July 30, 2008

I Now Know How the Persian Felt

Over the five years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve had the pleasure of posting many photographs but few have given me as much pleasure posting as this one (taken by LindaK and originally posted on Janine’s site from whence I hoisted it, with permission).

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This is me, at Ferals, hugging all 44 squares that have been submitted for the ULOA (Unauthorized Leave of Absence) Blanket. For the record, I was hugging the squares and resting my chin cozily on them well before the picture was taken. It’s possible a little bit of mugging is going on for the camera, but everything else about this picture is candid; this is exactly how I was sitting and exactly what I was doing before LindaK got jiggy with her camera phone. If you submitted one of the squares, this picture is for you, and I heart you all. (And this is why I’m glad I know about the blanket now, so I can enjoy the squares as they come in.)

A little bit about the squares. Simply put, they're not just, you know, squares—personality-challenged blocks of garter stitch. They are of every color and of every possible stitch under the rainbow. They are variegated, self-striping, solid, even a brown one deliberately provided by The Twins to offset all the other colors they knew would be used. One has a dragonfly on it, one has a heart, one has my name, one has been embroidered with flowers and ladybugs. Some have cables, one is entrelac, some are moss stitch, some slipped stitch. Every single one is bursting with personality. I love them all. (Incidentally, Janine says she is still accepting squares so, if you want to jump on the ULOA bandwagon, you can email her for details.)

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Obligatory cat story, since I behaved myself on Monday: We all already know about Benny jumping off the ceiling, yes? Well, this weekend, I went up to my loft for an innocent grub-around in my stash, and found Joon hanging (deliberately, not in the accidentally garroted sense) by all 18 claws way up at the tippy top of the tapestry that serves as my headboard. (Remember those Velcro walls that were a fad for a while that people splatted themselves onto while wearing a suit made out of the other half of the Velcro? That’s what she looked like: wide, splayed and very affixed.*) When she was done having a casual look around, and when she was good and ready, she jumped off again.

They are lovely, sweet cats but, oh, they are insane and fearless. It doesn’t help that Benny likes to jump onto the loft half-wall. On one side of the wall, it’s a three-foot drop; on the other, a 20-foot drop, and I don’t think he’s smart enough to figure this out. Unless he’s as smart as my washing machine, in which case he is an advanced life form, and I am completely outnumbered.

Which reminds me of a story. A boss of mine a loooooong time ago had a two-story townhome with very steep stairs leading to a big landing. A half-wall similar to mine (three feet on one side, 20+ feet on the other) divided the landing from the stairs. She also had a cat—an obnoxious, fluffy, white, spoiled Persian, which makes this all the funnier—who liked to jump up on the half-wall from the landing. Apparently, he miscalculated one day, which is why, on the high, non-foyer side of the wall, you could see a long trail of deep, panicked claw marks running down the wall. (Cat was fine.)

Speaking of which, does anyone local know a really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, good professional cat sitter? I got the cats and then, wouldn’t you know it, a buttload of lovely trips came up—that, without sounding horrendously self-indulgent, are a legitimate and important part of my regaining my mental health—and I’m in need of someone who can cat-sit regularly. Please email me if you know of someone!

*Cute Velcro-wall video, which should give you some idea, only she was facing the other way

Posted by Ryan at 10:30 AM | Comments (11)

July 28, 2008

Ow.

At the end of its rather violent spin cycle, my new-ish washer does this odd—but apparently normal for a hi-tech appliance—thing where it gently cycles the clothes around, once every few seconds, as if fluffing them. Last night, being impatient, I didn’t want to wait for the “fluffing” to finish and wondered how important the “fluffing” actually was and what the “fluffing” actually did and whether it was safe to just open the door and stick my hand in while the “fluffing” was going on. Then I realized that I didn’t know the answer to any of these questions…but the washer did. And it was then that I realized that the washer was smarter than I was.

Now what are my personal ads going to say? “Moderately attractive and very available, but recently lost a battle of the wits with a household appliance?”

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Went on my first official OutVentures outing on Saturday, a hike. I discovered that this is where and when the working out pays off! It was a long-ish hike which included a hellacious walk up a steep and long flight of stairs, and at no point did I get winded. It was quite remarkable.

(An aside: While I was writing the last paragraph, I had two phrases in my mind, “break a sweat” or “get winded,” which my mind was all too happy to scramble into “break wind.” Fortunately, I caught it before I clicked “post.”)

I dasn't post any pictures of the women on the hike, not wanting to "out" them 'n' all, but I can share a picture of our hiking companion, Ginger, who happily rode this way the whole way. You can't see it but Ginger was representin' with a rainbow collar.

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And yesterday, much to my surprise and total delight—with a modicum of anxiety thrown in since it'd been a while—I found myself on horseback, thanks to the two very patient and accomodating OutVentures buddies I met at the dinner and one very patient and accommodating horse. Am I sore? You betcha. Apparently I now have a very bony butt. And today, I can't seem to keep my legs closed. (No comments from the Peanut Gallery.)

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I started what I thought was going to be a Honora or Paloma on Friday night. Despite my promises, however, it’s turning out be anything but a Honora or Paloma. The good news is, I already know who else it is.

Ann of Mason Dixon recently posted story about and a picture of Elmira, the African American quilter who made Ann a quilt, and since then the African American crafting and knitting community and traditions have been on my mind. Thus, it was no surprise to me that, when I went to pick out a yarn for the body, this beautiful color fairly leapt into my hands, and I ended up making an Elmira:

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Doesn’t look like much of a doll yet, but it’ll all work itself out. The head will be added at the hole; the wide piece at the top will be folded lengthwise and seamed into arms; the middle will be folded to the back and seamed to make the torso; and the divided sections will be folded to the back and seamed to make the legs. Then the fun starts: Knitting the dress and adding the hair. I’m thinking a beautiful, short salt-and-pepper for the coiffure, and following in the footsteps of Tori, the "mother" of "Maisie," self-striping yarn for the dress. God knows I have enough tiny, useless balls of half-used self-striping yarn lying around.

This project was a hoot and a half, and it only took maybe 1.5 hours to get this much done. Well worth the minimal cost to get a used copy of the book.

(Do I get credit for getting to the end of the entry without mentioning the cats once?)

Posted by Ryan at 11:03 PM | Comments (14)

July 23, 2008

Minimal Cat Talk. It's Safe To Come In.

(Sunday: Closed comments due to spam. Will post again soon!)

First and foremost, a smack on the forehead to me and a thank you to all the brilliant readers out there who said, “You dork. Just remove the hair trap when you get out of the shower!” So simple a solution, and yet so elusive for me. I’ll blame it on the depression. (Hey, this depression thing could come in handy!)

Since I had to retrieve the hair trap four times this morning during the mere fifteen minutes it took me to get ready for work, it is now temporarily elsewhere, out of reach of the bad, bad kitties.

(Only other cat note of the day, for those of you who are sick of reading about B & J: Although no serious harm was done to cat or human, I have learned that you can’t see black cats in the dark. Oh, and, so far, Benny has remained off the kitchen ceiling.)

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As if the Blanket Squares of Universal Love and Support (all of which I got to hug in a big pile on Monday so I can tell you personally the current count is 44 and they are all gawjus) weren’t enough, unbeknownst to me (well, beknownst now, since I’ve had this for a few weeks) while I was at the funny farm, the Ferals were working on this gift for me, each person knitting a few inches of it:

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Although the color of the photo is pretty spot-on, it doesn’t do the look and feel of the wrap justice. The unique dark- and light-teal variegation and subtle thick-and-thin of the yarn make it look as if it were knit out of sunlit tropical sea water. And talk about soft and warm! Fuggedaboudit! And it’s long, so you can grab the ends, wrap them around yourself, and snuggle in. Janine, who participated in making it and bestowed it upon me while I was staying with her, will tell you that I didn’t take it off for hours, and even wore it to the in-patient hospital session the next day. The weather’s a mite warm these days to do much snuggling in it, but I think we will become inseparable come fall and winter.

Thank you, Evelyn, who, as I understand it, spearheaded this, and all the Ferals, for this remarkable, unexpected and comforting gift, and the sweet card!

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toridoll.jpgDespite the one vote from my sister for my second choice, "Honora"—to which I gave a lot of weight and thought—the winner is "Maisie". It just fits.

The pattern for Maisie comes from the book “Compassionate Knitting,” a copy of which now resides on my bookshelf (purchased through Alibris, with more paid for S&H than for the actual book; go figure). To be honest, unless I had seen a finished doll in the flesh—or in the stitch, as it were—I wouldn't have been tempted to knit one because the photos in the book are small and vague and all about twee angels and fairies and I’m not into the twee. But Maisie just cries out for a companion (no, not that kind), so maybe there'll be a Honora or a Paloma after all!

The interesting thing about the doll pattern is that it’s knit flat and shaped. The arms and legs are then rolled into tubes and seamed on the bottom and inside, respectively, and the body is rolled into a tube and seamed at the back. The head is knit by picking up stitches around a hole worked into the body. Heck, even I could do that!

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Lastly, a picture sent to me by Big Sister of my nephew and the family dawg, Tanner, watching TV. I love this.

While Nephew's look of rapt attention is genuine, and Nephew most likely will stay put, don't be fooled by Tanner. He's on the lookout for anything vaguely animal-shaped that appears on the screen, at which point he will leap up and try to bite it, the net result being the loud clank of dog teeth against the glass and an unsightly trail of dog slobber. Needless to say, Big Sister and Brother-in-Law try to discourage this.

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Posted by Ryan at 02:43 PM | Comments (10)

July 21, 2008

Nothing Much Here For Dog Lovers

Things have improved on the Benny-the-Biter front. Not so much biting happening, mostly because my solution has been to skritch him more, not less, but I have discovered that he’s just a toothy kind of fellow. Even when he rubs against your leg or arm, purring his fool head off, at about pass #4, you feel some hard enamel being introduced into the picture, a definite side-of-tooth scrape, like the first swim-by of the "Jaws" shark, in miniature. This I can live with.

Saturday I figured they’d settled in enough to introduce catnip into the picture (I waited for a while because I thought it might be counterproductive to have Benny on Valium and catnip, the cat equivalent of uppers and downers. Besides, I didn’t want to impede his ability to operate heavy machinery). They completely blew it off:

“Oh, look. What did Mommy bring home?”

“Looks like a tiny, fake burlap bag of flour.”

“Smells like it has something in it, something leafy.”

"Edible?"

"Nuh-uh."

"Huh.Let’s run up the Spiral Staircase of Kitty Joy and see if the crows are sitting in the tree again.”

“Okay, let’s.”

Oy. It’s a good thing I’m not trying to make a living pushing recreational drugs.

(Update: Sunday I learned Bennie doesn’t need catnip. He ran into the kitchen all coy and skittish and playful, so I shuffled after him, egging him on. He freaked at the shuffling, jumped on the stove, shot straight up again, pushed off the kitchen ceiling and landed on the floor. The ceiling, people. I kid you not. I stood there stunned, thinking, pretty much, "Holy crap.")

The children have also discovered that they can remove the hair trap from the shower (which, by the way, I have trouble removing) and hide it wherever the hell they please. Since I have old, wonky plumbing (no, not me personally, the house. You hush.), having the hair trap is very important, so showers now take twice as long as they used to: 15 minutes spent finding the hair trap, 15 minutes taking a shower.

And in answer to those folks who either (a) wondered, but in a nice way, why I got two cats when I can barely take care of myself right now, and one cat would’ve done just fine, thank you very much or (b) are now themselves considering getting two cats instead of just one, I present the following:

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Emotionally, had a huge crash this weekend, one of those crashes your psychiatrist, various mental health advisors, and therapists warn you about. Very deep, very dark, very awful, and there was lot of what Oprah would call The Ugly Cry. For hours. Until my eyes felt small and dry and squinchy. And, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t make it to work. But I was rescued by my ever-vigilant guardian angels: Big Sister, Elaine and Leslie, and three people from work who called to make sure I was okay (in a good way, not in the “you're fired” way. Phew.)

By the by, I include this information about my personal drawma in the blog mostly for the folks who are going through/have gone through the same thing I am because this is all new for me and is different every day. I’ve had a lot of powerful and interesting dialogs with some of the blog readers and just want to be as open as I can about what I’m going through in case it can help anyone. Things are better; even on my darkest days, I don’t want to take an Unauthorized Leave of Absence, which is a step up, but still...

And, if I’m going to be completely honest about this, I will also confess that alcohol has been tempting me lately, just to make the pain and the depression go away for a few minutes, which is a very dangerous thing indeed, given my family history. Fortunately, I’m managing to ignore the call, and I don’t have any alcohol in the house anyway, so the threat is under control. However, it is very strange and very disturbing to be having these thoughts.

This is all so tiring.

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Later this week, a picture of a beautiful "good-thoughts wrap" knit for me by my other guardian angels, the Ferals. I am a very lucky girl.

Posted by Ryan at 11:05 AM | Comments (27)

July 15, 2008

Of Nudity, Oil, Cornhusk Dolls, and, As Always, Knitting

Feeling very sad this week—not depressed, which is deeper and blacker and more nightmarish—but have just a general case of the weepy blues. I can’t quite tell which is worse. One feels worse but you can blame it on brain chemistry, and one is not as bad but is just a particularly painful and wearing ol’ human emotion that no Preciouses can fix. I’ve headed back to the gym to try to break through this but it’s sort of a vicious circle where you don’t feel “up” enough to go to the gym but you need to go to the gym to help yourself feel “up.” Let me just say, this sucks. All of it.

For the record, since this is a knitting blog, but I seem to have focused on mood swings and kittehs more lately, I am knitting. I’ve started my first “real” (meaning one that I think I will actually finish) grown-up garment, a seed-stitch bomber jacket effort in a heathered-brown Debbie Bliss 100% wool, held double. (I have noticed that the depression and lack of ability to concentrate has given me a severe case of startitis—something I’ve never had in all my years as a knitter—but I say, eff it. The depression has also made me a lot less ladylike.)

I present an uninspiring brown square, the back of the jacket:

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Still on the knitting front, my new family keeps growing. Here is another addition, which was knitted and given to me by Janine’s sister Tori:

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Love the outrageous sheep-fleece hair, love the fact that she doesn’t have a face, love the dress. The challenge now is giving her a name, something old-fashioned, something reminiscent of a cornhusk doll. I’ve come up with:

Maisie
Celeste
Piper
Honora (my Irish great-grandmother’s name)

And, for some reason, something not American at all, and something I'm sure no cornhusk doll was ever called: Paloma.

I’m leaning towards Maisie. What do you think?

On the kitteh front, unexpectedly, Benny has turned out to be a bit of a biter. He's very loving, follows me everywhere, is the first to get on the bed with me at night, and will lie draped in my arms and on my chest for hours, languidly relaxed and purring, but he’s also taken a nasty fanged swipe or two, and made painful contact last night. Not that it matters; he’s m’boy.

The cats have also discovered that the alarm clock signals kitteh breakfast. The instant the alarm clock goes off, Joon jams her nose on mine. The instant. Hitting the snooze button is unpleasant when you have to do it through a cloud of day-old, snot-imbued fish breath.

I have also noticed, ever since I got the cats, that, when I come home in the afternoon, the occasional ball of yarn is not where I left it in the morning. Do you think there could be a connection?

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Spent Saturday with Elaine, Leslie and the lovely yet infamous Rabbitch. We had a nummy breakfast at a local Greek-although-not-really-since-I-don’t-think-the-Greeks-invented-Western-omelets restaurant, swung by Gasworks Park to watch a parade of naked bicyclists protest oil dependence*, and then headed to Weaving Works, where yet more slips of green paper were traded for yet more yarn.

Then the dinner with the women of OutVentures. I was nervous at first because I thought they’d be all, you know, cool, athletic, and snooty but they were great. Especially the hottie seated waaaaay at the other end of the table, whom I am artificially imbuing with greatness because I was never actually able to talk to her or catch her eye. Damn. There were 20 of us there and I happened to be seated next to a couple, one of whom owns a quarter horse, and we’re trying to make arrangements for me to ride it on a regular basis. This is very kewl since getting back in the saddle, literally, was one of the top goals I set when I was in the loony bin.

The biggest challenge of the night was remembering that, as far as I knew, no one there was a knitter. Very hard to do. If you could have seen inside my brain, you would have seen one half taken up with chatting and flirting, and the other half with saying, “Not knitters. Not knitters. Not knitters. Not knitters.”

*Or, as I called it, “oily pendants.” I will leave it up to you to decide what I meant. That, and I couldn’t quite figure out what nudity and dependence on oil had to do with one another but, fortunately, I had left my logical brain in my other pants that morning, so I let it go.

Posted by Ryan at 10:25 AM | Comments (24)

July 11, 2008

Friday Kwikkie

I am insufferably pleased with myself. I was asked out on a date. Yay!

By a man. Boo!

(That I met in line at the pharmacy while picking up more Preciouses. Which just goes to show, you never know.)

Who then immediately proceeded to remind me why I’m on not so big on the mens, by, despite the fact that I declined the invitation, pawing at me every way possible within the bounds of human decency: Touch the shoulder, touch the arm, take the hand, pat, pat, caress, stare longingly into the eyes, scootch in as close as possible, grab, grab, grab. Blech.

And then gave me his phone number and said if I did call not to worry if a woman answered the phone because it would be his ex-wife who was living with him because she had no home and no money and had nowhere else to go. The whole thing was a tad Jerry Springer-ish.

To his credit, though, he was clever enough to start the pick-up process by asking me about my knitting, and saying he bet I was really good at it (suck up, suck up, suck up), and I could probably knit just about anything (including socks—ten points to him for even knowing that. More suck up, suck up, suck up.), and how much he loved those “little blankets you could keep on the back of your chair and pull over yourself when you got cold.” Note to the men out there: Take a cue from this guy. This move works very well. I probably talked to him a lot more than I woulda if he hadn’t zeroed in on the whole sticks and string thing. It didn’t hurt that he was quite easy on the eyes, but there was still that whole Y-chromosome thing. Sorry, dude.

Cat update: Elaine and Leslie have a wonderful multi-story (by cat standards), carpeted, Jungle-Jim thingy for their two cats that Pyewacket loves to dangle dare-devilishly from with one claw, and I started thinking Benny and Joon needed one so they could live in a tree-barren yet still three-dimensional world. Then they discovered the spiral staircase. Problem solved. Commence the thunder of not-so-velvet paws, up, down, up down, up, down, up, down, peek coyly at Mommy through stairs, up, down, up, down, up, down, up, down, peek coyly at Mommy through the stairs, try to rake her skull with pointy claws when she comes over to see what you're doing, up, down, up down, up, down, up, down, take a nap on the upstairs bed, up, down, up down, up, down, up, down, demand dinner.

The double-decker cat-loves continues. Last night, Joon climbed on my lap, fell asleep, and ended up lying on her back, head dangling, all four paws stretched out. Which is when Benny climbed on her stomach, lay down, and fell asleep, all four paws stretched out. Kitty sandwich!!

Posted by Ryan at 10:37 AM | Comments (16)

July 09, 2008

Cat-ching Up

Apropos of nothing, things have been a little weird here at work. Last week one of our employees won the million-dollar state lottery, and, quite unrelated but still odd, for the last two or three days all of our phone calls have been inexplicably routed to the company across the street. Time to check for a full moon.

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kitten-in-shoe.gifAfter a long struggle involving four visits to the vet in six days; one overnight stay (for him, not me); some force feeding with, in the end, cat-food goo splattered all over the examination room floor, the examination table, the wall, and the vet’s coat; some Valium (again, for him, not me, which is good because I don’t think my body could handle any additions to my Preciouses); and lots of baksheesh, Benny is now eating like a champ, after not having eaten anything, except what was force fed, for eight days. In fact, this morning he raced into the bedroom yelling, “FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED ME, YA’ LAZY-ASS BIYATCH!!!” and he attacked the soon-proffered plate of food so hard it clanked against the floor. Let the bonding begin.

We also, somewhere along the way, had a massive fight, which he won by giving me six or seven deep puncture wounds in my palm. Having had cat-scratch fever once in the past, I prefer not to repeat the experience, hence a hypochondriacal application of antibiotic and Band-Aids. Note to self: Benny doesn’t like the sound of the hair dryer.

Other new-cat notes:

I never knew cat poo could be so thrilling. Because the cats haven’t been eating, there has a been a noticeable lack of kitty “tootsie rolls” in the litter box. However, yesterday, Joon sauntered in and made a lovely deposit and I was all, “Yay! Cat poo!” and then I was all clap, clap, clap with the hands, and then I was all patting the cat and telling her what a good kittywittywitty she was, and then I was all, “I am seriously pathetic.”

As much as I’d like to think I’ve lost inches in my chestal region, I knew I hadn’t lost quite as much as I thought when I found myself watching TV with one cat asleep on each boob. Along similar lines, last night Joon decided she wanted to sleep on my lap so she climbed into my lap, curled up, and nodded off. Enter Benny, who climbs up onto Joon, curls up, and nods off. Double-decker lap-cats!

I thought the reason Joon walked incessantly on my laptop keyboard was because I was at the computer and she wanted to get my attention. Until I was nowhere near the computer—I was on the phone, quite some feet away, in fact—turned around, and she was sitting squarely on the keyboard all by her lonesome. (There was an email open at the time she did this. When I went back to the email, the first part of it looked like this: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee.)

Upon taking a closer look at Benny’s half-white nose, I realized it looks less like a drunken attempt at shaving and more like he laughed until milk dribbled out of his nose, which is kind of ironic because, well, you know, cats, milk, all that good stuff.

The commenters who wrote about my needing a "cat fountain" are most likely right but, in a cost-saving measure, I've discovered that it's equally effective to fill the bathroom sink up half-way and twiddle my fingers in it to make a splash-y, fountain-y, yet free, water sound. I am instantly surrounded by cats competing to climb in the sink.

By the way, loved all the comments. Thanks to everyone, with an extra shout-out to Brian, Kristen's SO, for chiming in!

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Mental-health-wise, the darkness is still lurking one millimeter under a veneer of “doing better,” and, unusually for me, I’ve found myself doing a lot of “retail therapy.” Bought lots of yarn at Black Sheep, bought lots of yarn at Weaving Works the week before, bought lots of yarn at Acorn Street just this Saturday, bought the Mason-Dixon book and a bright yellow tea-pot (to replace another one which, um, “accidentally” got broken. Hell hath no fury, blahblahblah.) at Village Yarn & Tea on, it must be confessed, the same Saturday. Other than that, my life has become remarkably busy. Joined this group as soon as I got out of the hospital, and am going to a women-only social on Saturday, and horseback-riding and white-water rafting in Eastern Washington later on. Went to a martini party last week and didn’t get home until 2, 3 in the aye em, and Happy Hour last night. Hey, there may be something to this singles life after all!

Photos will resume once I find the #$%^!@!# battery-charger cord for my camera.

Posted by Ryan at 10:12 AM | Comments (23)

July 03, 2008

I Was Actually in the Hospital to Give Birth

Happy 4th, Dear Readers!

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As promised, pictures of my new family. It is my pleasure to introduce Benny:

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And Joon:

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Despite appearances, these are indeed two different kitties but sometimes the only way even I can tell them apart, besides the obvious blue and yellow collars, is Joon has a full white mustache and Benny only has a half-mustache, as if he tried to shave while drunk. (Look at the two photos of Benny: First photo, left side of mouth all black; second photo, right side of mouth white. Definitely had had a snootful.)

Vital stats: Shelter kitties, brother and sister, 1+ year old, surrendered to the shelter because their owners started hosting foreign-exchange students and had one too many come through with cat allergies.

At the shelter, I was first interested in an exotically colored, blue-eyed half-Siamese named Tonga, who proceeded to bite the crap out of me. Three times. Followed by wild-eyed slashing with the claws. Uh, no. Back to the cage with her. Then I turned my attention to the uber-friendly and charismatic black and white half-Persian Joe, but I really had my heart set on getting two cats that needed to be adopted together, and so was steered toward Benny and Joon. (Those are the names they came to the shelter with, and they fit, and slide easily off the tongue, and make people smile, so Benny and Joon it is. And I may be gay, but even I wouldn’t turn down a chance to live with Johnny Depp. And here is where I confess I've never even seen the movie. I just know Johnny Depp is in it and wanted to sound as if I knew what I was talking about. But I don't.)

The nauseatingly cute things new parents want you to know about their children:

Joon only likes to drink out of a trickling faucet, which is a problem since, given the configuration of my sink, when she sticks her head under the faucet, the water pours directly into her ear.

She’s very outgoing and curious and especially likes to walk on my keyboard, much like Elaine and Leslie’s new kitten who walked over my keyboard and managed to send an email. (Damn. Joon just skittered over the keyboard and turned on the demo—you know, that annoying sales video that loops over and over again on-screen at the store, and which you can’t figure out how to stop to get to the good stuff? Well, not being able to stop it and not being able to get to the good stuff also seems to apply at home.

Drat. She also somehow reconfigured the two mouse buttons so they both behave like right mouse buttons. Urgh.)

She is also a head-butt-er. One head-butt and I was gone. Love the head-butts. She even likes you to head-butt her. When she’s lying in your lap, she’ll stretch her head and neck up and wait until you clonk her forehead with yours, then she’s good.

And this is what will make me the envy of all knitters out there: Joon eats moths.

Not much to say about Benny, mostly because he has spent most of his new, non-shelter life in the kitty hospital. Am having trouble bonding with him because, well, juuuuust in case. On the positive side, it’s forcing me to think about something else besides me, me, me, the darkness, and my Preciouses. He’s still in the hospital as we speak, and even the vet techs can’t get him to eat, so I’m happy to know I haven’t been overreacting, hauling his furry kitty ass to the vet every time he looked at me sideways.

(They’ve both had bad colds since I brought them home. I’ve never worn so much cat snot on me in my life. You learn, after twenty bull’s-eye sneezes on your hands, on your face, in your hair, not to be so puritanical about such things. Begging, “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.” doesn’t work either, although I have discovered they make a slight “I just sucked on a lemon” face before they sneeze, so I’m getting better at dodging the deluges.)

Now a plug for the PAWS cat shelter, Cat City, on Greenwood. They only have cats, and only a few at a time, which is great since your heart isn’t broken quite so much by the thought of the cats you have to leave behind. The volunteers also seem to care as much about the new owners as they do about the cats. A very good experience! The cats were spendy to adopt, but they give you so many coupons, including ones covering the office-visit part of your “well-cat” visit to a vet, that it balances out. (When I went to the vet the first time, they checked their microchips. I’ve never had cats that beeped before!)

dottedstar.JPGThank you so much to everyone who “friended” me on Ravelry and sent me such lovely emails of support. And, yes, the answer to the question about my Ravelry name is “New Me” and the winner is Diann! Here's your star!

P.S. The report on the Cotton Club washcloths is actually very good. My employee reports that they sold 33 of them! That is just fabulous.

So, what do we knit for next year?

Posted by Ryan at 11:56 AM | Comments (43)

July 01, 2008

What My Entries Lack in Frequency, They Make Up For in Length

(Picture-heavy post, Dear Readers!)

Knitting-wise, I suppose the biggest news is that I’ve been…must I admit this?...Ravelrized. The only reason this even comes close to being “news” is because I avoided joining fer, like, ferever, dodging the terrifying, knitting-community-consuming tsunami that was Ravelry. I was sure the folks behind Ravelry planned to, at the very least, invade our bodies and turn us all into pod people, given all the apparently millions of things you could do with their application. But the mass community hysteria finally simmered down to a dull roar (and the wait-time for an invitation became less than 24 hours; I’m no fool) and the few, at least in my book, really useful things about Ravelry floated to the top. I haven’t done much with it, but I’ve joined a few groups and have “friended” a few people, and vice versa, and now I just visit it…because it’s what you do. If you want to find me, my Ravelry name is “Noomie.” A big gold star to the first person to figure out what that name means.

As promised, here are some photos of the Cotton Club, taken by my employee (I didn’t participate in the walk since I was still bouncing around in my rubber room (yes, I do exaggerate a wee. There was no rubber. Just a lot of really, really, really odd people.))

Here, just because this is the point, after all, the luminarias which lined the track and which displayed the names of people who had passed away, currently have cancer or who are survivors:

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And, here, the pile of all the cloths and all the soaps bundled together, before the walk. How beautiful is this rainbow of colors?! Look what you did! I’m glad we didn’t place any restrictions on colors; this joyful profusion is exactly what I had in mind.

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The cloths at the walk. The paper on the right is a note written by my employee explaining how the cloths came to be, and all about the hard work put in by knitters around the country (and Canada, and India!!), meaning all a’ y’all.

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Here, a picture illustrating what worked against the Cotton Club that day: the weather. As you can see, everyone is huddled around a propane heater, despite the fact that it was June 7. Apparently many shivering walkers rushed up to the booth, hoping they were selling knitted hats, as they did the year before, but were destined to be disappointed. However, as I mentioned, she did sell at least 14 cloths and is working on ways to sell the others as well.

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My favorite picture: Two (or three; I can’t quite tell) washcloths on their way to a good home:

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Black Sheep Gathering was good. And bad. The good was just the drive itself, and seeing central Oregon for the first time. What a beautiful place! Farmland as far as the eye could see and lots of beautiful, fresh greenery. The good was also spending two days with Janine and her sister Tori. My favorite part was the second night when we all just retired to our beds and quietly and companionably knit or read without talking, just relaxing in each other’s company. Now that’s togetherness! (And there was some more good which involved money and yarn, but we don’t need to go there.)

The bad was my mood swings, from “okay” to deeply, darkly, scarily depressed. Wow. At one point, I just sat at a table with my head down on my sweatshirt, hoping to fall asleep, to escape from all the crapola and the desire to return to the rubber room. Then some sun crept up on my back and felt so warm and soothing I thought, hey, I should go lie in the sun! Which I did:

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While at Black Sheep, I was determined not to take the usual sheep-in-a-pen-mostly-obscured-by-wire photos, and thought I would just limit my photo-taking to the unusual. Since 99% of my photo ops were, in fact, sheep in pens, that didn’t leave me with much. But I did get this, a lamb asleep in mom’s feed bucket:

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And some photos of Southdown Babydoll sheep on their way to being shorn. Take a good look at their size, Dear Readers. These are full-grown sheep and barely hit knee-height.

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Note that the shearer had to kneel down to shear them. Usually, she stood up, bent over and just hauled the sheep around like, well, sacks of wool. (Note to Niece Nicky, who is being taught by Big Sister to Think Outside the Box when it comes to women's roles in the world: Female sheep-shearer!)

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Here they are later, shorn and in their tiny Babydoll sheep jackets. Note what a bright brown their fleece was on the outside (from sun exposure, I was told), but very black underneath. (To give you a further idea of their size, in the pen next door, a behemoth of a sheep that was lying down took up the entire front of the pen.)

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I also learned that it can be very hard to tell the difference between lesbians and straight but hard-working, down-to-earth farm women with short hair. I can’t tell you how many times I asked myself, “Lesbian? Or straight but hard-working, down-to-earth farm woman with short hair?” And every time the answer was straight but hard-working, down-to-earth farm woman with short hair, damn it.

Tune in in a coupla days, Dear Readers, to see photos of my new family!!

Posted by Ryan at 10:58 AM | Comments (31)