Thursday, July 31, 2008
So here's a bit of who came and went before. First there was Gable. Then GreyStroke. Then BobCat adopted us. Finally Simba came into our lives.
Simba went over the Rainbow bridge in Feb 2007. Simba was a Maine Coon - very large, very furry.
And I don’t have pictures to share just now - I’ll have to do some scanning. Simba pre-dated the digital camera I got for Christmas. He looked a lot like a seriously furry version of BobCat - with a white chest instead of gold.
We inherited Simba because his former owner was invited to live full time at our local VA Hospital.
When we first met him, Simba was mean/unhappy (in constant pain from a disintegrating hip joint), smelled terrible (he’d stopped cleaning himself - prior owner was a chain smoker) and he had a terrible haircut as someone helpful but clueless had tried to cut the snarls from his coat.
We found him a MC groomer here in Tucson (he was delighted with the results and started cleaning himself right away when we got home).
Lots of Vet trips and a hip surgery later he was much less surly, had begun to PURR, and would even play (more of a bring-that-toy-over-here-participant than a chaser). He chose my husband as his person but eventually decided I was snuggle worthy. I even inspired an occasional non-food related purr! Simba was 25 pounds when we got him. We got him down to a more comfortable weight for his hips (the vet told us he’d had other-hip-surgery as a kitten…) of 20 pounds.
Simba could manage to get up onto the couch, but his hips didn't let him go much higher. We setup steps for his access to our bed. He would come to visit for a bit at bedtime and drape himself on my husband's chest; Purrs reverberating through the bed and pillows.
He and BobCat were buddies - To the exclusion of and sometimes ganging up on GreyStroke or Gable.
He liked to have his head brushed. Just his head. Yep, that means there were some weekly skirmishes about what part of his person I would brush/comb whether he liked it or not.
He was mostly growl with the occasional snap, but he never did any real damage on me when I combed him. He did complained bitterly and we kept the sessions short but successful. Also with Simba’s bad hips, there were parts he couldn’t reach to clean. Imagine, if you will, my efforts to contain Simba with my legs whilst brushing/combing him because he was longer than my arms (wry grin).
Simba developed Diabetes after he’d been with us for about 5 years - he crashed pretty suddenly and hard. I visited him daily at the high-tech vet across town - several times a day on the weekends if the Vet wasn't too swamped. I coaxed him to eat and brushed his head and sat with him. He recovered slowly and I did the 12-hour shot routine for a year or so. He was a favorite at both Vets - being extremely large and fluffy, if not always terribly charming. The Vet across town would have to monitor his diabetes for a day or so every few months. Sometimes they just let him roam the halls overnight.
Then he went into remission - no more shots!
Until the diabetes came back a year ago last Fall - I think because of the yet un-diagnosed Cancer. I’ll skip the details but we had to let Simba go when the inoperable tumor was discovered during a scope procedure to find out why he was coughing up blood.
We’re hoping to grace our home with another cat or two and we’d love a Maine Coon. But we’re at the tail-end of renovating our bathrooms so a new cat and construction would be unfair. And cats usually find us so I’m waiting - but not patiently.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We had to take Greystroke to the Emergency Vet this morning to have him put to sleep.He was about 19 years old and a variety of physical issues finally took him past the point of comfort.
He was truly not interested in eating last night and was having serious problems walking.
And he suddenly had some kind of wheeze that he hadn't had the morning or night before.
I hate having to make this decision, but I hate more that my little grey tabby couldn't breathe comfortably. About 4 AM he seemed to get worse and cried at me as we tried to sleep on the couch. So we went to the Vet in the dark of the early morning. And I came home with an empty kitty carrier again. I no longer have a small pride of elderly cats.
We got to have a few extra months with GreyStroke because we gave him sub-cutaneous fluids 3 times a week, special foods, 1/4 of a pepcid AC pill daily, antibiotic eye drops on and off for months, occasional force-feedings to get him started eating again, and most recently shots to help boost his red cell creation when he was going anemic due to his kidney disease.
Up until this week, he was holding his own (well, with a bit of help from me), and he was still purring a lot and pretty happy to be here.
Greystroke was one of 4 kittens a stray mama-cat brought to the tiny back yard of a studio apartment I had a long time ago. Greystroke would forgo food for petting - hence his name.
One of his siblings was hit by a car, another we got adopted to a friend, and one we could never catch - she'd had a bad experience with one of my neighbors.
Greystoke got to spend his first night indoors in a kitty carrier. He complained a reasonable amount and Gable, my other cat, was not impressed. He was off to the Vet the next morning to get shots/be fixed and when he came back he settled into being an indoor cat pretty quickly. Gable was still not impressed but she tolerated him just fine and they would sleep near each other. However, Gable did think every Vet trip was Greystroke's fault, turning to hiss at him when I released them from the kitty carrier after a tandem Vet trip.
Greystroke was never terribly graceful and never seemed to grow into a mysterious, self-sufficient cat. He always seemed the kitten. He was always loving and would let us rub his tummy, purring all the while. He wasn't fond of being picked up - that was a remnant from his early outdoor days. He also didn't like to be outside, but he reveled in being able to open the back sliding door to be "free" and then dash back into the house at the first sign of anything.
He was Very gentle, nipping me only once in the midst of attacking a miscreant towel on the floor and then quickly giving me kitty kisses when he realized he'd nipped me and not the towel.
He also had amazing LUNGS. His meows echoing around the neighborhood as we walked out the front door when I took him in the cat-carrier to the Vet. The Vet knew he had arrived when we were still in the parking lot. He was known as the "Armadillo Cat" because he curled up into a little gray ball when I pulled him out to be weighed. And there were a few times when Greystroke was at the Vet for the day, that the Vet would call to suggest I could come get Greystroke now with Greystroke meowing Loudly in the background. Yep, that Meow, performed 2 inches from your ear, was not the most pleasant thing to wake up to at 3 AM.
But the little gray purring body snuggled against my back or curled against my stomach was pretty charming.
I will miss my little pooky-cat.
I will see you again later.
Friday, July 25, 2008
But it was also something we gained because of the pending loss.
Randy Pausch, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, loving father of 3 young children, beloved husband, son, and also a favored, inspiring teacher and shaper of minds, passed away today at 47.
I got to see part of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" on Oprah.
A few weeks after being asked to give a "Last Lecture", Randy Pausch found out the Pancreatic Cancer he was in treatment for would put him in a unique position of truly presenting a Last Lecture.
It's hard to describe. It is important, and lovely, and funny, and amazing, and heartbreaking although in NO way is it maudlin or pitiful.
It is a little over an hour long, but it is well worth your time.
Randy Pausch was only given 6 months to live last August. He passed that milestone in February, 2008. He beat the odds with an amazing 5 more months. And amazing months they were. This article does a nice summation of his life. As does this NPR tribute. Then there's Professor Pausch's own website/blog describing his adventures in Congress, in a Star Trek Movie, and in his family life.
I expect it's a little odd to mourn someone you don't actually know. I'm not the fanatical type - I'm no one's "fan". I admire people and their accomplishments and their gifts to the world. Randy Pausch was definitely a gift. So, I don't know this man, but I mourn his passing and I wish his family well. I feel the legacy he built for his children is an astoundingly good one. And we got to benefit from that legacy-gift.
It seems grossly unfair that such a man should suffer with this particular cancer at such a young age when his family and career was in full bloom. The "Why" question always visits me - as it does with any heartache or tragedy I have no control over. An answer sneaks in through the side to nudge me...I recognize that in this man's somewhat short life he achieved many of his dreams, inspired, educated, and even cured some ignorance in thousands of people - probably hundreds of thousands. Long before his cancer was diagnosed.
With the impetus of the cancer, he has inspired, educated and cured some ignorance in literally millions of people - around the world.
Is that a fair trade for ending his life so young and having to leave his loved ones behind and his children without a father? That is not a question I can answer.
But I can honor and share his memory, teachings, and the Last Lecture he created for his children - which has been a gift to us as well.
Blessings to the Pausch family. Heartfelt sorrow for your loss and grateful thanks to you for sharing your Son, Brother, Uncle, Husband, Father with us. Peace and loving, smiling memories to you always.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I was felting a little bag and some cat-toys I knitted... (felting is when you make solid fabric out of a knitted piece - a process most recognizable when the spousal-unit "helps" with the laundry and washes/dries your favorite wool sweater so it comes out doll-sized).
I washed my bag in very hot water...and maybe a little more soap than recommended (understatement).
I had visions of Lucille Ball when I opened the washing machine to find it overflowing with bubbles that started rolling out onto the floor. (front-loading washer).
After I stopped laughing, I got a towel to sop up (well, contain... um, herd) the mound of bubbles on the floor and to catch the additional suds as they poured out of the washer as I groped blindly inside to find the pieces I was felting.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I took it with with me when we went to have dinner at the In-Laws a couple of weeks ago. (Mom-in-Law is a pretty good cook too!) And the In-Laws have recently adopted a couple of puppies!!
This is my DH. Love these pictures. We've been married a while and I STILL think he's pretty darn cute. Molly thinks he's cute too. She had to go lay on the couch near him. Molly is 8 months old.
This is Rowdy - he's also supposed to be 8 months old - hence, sight unseen, the In-Laws thought he'd be a good playmate for Molly. Uh-huh.
(Yes, he is about 3 times bigger than Molly. )
But he is a good playmate for Molly. They went through a couple of days of Rowdy figuring out a little bump would send Molly sprawling...and now he's very gentle.
Molly, on the other hand, is a bit less gentle with Rowdy.
He seems to love it and is very patient.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The talented Knitting teacher was multi-tasking. Beyond re-teaching her son to knit and giving me clues on my first "After-thought" pocket - she was SPINNING!! Sock Yarn no less! AND plying it with other yarn she'd spun. Spiffy.
Back to the Bowl: I've got one pocket knitted and a 2nd one started (I have 5 to do.) That's the pocket - sticking up out of the body of the front of the bowl - the lavender-colored rectangle with the yellow flecks. Colorful, isn't it?
Ha - you should see the bottom of the bowl:
It will be VERY interesting to felt this puppy. I'm promised to show it around at Kiwi when it's done. I also had to shop for more yarn since I was loath to pull in yet another shade of purple from my stash-yarn into this bowl. (Yes, it has been an education for me that there are so many different shades of purple - and a bit frighting to find so many in my stash. And most of it's variegated! Not sure I want to know what that actually means about my personality...) It's obnoxious enough (Yes, and I still like it!)
Luckily, I found more skeins of the lavender-yellow for the pockets in the sale corner at Kiwi! (score!) and Lynn, the owner of Kiwi, found me more Purple Cascade for the "petals" that "lid" this bowl!
Bob-Cat was unable to resist the skein of yarn I was unknowingly dragging back to the computer room:
In other news of the day...Greystroke's eyes seem to be doing better and he felt well enough to eat about an 1/8th of a can of Kitty Crack (F. Feast) this AM. He followed up this achievement by having some watered down canned AD this afternoon and more Kitty Crack this evening.
(Yeah!!/Sigh of relief) Ok, I'm trying not to get my hopes up, and I know we're on borrowed time as it is, but the Pooky-cat looks like he'll be staying with us a little longer.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
This little guy popped up in the front yard by himself a couple of years ago. I placed a small rock "wall" around him to try and bring him to people's attention before he got stepped on.
Last Halloween, one little trick-or-treater stopped in the drive way to look at this mini barrel cactus - and my "Be careful, that's a real cactus" came just a teeny bit too late. He caught up to his parents on the side walk sucking his finger and, I think, contemplating the lesson learned about touching cactus - even cute little cacti.
So - I'm a little slow. I'm out hanging laundry this AM and I realize there's more cactus blooming in the back yard. Hey...these look just like the one in the front yard! Do you suppose they're related? Yep, I'm a little slow....
And - the the Mexican Bird of Paradise is gearing up to look glorious next week...
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Work challenges escalated, I got to hang out with the Ops night shift some at work, and I'll be spending more of next week dealing with the fun stuff I tripped over this week. 'Nuf said.
Greystroke is not doing well. I need to do a blog on my monster-cats. Greystroke is the oldest at around 17/18. He's not interested in eating much of anything other than DH's lunch-turkey meat. Not even "Kitty Crack" (F. Feast), not the prescription vet food, or even the pouch kitty food. Helped him eat some this AM. He was pretty reasonable about it.
We'll see what happens next. He's a sweet, dingy kitten-cat with an obnoxiously LOUD meow (which he mostly chooses to voice on trips to the vet or at 4 AM - 2 inches from your ear). Good thing he's so cute.
I've been working on my Tri-fold Knitter's Bowl homework...I can safely say it's colorful.
And this morning we got up to find our back fence in full bloom!
(Note, realllllly liking this little digital Camera the In-Laws gifted us with at Christmas.)
This is Cat's Claw, a climbing vine across our back fence. Yes, I need to thin the dead stuff a bit.
But the flowers that coat the vines are lovely/happy.
See the tri-fingered "claws" - that's how they climb the fence - and grab onto fingers and clothes. They're not sharp like cactus, but they're persistent.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I remind them of some of the spiffy things about Tucson and things to do around Tucson.
They actually seem to like it. Go figure.
Well, I figured I'd add my Tucson Things to do List to this blog.
It'll take me a bit to pull it all together and situate the categories.
(And, I must note, Blogger seems to be undergoing some changes/issues and the edit abilities seem limited (I need to relearn how to play with HTML - won't THAT make life interesting!))
Suggestions are welcome. (Yeah, I know no one else reads this and I'm probably typing at myself - but I have some good suggestions to offer!)
Monday, July 14, 2008
ANYWAY - I did the deed. Here we find BobCat graciously modeling my 1st Moebius scarf for us:
This picture probably more accurately reflects Bob's opinion of this procedure:
So I found another kitty to do the modeling:
And, yes, I got my Tri-fold Knitter's Bowl homework done:
Nope, this is the Wool/Sari Silk purple yarn.
The tri-twist in the original attempt had lost it's kink so I frogged it and started over.
For some reason, the tri-twist stayed on this one.
(woo-hoo!!) (Yes, I was checking that it was there every 10 stitches or so...)
And I must confess, my I-cord merge on this one is much less graceful...but this will be felted and felting hides a multitude of sins.
The teacher thinks it will look nice!
I'm liking it too!!
Please pardon the odd short posts I'm going to attempt, I'm fooling with settings after not receiving a response from the Security Suite support whose software was praised by the vaunted CR.
(Ha - like anyone reads this! (s'ok, I talk to myself on a regular basis - this is no different!)
Weirdness. K - I tried (again) to load some pictures. Yesterday, they never loaded, I would just get dumped back to the start-page no errors or explanation.
Today, I get a pop-up error from Blogger "There were errors during upload. The following pages could not be uploaded (photo location string): This image could not be uploaded due to an internal error."
I have been off perusing the Blogger help sites...seems I have to join a group to ask question. Searching various groups showed no matches to this error. AND...I found a comment from 7/6 indicating Blogger was making some change and ability to load photos might be affected.
So - have I been slandering the Security Suite? Is it Blogger that is preventing me from seeing the pictures on one of my Favorite Blogs: Tales from the Den of Chaos? I can't see the progress on the Creatures of the Reef Shawl!! (Ok, the problem started when I realllllly wanted to see the pictures of the blueberry pie in the 7/9 post, but can I? Nooooooo) Hmmm - note the date of the blueberry blog and how it relates to the date of the change on Blogger. Yet, comments on the blog indicate other people can see the pictures...
I have no answers, just weirdness.
I begin to suspect the Security Suite may not entirely be to blame (but I still can't peruse Ebay).
Thursday, July 10, 2008
But it was going slower than I expected. Then I thought about it a bit...
The cast-off for a Moebius is the Applied I-cord. (Just learned it - it's pretty spiffy too!) And the way that works, you end up creating a couple of stitches before you knit a couple together and move on. Kind of like an extra couple of steps from a regular cast off.
(This is providing I'm actually understanding how this works...it's reallllly more like magic than anything else.)
Hence why it's "tomorrow" and the first Moebius isn't done yet.
But...I'm better than half way!!
And I did a little bit of my Tri-fold Knitter's bowl home work. As suggested by the clever knitting teacher, I knitted up a little swatch of the wool/sari silk yarn I wanted to use in the bowl to see if it will felt. So, I'm off to felt that swatch and the mystery-yarn swatch my knitting teacher kindly knitted up for me. (Gave her something to do as I kept losing count of my bowl cast on...)
More magic!!! When you're faced with monitoring something you're trying to felt - this can become semi-unadulterated knitting time. (When you're not pausing every few seconds to scroll down on the blogs you're exploring. ) AND....the Moebius is done!! Ta-da!!!
OK, save for the Applied I-cord graft. (More lessons learned - attempting your first grafting of an Applied I-cord whilst huddled over the running clothes washer in the dimly-lit Laundry room, whilst balancing "A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting" by the inestimable Cat Bordhi...is probably not the a shining example of my better judgment. So...let's hold off the grafting until daylight...at a table like a civilized knitter.
The felting results!!! The Mystery Yarn is.... Not felted.
As I paced the floor of the Laundry Room (i.e. walking around a 3 foot circle) I began to wonder if it could be Superwash Wool? Would Superwash burn like acrylic? It would answer the question of why it burned quickly/fizzled up to kinda black nubs...but also showed clear signs of being spun in the vicinity of a haystack or maybe not entirely carded free of hay the sheep....you get the picture. So - not a good option for the base of my Tri-Fold Knitter's Bowl project.
The Wool/Sari Silk mix - seems to have felted reasonably. (I think I knitted it on too large of needles.) The garter stitch bit felted rather well, and it did seem determined to felt into a wad of fiber in the washer...
So - the wool/sari silk is an option for the I-Cord on the bowl.
But I need to re-visit the bowl-base yarn situation. (Something that would felt would be nice...)
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The silly lizard is actually sitting in the bowl, with her tail curled around the inside edge!!
And BobCat is 8 inches away, sound asleep.
(Yep, that's my bad-a@@ 16-year old Tabby-cat...terror of the neighborhood - maybe not so much terror for lizards...)
Pam, an entirely nifty lady I'm blessed to work with identified the dragon:
From FireFly Forest
Sonoran Spotted Whiptails are all female and reproduce via parthenogenesis (virgin birth). A Sonoran Spotted Whiptail's eggs contain complete copies of her genome and will develop into embryos despite not being fertilized by a male. The resulting female offspring are all clones of their mother.
The Sonoran Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis sonorae or Cnemidophorus sonarae) is a common lizard in the mountain foothills around Tucson. These small, slender lizards feed on insects, spiders, and other creatures smaller than themselves.
Sonoran Spotted Whiptails do have long, whip-like tails, but despite their name, they often have only very faint spots between the six pale lines running down their backs.
Pssst - yes, I've done a little knitting today - practicing the Applied I-cord on my moebius scarf!!! It'll be done tonight!!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Not BobCat eating Kitty food outside:
Bold as brass she was...
"Paparazzi interrupted me!"
So...is BobCat seriously showing his age or is this his "pet"?
Monday, July 7, 2008
And it was. But it had a lot of odd bits as well.
Ran a tad late to the class this AM by constantly re-thinking the yarn I was going to use to make the Trifold Knitters bowl...and still forgot a couple of things. (tsk)
Spiffy class, patient teacher (who also happens to be a rather amazing soul as well as a highly talented knitter (no, I'm not sucking up...)). My biggest issue appears to be that I'm not twisted enough. I keep losing the twists in my cable that make the tri-fold bit possible. We're working on it. Oh - and this yarn I thought was wool (feels like wool, looks like wool, has bits of hay spun into it (really) ) seems to burn an awful lot like acrylic...
Nifty teacher knit me a swatch of it whilst I was losing my twist so I could try felting the mystery yarn to see if it can still be used in the to-be-felted bowl construction. (I got it in a grab bag...I know, I know...)
Anyway, wicked good lunch and a chocolate croissant to celebrate National Chocolate Day (woo hoo - an excellent excuse to consume more chocolate!!)
No. I'm not making up National Chocolate Day! I'm not alone in this celebration! Ha - and another one...
Anyway, spent some time talking with DH and shower door install folks, and bathroom remodel folks...I'll skip the details. More discussion with DH necessary.
In the midst of the above, had the bright idea to update my virus protection/firewall/spyware/ yada, yada, yada. That went so well, I was considering what kind of PC I was going to go shopping for because I was pretty sure I'd killed mine dead. (OY)
Many, many (hard) reboots later, some pondering at how bad a PC is hosed when you can't get the Task Manager to put in an appearance, more reboots (still of the hard version), a virus scan, a spyware scan (found 6 minor), more reboots (normal ones), an update to the new software that was already out of date, and the PC seeeeeems to be recovering. In the midst of the PC skirmish, Bob-cat disappeared. Ok, I realized he was gone...He'd been hanging out in the back yard in the afternoon.
He's around 16. He lived in our neighborhood before we did and adopted us with his old family's blessing. He used to be the bad-a@@ of the block and regularly brought me "snacks" or parts of snacks. (Yes, they raised him as an outdoor cat - I became convinced he really wanted to stay being somewhat-outdoor after a week of cat-complaint-induced insomnia) ...but now he's 16 and he has arthritis. And he's a sweetie and carries my heart with his purr.
Apparently, he was having a "good" day arthritis-wise and decided to go visit the neighborhood without telling me. Yep, I spent over 2 hours checking every nook and cranny of the yard, the alley, the neighbor's yard and alley and the alley/yards across the way. I got to spend a little time with all my neighbors (who were entirely kind and everyone promised to watch for him), and no one called the police when I was using a flashlight to peek over back-yard walls.
At 8:30 when I was going to check the alleys for the 5th time, I opened the front door and there's BobCat. He limped in, let me hug and cry on him, and took dinnertime in stride. (The Schmuck).
I cried some more when I visited the knitting teacher's blog and got to see this joyful, poignant, video - part of the "Where the Hell is Matt" series. What a gift! Shared Joy.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
This is rather like doing my turnover at work but without all the boring bits and general requirement to be realllllllly politically correct.
Not unlike my knitting, I have signed up for this and it's probably a bit beyond my abilities.
We'll see what happens. Educational opportunity.
So....what is happening today....
General chores today. Laundry, water da plants, feed da cats, finish da book (ok, not a chore, but I only had 20 or so pages left)...More laundry...made some Sun Tea.
I thought we were gonna have an Monsoon storm coming in from over the Catalinas...but it went West after some impressive Thunder and posturing. Hence laundry is still out on the line.
And I have started my first blog posting.
I have been catching up on the Tales from the Den of Chaos postings. (No, I don't know how to insert a link...I'll figure it out, have patience. Well, maybe I just did it. Hmmmm. I'll test it later.)
Nifty blog. Funny, sweet, interesting, financially educational of late...and apparently inspiring enough that I'm typing my first blog entry. (Don't get your hopes up - this is highly unlikely to be inspiring or financially educational...)
Anyway - reading blogs and knitting my first Moebius Scarf. (woo hoo!!) I'm kind of doing prep work for the class I'm starting tomorrow at Kiwi Knitting...Trifold Knitter's Bowl by Cat Bordhi. (Remember what I said about getting into knitting that's a bit beyond my abilities...?)
It's an amazing pattern and fun premise and also a bit daunting since I'm semi-clueless and short on knitting time. The class runs over the next 3 weeks. Bet I learn a lot. Will I have done a spiffy large felted bowl with lots of pockets in the next month? This ought to be interesting...