June 27, 2009

It's the Little Things...

Success!

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Nom nom nom.

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Posted by Ryan at 07:26 PM | Comments (6)

June 26, 2009

Yeah, About That...

As much as I would like to continue being the poster child for a brave new world of no TV…I now have (mumbling something unintelligible into my hand).

TV.bmpHowever I resolved this—if I bought all new high-tech digital TV equipment during a huge economic slump or if I confess that it was user error all along—it’s embarrassing. Let’s just say, I didn’t buy any new high-tech digital TV equipment.

Yesterday I was at a work meeting where, during a quiet moment, this subject came up and someone threw out what to them was probably a casual statement but which, for me, went off in my head like a pack of illegally procured firecrackers. Apparently, (1) you have to keep your TV on one of those weird in-between channels, like 3, and (2) you have to use the converter-box remote control, not your usual one. SRSLY? Within minutes of getting home I had TV reception and new channels, including—bonus!—three in Spanish and two in Chinese. In my defense, the reception is still not spectacular and the screen goes wiggly and pixely regularly and I occasionally lose reception altogether but, believe it or not, this is still better than what I used to get. Also in my defense, it says nothing about either of these items in the instructions. I checked.

Who says work meetings aren’t productive?

Stay tuned for, coincidentally, a huge leap ahead in my knitting.

Posted by Ryan at 09:14 AM | Comments (5)

June 24, 2009

I Am Easily Amused

Not much on the knitting front (or front and back. Or front, back and sleeves.) to write about but things are happening. I’ve had an almighty struggle with the first sleeve of the Merely Tolerable Gansey but the clouds are starting to part. In fact, if I had arms that were only three inches long, I’d be done. Well, with one sleeve, anyway. This site is officially my new best friend; sorry, Ken.

In the meantime, some little happenings that amused me:

1. Something went really, really wrong with my life somewhere along the way because I now own a machete. Princesses do not own machetes. (Er…apparently this rule has been amended to: Princesses with ivy problems do.)

thorn.bmp2. The machete is symbolic of my attempt to get my neglected yard back under human dominion, starting with the mountain of blackberry that smothered six sizeable shrubs over the course of the last year and a half. Last night I found myself deep in the bowels of the blackberries, rescuing an ailing hydrangea, and every time I cut a cane of the by-then-dubbed Enemy, rather than squirm my way back out to deposit the cane in a pile, I just flung it behind me. (Or I would try. Sometimes I would give a cane a mighty heave with a Monica-Seles-like grunt and Tiger-Woods-like follow-through, only to end up with the cane stuck firmly to my sleeve.) Guess what I discovered when I turned around? A pile of severed canes almost large enough to block out the sun and certainly large enough to block my escape. I made it out but let’s just say, thank God red goes with my pale skin and freckles.

3. Also last night, Benny jumped on the top of the refrigerator to watch me make a grilled-cheese sandwich and, unbeknownst to him, since cats pretty much don’t knownst anything, hunkered down on just the door part of the freezer. I tried to resist, I really did, but finally I broke down…and opened the freezer door. The look on Benny’s face as he found himself suddenly swinging outward from the fridge and teetering on a 1”-wide ledge was priceless. I had a huge laugh, pointed at him (this may have been where I made my mistake), shut the freezer door, and went back to making my sandwich. All of which explains the lick marks I found on my butter an hour later.

4. Being a member of the local Freecycle group is worth it if for no other reason than the occasional oddball postings that come along. My favorite to date: Mr. Potato's tongue and right arm.

Posted by Ryan at 02:01 PM | Comments (12)

June 20, 2009

What Is This Thing You Earthlings Call "TV?"

[Picture-heavy post, Dear Readers.]

Some updates.

First, an indignant Benny the Flying Cat says...

Who me? How could you tell all those lies, Mom? In fact, look at me. I'm so earthbound I'm flat.

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Notice, however, that he is very close to the microwave in case an opportunity presents itself, never mind the fact that I'm taking the photograph from outside. The further fact that Joon is occupying the top of the microwave is also of no consequence; he will ricochet off her face if he has to.

Secondly, it’s day nine without the boob tube. I have learned three things.

1. This has been a lot easier than I thought it would be.

2. My knitting is paying the price. I knit almost exclusively in front of the TV so during the last week I knit…

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3. I’ve discovered the freedom of not being controlled by the exactly 7 p.m., exactly 8 p.m., exactly 9 p.m., and exactly 10 p.m. TV schedule, with the occasional exactly-30-minutes-after-the-hour thrown in. Who knew you could eat dinner from, say, 7:49 p.m. to 8:12 p.m., swing right on past that sacred at-the-hour, on-the-hour 8 p.m. time, and no earthquakes, no frogs falling from the sky, no rivers running red with blood? Seriously; I look at time completely differently.

(However, I have admitted to myself that I will never survive a Seattle winter without a TV, so something will give eventually.)

Much thanks to the kind commenters and emailers who wondered, and quite rightly, knowing how low-tech I am for someone who works in IT, if I had scanned for channels but, yes, I dutifully did. About three or four times on each TV, just to be sure. Both converter boxes said they found channels…but then said "neener, neener" and declined to share.

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In the gardening arena, I am inadvertently growing rude things:

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Despite their resemblance to alien genitalia, these are in reality Hungarian Yellow Wax Peppers. No comments from the more smutty-minded among you since I'll be leaving myself wide open with practically everything I say in the next sentence but here goes: When these ripen, I'll have no idea what to do with them, especially since I'll probably only have one to work with at any given time (see? Wide open.). I’m thinking of maybe a roasted-chili and fresh-herb butter for chicken or steak. Any other suggestions?

I’ve also learned that when the weather is wacko (90-degrees some days, 50 some others, and we just finished a 29-day record-tying dry spell*), and your plants aren’t producing armfuls of beautiful flowers (note the atmospheric gloominess of the photo; very representative of our current weather)…

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…cheat. Bring in other, already-blooming dahlias plus some miniature roses:

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For more color, I also planted two calladia (?), this one, which is too whimsical for words...

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...and this one, which pleased me no end by cradling a beautiful drop of water:

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This last was not taken in my yard but in one of the six yards knitting peeps Diane, Gail and I visited today on a fun and idea-generating local fund-raising garden tour. No lie; I would sell my very soul for this rose (if the soul in question weren't already in hock for yarn):

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*Notice I said record-tying, not record-breaking. We were thisclose to breaking the record but with eleven minutes to spare, it started raining. Curse you, Mother Nature!

Posted by Ryan at 08:36 PM | Comments (16)

June 15, 2009

Huh.

The conversion of my TVs to digital Did Not Go Well. Small TV in the bedroom: All snow, all the time. Large TV in the living room: Ditto, so I'm now on Day Four of no boob toob.

In other completely separate, completely unrelated news, I finished one book and started another, my house is clean, the laundry is done, half of the garage is organized, the cats have been getting a lot of attention, the dahlia bed is weeded, and I've been getting to bed early.

.....

.....

.....

.....Oh.

(Now, if I can just get a handle on the hallucinations, the tics, and the foaming at the mouth.)

Posted by Ryan at 11:05 AM | Comments (12)

June 11, 2009

Benny Decides...

[Comments closed for this entry for reasons of spammage.]

Benny’s start in this household was not auspicious. He had a cold, didn’t eat for eight days, and had, simultaneously, a kitty-sized mental breakdown that left him inert and drooling until I propped him up with Valium*. However, a year later he is confident, smart, alert, athletic, tremendously loving. But I have taught him Something Dangerous, and I now pine for the days of inertia and drool.

Chapter 1: Soon after bringing The Big B home, I discover he likes to be carried around draped over my left shoulder, paws extended and kneading contentedly into the air, and I unashamedly encourage this behavior. Pretty much any time he stands on a high spot, like the top of the microwave, I fling him up onto my shoulder for a snorgle and a jaunt around the house.

Chapter 2: Benny learns to climb from the microwave to my shoulder by himself. This new-found independence leads him to regularly scream, “Stop whatever you’re doing and come over to the microwave. Now.” Not pretty, but nothing compared to what the future held.

Chapter 3: Benny decides, never mind the microwave, I’ll just climb up her pants. Which, curiously, doesn’t work very well on the days when I’m not wearing any pants but this doesn’t stop him.

Chapter 4: Benny decides, let’s bypass this climbing foolishness altogether and jump straight from the ground to Mom’s shoulder. Unfortunately, he doesn't always make it, and the results are messy and painful. Let’s just say if I were a helium balloon, I would thrrrrrrrrpppppppt rapidly around the room.

Chapter 5: Benny decides to kill two birds with one stone and assume the cuddling position—body flat against my chest, furry bum curled to be held in the crook of my arm—on the way up. Which means I’m hit with a sidewise, 15-pound blam! of fur and whiskers. Locals, think of how the Pike Place Market fish guys throw fish at each other—splat!, into the chest. Yeah, like that. Only much, much furrier.

Chapter 6: Benny decides, let’s dispense with the niceties of making sure we’re at least facing each other, and starts launching himself at me any time, from anywhere, from any angle. Sometimes when I have my back to him, I get an eerie back-of-the-neck feeling and turn around to find him crouched, ready to launch.

Chapter 7: Benny discovers that, if he can catch me bending over, jumping on my back is much easier than jumping all the way to my shoulder. Once up, he instantly curls up and lies down—and then you’re stuck because he has no intention of getting off. You reach both arms behind to grab him...and then what? You try to push him back—instant claw** grippage. You try to pull him up—instant claw grippage. You try to shove him off the side—instant claw grippage. You try to stand up—see “painful” and “thrrrrrrrrpppppppt” above. I have actually shuffled bent over like some modern-day Quasimodo from one room to another to tip him off onto a table.

You know what I think? There is way too much of “Benny decides” going on in my household.

*Need I say don’t do this without talking to your vet first?

**Thank God I do clip his claws on a regular basis. I can’t even imagine. I wouldn’t even ““thrrrrrrrrpppppppt;” I would just explode instantly into sad, limp shreds of human.

Posted by Ryan at 03:00 PM | Comments (23)

June 10, 2009

Darwin Was Wrong

I love crows, I really do. Where some people find them obnoxious, ugly, raucous, I find them handsome, smart, curious, mischievous—except during breeding season (theirs, not mine) when they gather protectively-defensively in my yard and screech incessantly at me while I poke innocently about among the dahlias. So last evening, when I had had enough, I tried running around the yard, waving my arms in the air, and yelling, “You don’t understand! You have to leave me alone! I’m at the top of the food chain!” Seriously. I did this.

Didn’t work. I don’t think they believed me. I wonder why.

Posted by Ryan at 09:56 AM | Comments (14)

June 07, 2009

The Payoff

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The carrots in this salad?: Supermarket

Tomatoes?: Supermarket

Lettuce?: Mine, all mine. Picked not five minutes ago.

Herbs sprinkled on top for no other reason than to look festive, especially because I’m not all that keen on how they taste?: Mine.

So, other than the pretty, what’s the real payoff?

Saving money? Oh, hell, no.

The joy of sifting warm, loamy soil through your fingers? Double ohhellno.

The exercise? Puh-leeeze.

Communing with nature? Meh.

The fresh air? Meh.

The distraction it provides? Eh.

So, then, what?

With apologies for the double negative, you’re looking at the fifth salad I would not have eaten if the lettuce had not been in the garden. That’s the payoff. Apparently gardening turns you into a flippin’ grown-up. I am not pleased.

Still on the subject of gardening, the salad above and the picture below are the good news:

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These little beauts are sprouting on this now-familiar plant:

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However, simultaneous with all of these heady successes, your blog mistress is also proving to be the one and only person, of the six billion on this earth, who can’t grow a Chia Pet. Think not? Have a look:

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This growth can only be described as sad, scrawny and spindly. And unidirectional. For some reason the doggy’s butt is as flat as a Kansas prairie and all the growth is pointing forward. Even worse, it’s growing forward and sideways.

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I've moved the Chia Pet to a different spot in the kitchen relative to the sun to see if the problem can be rectified but I think the damage has been done. If this dog were real, it would be being treated for mange. Or would've been sent to live on a distant-relative's farm upstate, wink, wink.

(P.S. A big hello and cyber-hug to my Nancy, my new stalker. Phew! I've gone waaay too long without one. Howdy, Nancy! Thanks for reading the blog and for leaving such a nice comment last time!)
Posted by Ryan at 09:40 PM | Comments (9)

June 05, 2009

Is There a Full Moon?

First-ever unapologetic venting on this blog, but I say that’s not bad for six years.

[Begin vent]

qm.pngPerhaps I'm just too much of a Pollyanna, too much of an idealist, but my going-on-eight-years undying adoration of knitters and the knitting community has been deeply shaken lately, first by unsettling revelations about a few local and online knitting peeps that I thought would be tried and true after the breakup (I sad; vewwy, vewwy sad) and then by these things that have tumbled in one on top of the other:

1. Knitters who, a couple of months ago, had to be forcefully unsubscribed from Ravelry for aggressive, dare I say, extreme behavior, including an attempted denial of service attack. RLY? A denial-of-service attack over what boils down to knitting?

2. The barbaric way Stephanie has been treated over the Sock Summit server crash. Threats, people? Again, RLY?!

3. The equally barbaric way Karen of Two Swans has been treated over something she has no control over—how long it has taken a vendor to get her a color card. One more time, RLY?!

Deep sigh. I just don’t get it. At the end of the day, knitting is no more than a casual hobby, one which can unnaturally consume our every waking thought, true, but just a hobby, not a cure for cancer. And to think I used to think knitters who said they were armed with pointy sticks were being funny. Maybe not so.

On the up side, reading between the lines of Stephanie’s blog, it seems that the threats and such have resulted in an uptick in contributions to Doctors Without Borders. Woot! Reminds me of the time I was completely unnerved by an insanely angry driver during a commute, which compelled Janine to send a contribution to Heifer International, a lovely karmic, cosmic u-turn from the negative to the positive that I’ve never forgotten.

[End vent]

On to other things…

As long time readers of Cuzzin Tom’s blog probably already know, the Cuzz is leaving Mongolia. The good news is, he’s bringing his kitties with him (selfishly, I’m glad). The not-necessarily-bad-if-he-can-pull-it-off-news is he needs to find temporary foster homes for them. Please see his posting for more info. And while you’re at it, go over and wreak happy havoc in his comments list. Make up for 1, 2 and 3 above.

Sleeve One on the Merely Tolerable Gansey is three inches along and going well. The betterer it goes, the nervouser I get. Why is that?

Posted by Ryan at 12:37 PM | Comments (20)