I ordered some Fiesta Boomerang, which came with an adorable blue stitch marker that I immediately stuck on a project. And when it came their was a sample of Apple Laine Apple Pie. And another stitch marker, prettier than before AND IT MATCHES THE YARN!! For-get-it. I am lost. Wool, mohair, silk and nylon?? Washable?? Unbelievably beautiful colorway? (Winter's Dawn). I am lost. I need help. Someone stop me. I am almost a Loopy Groupie. I am...I am...I am confessing here and now that I am powerless before Loopy. And I am loving every minute of it.
Like all good dope dealers, the Loopy Ewe gives you a little sniff of the new stuff to keep you coming back for more. Free gifts in your first five orders, $5.00 for every person who clicks through from the sidebar on your blog, $25 in free yarn once you've ordered $250 (like that won't take long) On the sixth order you become a Loopy Groupie, but by then you're so addicted you're beyond help. I assume at that point I'll need to either succumb to the addiction entirely, and heft my orders back up to the $50 - $60 range, OR stick with my once a month or week or day single skein yarn methadone program.
Yesterday Mr. Wonderful and I attended the last day of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen show in Sunapee NH. More about that tomorrow. No pics though. I saw numerous "no photos please" signs so left the camera in the bag for the most part to avoid ruffling feathers. Sad really. How can I promote people if I can't show their work? So there's a post in the experience but it's going to involve a lot of linkage and I don't have time today. But I saw some amazing amazing stuff. Really awesome.

Friday, August 10, 2007

International Sock (Near)Tragedy

Beware readers. THIS COULD BE YOU. What follows is a tale of near-tragedy, with a happy ending and a warning to all would be knitting travelers. (Or traveling knitters.)
This tale begins many months ago in a quaint little (snort) yarn shop in Western Massachusetts. A pair of school teachers – let's call them Liz and Rebecca – determined to undertake a mammoth task. They would paint Rebecca’s house and learn to knit socks all at the same time. Anyone who’s had the privilege to teach teachers of small children may know what I speak of when I refer to the. . err. . behavior of these two ladies. Both elementary school teachers, I found it very interesting that their behavior often resembled that of their students, and on more than one occasion it was necessary (for the good of the group) to threaten to separate them if they could not use their quite voices, please. It was a class to be remembered. I left every day in fits of giggles. It was as if they were channeling their charges, and I had two giddy 6-year-old girls on my hands. Both ended up with, as I recall, anklets when time ran thin and legs were not getting long enough fast enough. House painting and sock knitting may not be compatible activities after all. Although I think I’ve only seen Liz once or twice since that class ended – sad because I love her energy – Rebecca is an occasional Thursday night drop-in knitter. Most recently she came in a little flummoxed over Anouk. We sorted it right quick, and she went off with her usual big grin. This was the last time I saw her – a cheery “Goodbye, Melissa, thanks!!” and a big smile. Imagine my horror when I received this email, titled simply and a little desperately (really, you could feel the pain) ‘knitting help’:

I'm writing to you from Antigua, Guatemala with a knitting problem! My mother was reading out loud to me from your sock class directions. I was feeling really great about the sock and couldn't wait to get back to our hotel to carry on. However, imagine my disappointment when I discovered that I left your directions on the bus. We've searched and searched but to no avail.

This is a long shot and feel free to tell me to go jump in a you, by any chance, have your directions on your computer in an emailable form?

Hope you are well and that you don't find this request to terribly bizarre!
Rebecca ...of Rebecca and Liz sock class fame

(As if she needed to reminds me who Rebecca and Liz are? As if they have not become sock class legends, right next to Candace who made 28 pair between a class in October and Christmas??) My horror manifested itself in a fit of intense giggling and squeals of “Oh, noo!” that pushed me right off of my chair. Rebecca stranded in Guatemala, with no sock pattern. Could anything be worse? She had 12 days of knitting time ahead of her between projects (she’s there for a Habitat build), and NO PATTERN. I emailed her the instructions from Socks from Measurements as soon as I stopped giggling. Relieving knitters in distress is my life’s joy and labor. Long distance relief can be the most challenging, but in this case it was pretty straightforward. She needed the class pattern. I had that. I then received this note with more details, an update, and a warning to knitting travelers (or traveling knitters):

My mother and I were riding in a van type shuttle returning from a trip to Panajachel on Lago de Atitlan in Sololá, Guatemala when I convinced her to read the directions aloud so that I could turn the heel of the sock without falling out of my seat. The ride was quite bumpy as the road had lots of potholes and our shuttle driver was driving like a maniac around the switchback dense fog. I didn't think I could manage reading and knitting at the same time and my mom was glad to help out because it took her mind off of thinking about whether we were going to crash and die or not! Darkness was falling just as I got to the necessary 18 stitches and I put the sock away without thinking twice about where the pattern was. I guess we must have dropped it or managed to get it stuck in our seat because when we got back to our hotel later in the evening, it was no place to be found. You emailed the directions and set the world right again! I'll photograph the sock again tomorrow to show you the good progress I have made. I am going to be making another sock next week with worsted weight yarn as I will be doing a Habitat for Humanity building trip in Quetzaltenango. Maybe something interesting will happen with that one too!

Smart travelers like me always Xerox their passports and stash the copies in various places in their luggage in case of loss or theft. I guess this sock story speaks to the need to also Xerox or scan any needed knitting patterns in order to avoid disappointment due to loss, theft, or incompetence! And really smart knitter-travelers probably email their patterns to themselves before traveling so that they can go to an internet cafe and access the pattern when and if it is needed. Here is a case in point...two months ago I was on my way to Maine and the pattern I was using - Kate Gilbert Anouk Pinafore that you helped me with - flew out of the car window! Luckily, in that case, I was able to reprint the pattern from

The moral of this tale is clear – if you’re traveling in a part of the world where yarn and yarn shops are scarce, make copies of your patterns and stash them with the other valuables (passport, smassport. it's the knitting that matters) in your luggage. All’s well that ends well, but better safe then sorry. I can't wait now for Rebecca to return
and share the rest of her travel story with us at Drop-In on a Thursday night. I hope she brings the International Sock Indicent Socks along. I leave you with happy images of Rebecca and her safely in progress sock in Guatemala, enjoying what is probably nauseatingly tropical humidity that would leave me in my room, flat on my back, under a large fan. See how happy she is, smiling? Learn from her near-tragic tale. And never forget.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The New, Mod Look

***ok, just a giggle...for this one short hour? We're in the top 100 knitting books a It's entirely too cool! People I don't know are pre-ordering my wonderful little book. I am so excited!***

Isn't it spiffy? Website and blogs now bear the same banner...text is the same color from here to the gallery - although I may change that shortly. All of the changes I owe to the generosity and possible insanity of Persnickety Knitter, who stayed up until 3 in the morning doing all of this. Why? Well, I asked. She said because she knew it'd never get done if she did not do it herself. She's right. It's the same way I feel about sweeping the dog hair, or gathering glasses in the living room, or refilling the water bowl, or scrubbing the sink, the toilet, the floor. If I don't do it myself, no one else will.
I present, therefore, a list idea which I stole from her blog - although she took it to a higher level than I shall - she added this: [And I, in my ultimate analness, have made things bold and italic if I have tried the technique (like in a swatch or a UFO) but not finished an item with it yet.]

Mark with bold the things you have ever knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn (handspun even)
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL (slacker style)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn (ok, this needs to happen SOON)
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit (taught a bunch to spin, too)
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn (my first designed sweater out of Girl's handspun.)
Knitting with dpns
Holiday-related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit (I have the perfect one in mind.)
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously (Well, 2 on one circ)
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting (I did not like this at all.)
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair (handspun dirty malamute.)
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Wow. It appears that if I have not done it, I am willing to try it. Shocking, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reviews - Gotta Love Free Books...Or Do You?

Somehow I manage to occasionally get review copies of new books. This is probably one of the coolest things ever, since I am incredibly budget-minded (or at least kept that way by a husband who watches pennies like they're toddlers at the edge of the pool) and adore books in the extreme. I subscribe to Thumper's mom's theory on this topic - "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all". Today it's all nice.
I received two books from Potter Craft yesterday. Annie Modesitt's Romantic Hand Knits and The Yarn Girls Guide to Knits for All Seasons co-authored by Julie Carles and Jordana Jacobs.
This is, I am a little shamed to say, the first Yarn Girls book I've ever had my hands on. One of the first things I noted about this book was the presence of a clear glossary of standard abbreviations right smack in the beginning. No searching through back pages - it's all right where you can find it. The book then progresses through the seasons beginning in Spring, then heading through Summer and into Fall and finally Winter. These are good basics, most with a little twist that pushes them a beyond the envelope of 'average' but still would not intimidate an advanced beginner. There were a few things that caught my eye right off the top - Nancy's Knit is a simple boat neck pullover with a diagonal rib pattern that appears to be quite flattering. A Work in Progress reminds me of a very beloved sleeveless hoodie from my youth. The Nonconformist saddle shoulder men's pullover uses color to give a little punch to a classic style. There are skirts and some accessories (bags, headband, fingerless gloves, belts) which give versatility to the book. The Winter section is almost entirely bulky or super bulky yarns, and since I am not a fan the patterns don't catch my attention as much as they might otherwise. In general I find it to be well written with clear schematics and understandable terms. The Finishing Techniques section in the back is very well done with clear, large illustrations that don't force a squint. I would consider this a good value for an advanced beginner looking to cover a lot of bases with one purchase.
"Could it be that romance is integral to a well-rounded life? Is it possible that it isn't about being beautiful, or thin, or young, or rich - or even about love or sex? Romance, it finally dawned on me, is about dreams. It's an idealized vision of something and our attempts to attain it. Romance is wish-fulfillment...romance is hope..."
In spite of the reasons I have to be biased about this book, I don't need to be. Because I am not a novice knitter, I tend to buy project books rarely, and then only if something really stands out as being a must-have. Often it's purely eye-candy appeal. Romantic Hand Knits delivers enough eye-candy for me to own it. Although many of the garments are not suited to my personal style, there is something for everyone, and a few things I need to knit. The cover sucks you in with that lovely butt front and center - the flirty ingenue that lives in each of us. This is an ass we can all envy, unless you've already got one, in which case ... just don't tell me. If you have a good butt, please knit this. Like Everest - because you can. Do it for those of us who dream. We begin our journey through romance Above the Waist with a series of blouses, tanks, and tops. Saratoga is an easy ribbed tank in a flattering, body-skimming rib. Ninotchka, a youthful flirty spaghetti strap bodice. Dark Victory is a fitted pullover that takes "classic" right to "sexy". Below the waist we dive right in with An Affair to Remember. The rib, the cables, the godets all serve to flatter what is an already pleasing figure. It's like naughty thoughts - I want to knit this, but know I shouldn't. West Side Story - the kicky little ruffles land, for me, somewhere between cowgirl (in the best sense) and Anita, and I wish to golly I were 20. No, wait. 18. I was pregnant when I was 20. Accessories complete the package. I need Silk Stockings. I have no clue when I will wear them, and I really don't care. I just need them. We've got June Bride, a sweet fingerless mitt. Before the hats there is a section on millinery. For those who own Annie's Knitting Millinery, this will be a review of the basics. High Society is an adorable lacy little cloche with a narrow flattering brim. Gone with the Wind is a more classic wide-brimmed hat in black and white. The patterns are readable,with great schematics. I appreciate that each garment has a minimum of two photos - one detail, one full shot.There is enough in this book to make it worth having in the library. It's unafraid, embraces the feminine, and is sexy in a classy way which contrasts dramatically with some of the rather cheesy, stupid, slutty 'sexy'-knitting books I've seen of late. Did I mention that I also wish I were 5'8", 120 lbs, and possessed of a lovely butt? But seriously, I will knit more than one garment from this book. I think I am gonna start with that skirt, and some hope.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What a Week...

and it's only Wednesday.
No pics - there's nothing to show unless you're a vet and into dog vomit and poo. But it's been a wild, wild few days.
The grumpy old lady cat had been declining for a long time and late last week we'd decided to make The Big Choice. While we were in debate, the dog got sick - this is not uncommon - he tends to eat non-food items and then become ill for a few days. Meanwhile, the cat was getting worse. So I was dividing my time between dog poo and cat pee from Thursday evening on. No biggie - it's part and parcel of the pet thing, and we were on the fence about the cat at that point so cleaning up after her, while frustrating, was not horrible. Until it got to be 2-3 times a day. And on the second floor, and spilling over onto the first floor. Onto furniture. And my kitchen floor. And bucket-loads. All while the dog stood by regularly asking to go out so he could poo amazing and uncomfortable looking things, and I threw Kaopectate at him by the bucketload. Friday night I began to get restless. By Saturday the smell of bleach was embedded in my nostrils. By Sunday afternoon I was on the edge of sanity. Monday was not a pleasant day. Monday afternoon had me twitching.
By Monday evening we'd decided that 18 people-years old and diabetic and kidney failure is not compatible with humane existance for a cat, and the right decision would be to assist her to a comfortable end. Before I could make The Call, the dog - who'd been looking much improved - decided that we were paying entirely too much attention to the cat. So late Monday night he developed all the symptoms of bloat. Anyone out there with a big dog has probably heard of this malady. It's not pretty, and it's fast and it's dangerous - gastric tortion is the second leading killer of dogs in general. Owen is a great candidate for it because he wolfs his food and is a deep-chested breed, and tends to be a bit fearful and stressed out in general. We've worried about it on and off forever. So when he started throwing up and whining and pacing and whining more and panting excessively, well, I assumed I'd be having a double funeral. We raced to the local vet emergency clinic at 10pm - and by the way, I now love these people beyond measure. We left Tuesday at about 12:05am, with one non-bloated attention-seeker with neatly trimmed nails - thank you nice techs!! - and a credit card slip. We came home to more cat puddles. By 1:30am we were finally in bed, and at 2am I heard...chickens. Loud, loud chickens. Screaming, freaking, blood-curdling "I AM DYING!!!" chickens. I grabbed the first garment I could, chucked on the first footwear I found, and grabbed Mr. Wonderful's trusty flashlight.
So here's the image - it's 2am. There's a big, bright full moon (so really, this all makes sense), and I am heading toward the chicken house at top speed in a non-existant fifteen year old cotton nightie that barely clears bits I'd rather were kept under cover, heavy winter boots, brandishing a flashlight and yelling at the top of my lungs "YOU BETTER BE GONE BY THE TIME I GET UP THERE YOU (explitive deleted to protect the innocent)" I hear rustling and point the flashlight in the direction of the sound. There escaping under the aviary netting of my hen yard is a ring-tailed (another explitive deleted...). RACCOON. IN MY HEN YARD! And IN the hen HOUSE. Miserable stinking animal. Last week it was a coyote, bold as brass, standing in the yarn calmly munching a hen he'd just bagged, in broad daylight. Now it's sneaky theifs in the night, miserable ring-tailed monster with dastardly agile hands. The chickens were all well, and those he'd managed to chase out of the house were returned to safety - none deceased. One was missing about every feather she ever had. The rooster was afraid of his own shadow, and one little bantam hen, who's about 8 years old, just sat and stared straight ahead and twitched from time to time. The door was blocked with concrete blocks and I returned to bed.
After 4 hours of sleep, I got up, made Mr. Wonderful's lunch, called the vet, and took the cat for her last ride.

I could really use a nap. And some knitting. I am done the heck in!

But - fun news! - Girl won tickets for Mr Wonderful to see Toby Keith in Connecticut, and feeling flush from the joy of winning, Mr. Wonderful decided to take me to see Brad Paisley in Maine. And Girl's grades came. Her GPA for last semester is...well, maybe she'd be upset if I said the actual. But I have to say something, I am a MOTHER. Her GPA is..."above average". threeVERYpointCOOLsevenfour. So things are looking up around here, as long as you're not a cat over the age of 17, a dog who eats too fast, or covered in feathers.