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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday night meanderings

Checked on the Blogs of Note again today...Get a cuppa tea, coffee, whatever, sit back and relax and tour this gent's lovely, lovely pictures. I can't do them descriptive justice, but you should go look at Chase Images.

The new kitty, CooPurr, is settling in. He's still a little skittish at the new things to which he's exposed (like me walking down the hallway with an armful of knitting...).
(CooPurr reaction "OMG - RUN". BobCat reaction "zzzzzzzzzz")

But he's generally a very happy cat and a champion snuggler.

I've offered to make a Felted Moebius Basket as a silent auction item or maybe a raffle gift to support the Academy for Cancer Wellness and their Fund for Underinsured Cancer Patients.

I figured out a looong time ago that...
  • Not everyone should climb the management ladder
    (Yes, me. I do not suffer fools gladly and I tend to be Extremely Truthful (and gullible). NOT good management material.)
  • Not everyone will leave a significant mark on history
    (I don't think my 15 minutes of TV fame on "Checkers and Pogo" counts)
  • Not everyone should have children
  • Not everyone will be famous (and most people shouldn't be)
  • The world is generally not "fair"
  • And not everyone is reincarnated from the Kings and Queens of old ("Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians"...or maybe it means only the Kings and Queens needed to learn more lessons/needed to be reincarnated? But I digress...)
However, I can...
  • Be an amazing, dedicated, and organized support employee (with a less-than-healthy work-ethic) . Identifying issues and on occasion explaining why something doesn't work when no one else can. Sometimes even coming up with an astoundingly good fix (on my good days).
  • Do my best to make my world "fair" in all things I have control over.
  • Keep Learning! Try not to be hurtfully ignorant.
    (Ignorance can be cured, stupidity - not so much.)
  • Do small, consistent things to make the world a better place - like... recycling, giving back the mistaken extra change, donate blood to the Red Cross and funds to charities as often as possible, offer Kleenex if needed, as well as truthful compliments and kindness to strangers and friends, help lost dogs get home safely, and treat others as I would want to be treated.
And... I can knit a Felted Moebius Basket that might charm someone into donating a little more to a worthwhile charity.

Oh - and I can adopt an abandoned cat and give him a loving home.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And then there was Two...

A new kitty has joined our pride. So now...we have 2 kitties.
Meet CooPurr (A.K.A. "Gilligan" from Casa de los Gatos):

(Yes, he is a Very big kitty)

Having not heard back from SAFE on our application or the cats we were interested in, we went looking for them at the advertised Open adoption location. They couldn't be located.

We tried another Open Adoption site from a group we'd also seen on-line at Pet Finder - Casa de los Gatos. They had some lovely cats there. I was drawn to "Gilligan" the moment I saw him. The DH was amiable and we proceeded to adopt. We got pretty lucky. He's playful, charming, snuggly to both of us, even tempered, very soft and pet-able - an all-around nifty cat.
The story the adoption-lady heard was that Gilligan was owned by someone who had to go to jail for some reason. The room-mate kicked all the pets out.
When they found Gilligan, he was skin and bones.
He looks much better now...and we're changing his name to CooPurr (the sounds he makes most often).

He's been cloistered in the computer room for the last week 'cause he's had ear mites.
Don't panic - it's a semi-normal thing. Ear Mites are very cat-infectious and relatively easy for outside cats to pick up or share. They can be treated now with a one-dose application.
But no, we don't want BobCat to get them...
CooPurr was treated for them last Tuesday (first available appointment) and he was extremely good at the Vet and they were tickled to meet him.

He's been very lovey and charming all week. Perhaps is a trait of his breed (Russian Blue) but he has a Very dense coat and doesn't seem to shed much at all (we'll see what the spring brings...). He's a talker, but kind enough to pipe down at night so we can sleep. He kneeds A LOT and burrows into your armpit or side....

He was "sprung" yesterday to the delight and curiosity of all. He and BobCat had been sniffing at each other and chirping/talking under the Computer Room Door all week.
BobCat got "happy-feet" when CooPurr was loosed and wanted to play.
CooPurr wanted to explore. We think he's been used to sharing space with lots of cats so BobCat is just another roomie. BobCat seems to be interested in being friends.
So far so good.

On the Home-Front, the fireplace door we ordered came in and we went to pick it up yesterday. This is how the fireplace looked when we bought the house:

Mind the bottom brass piece - it's not bolted down and will fall out, flinging ash and whatever into the living room at the least provocation.

This is what we installed yesterday:

(Sigh of relief) It looks SO much better and will reduce the amount of hot/cold air that blows up the chimney. Hmmm - I wonder if it will help keep the damper closed? It blows open when it's windy. (Yes, I was having a tough time getting a not-blurry picture. Not sure if the glass front of the fireplace door is confusing the camera or if it's the moving kitties in the foreground...)

On the Knitting-Front:

I'm about done with Jennifer's late Christmas gift:

And I'm almost done with my Knit Dr. Bag homework for the next class:

(This picture shows the bag colors to be a little brighter than they actually are.)

AND I signed up to take a short class from a visiting Knitting Dignitary!
Amy R. Singer, author and Editor/Queen/Creator of the beyond-spiffy quarterly newsletter Knitty.Com, is coming to Tucson! Not being a lace junky (Ok, I'm lace-challenged...) I didn't go for the all-day "design your own lace shawl" class, though I bet it will be pretty cool. I signed up to take a class with Ms. Singer on her Tuscany Shawl. Woo Hoo!!
I got all head up and purchased some yummy Malabrigo Lace Yarn to do the shawl in...(the shop sponsoring the classes was recommending using 2 strands of lace-weight yarn in place of the sport-weight yarn suggested by the pattern). On the drive home, I realized I bought wool. Entirely nifty, soft, and lovely wool - but wool.
See, the Tuscany Shawl is from a book called "No Sheep for You". It features non-wool yarns/patterns...'cause Ms. Singer is allergic to wool.
Yep, in a class built on a pattern from a book to introduce folks to non-wool options, I bought wool to make the project with. (shaking head in disbelief...) Oy.
I need to go stash-dive to see if I have anything else to use in stead...else, more yarn shopping is in my future! (aside from the added cost, I'm not truly heart-broken...)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tori Amos - Spiffyness

I just got introduced to Tori Amos via a link in one of the Blogs of Note. This is lovely and Haunting - and an interesting Video. "Winter"
(1/25/09 - edited - the original YouTube link went wonky - removed. I've tracked down another, but not sure if there's an issue…)

However, found this one on YouTube - The music is interesting but possibly over shadowed by the Video - which I found to be Extremely Clever! A Sorta FairyTale.

I like her voice. She has an interesting artistic perspective. The music/lyrics are rather like poetry.

By the way - Prairie Spinner made my jaw drop when I checked her blog. She created this chain - I think it's called Viking knit or "naalbinding"...and by pulling it through a draw plate (which she made herself!) several times...she lengthened and... well, she made magic. Go look. Woof. Entirely spiffy!

Life-wise...working too much.
Knitting some...have started a Knit Dr. Bag. More felting!! Woo-hoo!
No pictures at this time - I just have the bottom done.

Am feeling urges to get a grip on the should-of's in my life...am also feeling urges to sleep more.

DH and I are getting more serious about getting more kitties for our pride. We think BobCat is a little lonely...and I think we miss the variety of monster cats. We're pretty decent kitty-parents.
It's odd though - usually Cats find us. Going to look for one or two is odd.
Here's the BobCat himself...snoozing away. Unaware that we're considering shaking up his 6-month stint of being an Only-cat.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blogs to Explore - Random Choices - take 2

Continuing my efforts to reduce my "Blogs to Explore" stash by actually exploring some blogs I bookmarked to review later...

Art Car Central - Woof. Amazing how folks will trick out cars, bicycles, port-o-potties....I'm not kidding. Go look. You can tell how this gent ended up as a blog of Note for Google.
I'm not a "gear-head" but even I can appreciate car-stuff from this perspective.

This is another blog that became a Blog of Note - and I'm smitten already with Life's Free Treats.
The first entry I saw from Thurs., Jan 8th is a nicely written lament about the loss of the written word in the form of letters. She's right. (Hey - I've found another "Meggie"! My first was "Meggiemoo" over at Once More with Knitting.)
I'm old enough to have some correspondence stashed away. Letters from my parents when I was at Girl Scout Camp and letters and cards from grandparents. Her comments about feeling sorry for teenagers that are limited by their Texting is poignant and rings true for me. I also have to relate to her comment regarding the pros of the typewritten word/e-mail being much more legible than my hand-written missives.

Ah - and she's a quilter. There be crafting afoot!

We interrupt this blog exploration for my trip to Australia and back to Tucson via Prescott.
Life's Free Treats made a few "it's been warm lately" comments in her blog. So I went to go look at her "About Me" stuff - she's in Australia.
Whilst there, I noted a blog she follows called "Walking Prescott". I paused - our Prescott? Here in Arizona? Shore 'nuff.
Whilst perusing "Walking Prescott" the blogger commented on the lovely pictures "Warren" had taken at the Tucson Botanical Gardens!
(Typical Tucson 2-degrees of separation!)
Well, of course I went to go look at "Touch the Wind" - and, yes, the pictures are lovely. More so the hummingbird pictures from 1/5/09. And, yes, Warren seems to live and blog in TUCSON!!!
(But I gotta wonder if the amazing Hummingbird pictures were from the camera he inadvertently dunked in a fountain. You should read how he dried out the camera! Intrepid!)
And he gets around, too! I hadn't realized they'd finally gotten around to moving the Tiki head from the old miniature golf course - and he has pictures of the Tiki-packing!
He's also got some great pictures of Winterhaven (many of my favorites decorated houses from this year!) and a grand photo-perspective of our new-ish"Photo Enforcement". He made me laugh out loud.
Well done. Me thinks I'll have to check on Mr. Warren's blog for a bit. Spiffy.

We now return to our unscheduled blog exploration (and I'll try not to get distracted again).

Cool - the musical inserts are a daily thing. Eclectic. It works.
I like the way she writes. The way she describes details so you can almost see the memory she's offering. She sounds a little sad sometimes. Perhaps that goes with the holidays. Reminiscing. Missing folks or longing for the easy joy and lighter perspective of childhood.
I also like the glimpse of Australia and New Zealand where she grew up (I think - I've only read a little over a month's worth of blogs.)
She's made some lovely quilts. Grand Colors.
I think I'd like to read, see, and hear more from Meegie in Australia.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Meme 2008

I've been tripping over "meme"s right and left.
They appear to be lists of questions to inspire thought and answer.
I also looked it up and found this description: "a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation);"

So...here's one to try...

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

Made a Tri-fold knitter's bowl. (Knit-wise, that's pretty exciting!)
Worked almost a normal year - company was only ahead by a couple of days by 12/31!
Joined Ravelry, started blogging and figured out how to use a digital camera.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Didn't make any...know not to make any. Experience indicates I should resolve to do something other than make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I knitted 3 baby blankets.
But no one "close" to me personally. 1 person I work with and the daughters of 2 of my friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My Uncle passed away a few months ago.

5. What countries did you visit?

None live and in person...lots via the Internet. (Yes, I'm counting the great "Where the Hell is Matt" Video.)

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

More sleep.
No, more will-power. That would cover more sleep and a whole buncha other stuff.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I generally don't remember dates. I remember taking GreyStroke to the Vet for the last time. I remember participating in an amazing piece-work knitting class. I remember lots of things - but I can't tell you the exact date they happened unless I look at a calendar.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Keeping GreyStroke alive and comfortable 6 months longer than anyone else could have and getting BobCat back to a healthy, comfortable life.
Non-cat-wise...offered a modicum of comfort to the Yarn Harlot when folks were less than kind.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Trusting people I shouldn't and feeling like the betrayal is my fault.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Mostly sleep-deprivation.
Experienced my second Colonoscopy (2nd one was WAY better than the 1st experience. Ok, 1st experience was a bit traumatizing and skewed my "anticipation" for the 2nd.)

11. What was the best thing someone bought you?

The digital Camera from my In-laws.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The DH - was pretty nifty this last year. More so than usual.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

General Greed in the world inspiring Mtg. Failure and financial collapse due to bull-s**t speculation investing.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills. Vet Bills. Yarn. Chocolate.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Yarn. Accomplishing some serious knitting.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Can't remember what it's called...that's pretty memorable, huh?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

Fatter or thinner?
 Some thinner.
Happier or sadder?
 A little happier.
Richer or poorer?
 Richer on several levels.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Sleep. (Redundant answer...guess I need to do something about that...)

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Trying to please other people.

20. How do you plan to spend Christmas?

At home watching movies with BobCat and knitting. Christmas light sparkling.
Egg Nog. (DH had to work)

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

All over again.

22. How many one night stands?

Not even.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Big Bang Theory.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Not too many folks that actually inspire "hate". The Hitler-esque dictators...but they're not new from this year...

25. What was the best book you read?

7th Harry Potter book? I can't remember pulling any all-nighters reading.
"Witch for Hire" was interesting enough I bought the sequels...
Each evening treating myself with a chapter from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

New for this year...don't think there is one. Pretty pleased with Josh Groben's stuff.

27. What did you want and get?

Yarn. A swift.

28. What did you want and not get?

The Master Bath finished when and how it was supposed to have been.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

There seems to have been a shortage of movie-going in my life...

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 46 and my spiffy husband took me out for a lovely dinner, dessert, and a memorable and fun walk through WinterHaven.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Less greed/idiots pushing companies into bankruptcy

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?


33. What kept you sane?

Husband, friends, cats, knitting

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Hugh Jackman.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Gay marriage in the US

36. Who do you miss?

My friend Angie.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Got to know Barbara a little where I work - quite spiffy.
Re-met Cynthia when she moved back to Tucson.
Vicki at Grandma's Spinning Wheel.

38. What was the best thing you ate?

Several things are coming to mind and making my mouth water...but I can't pick a "best"...

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008?
I can't expect other people to prove my value or even to appreciate what I do.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
From "Sugarland" - "Got to be something more." "I need a little less hard time; I need a little more bliss."
A lot of the "hard time" I do to myself - working too much. Not sleeping enough.
Speaking of which - off to bed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The 12th Day of Christmas

Today is the 12th day of Christmas. After today, I have no righteous excuse to leave my Christmas lights up at home or in my cube at work. Sigh.
Yes, I'll take them down, but it looks so dull afterwards.
It's nice to see Sparkly lights in your cube when you have to work too late. Trust me, I know.

Blessings: BobCat's trip to the Vet today yielded that he has gained some weight back, he has some tarter on his teeth but nothing that requires intervention, and the addition of the Lactulose and canned pumpkin to his diet has addressed his Mega Colon issues nicely.

Behold the happy cat-monster as he attacks an innocent Tennis Ball:

And then my socks because I got too close.
(Yes, I know the picture is blurry but you can see the teeth closing in on my toes, can't you?)

Oy, he is swift - I'm surprised I ever get non-blurry pictures of him - particularly when my toes are in peril!!

When not extracting my socks from claws, I've been working on finishing a variety of items:

Look - the Knitted Ornament Cover patterns from the actual Pattern book come out just fine:

Um, well, yes...there was one more that I made and gave away without taking a photograph...

More finished Felted Mobius baskets done and delivered:
Look closely - there ares some tiny beads in three different shades of sunshine sewn around the lip of this basket!

Ha - you'll just have to believe me that I sewed beads on the aqua one. (Yes, that's a dishcloth in the background).

This one got beaded too - and has a surprise sewn inside!

And I'm making headway on Jennifer's afghan:

Well - this is an old picture.
I'm about 1/2 way now!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Blogs to Explore - Random Choices

Happy New Year!!
Did you start off your new year with Black-eyed peas for good luck?
My best friend invited me to celebrate the first day of the new year with her family - an amazing group of people that can really cook and every one carries a lovely soul.
(Sigh). I had a nice afternoon, meal, evening.

I scared myself the other day when I took a look at the Blogs to Explore folder.
("Ack...there's how many!?!?")
So, I'm going to try and look at a couple of the blogs stashed there.

The One Minute Writer - truly an excellent premise.
The visitor is given a topic/question and a timer and asked to respond in 60 seconds.
Hence - a writer in 1 minute. Spiffy.
My initial issue being, I don't login at home everyday. Work PC time is for work. I excel at the guilt thing (i.e. have an amazing work ethic), so I don't surf the net or play around at work.
So...60 seconds a day is challenging when you don't login daily.
I'm being picky about the daily thing, huh? It doesn't say I have to do it daily...it says I can.

However...the premise is REALLY good.
There's a push-button timer to get the adrenaline going...there's a subject to wax rhapsodic upon. I like the questions posed although I doubt I could answer some in 60 seconds...I tend to be verbose (bet you hadn't noticed (wry grin)).
And it looks like a "winner" is selected of the One Minute Writers. More spiffy-ness.
I wonder if it cuts you off at 60 seconds or if it's an honor thing and you have to stop typing.
Yep, I need to go participate. Hang on, I'll be back in 60 seconds!
Ok - it took me longer than 60 seconds ('cause I was being "blond").
I expected some 60 second magic, intervention, or... something.
It's a blog.
I needed to add a comment to the blog like I would any other. ("duh" on my part).
AND...I was clumsy in starting the timer and getting a comment window open. (wry grin)
Otherwise it went pretty well. I do type rather quickly so I finished (near as I can tell, being timer-challenged) in about 70 seconds. I restrained myself from going further. Yep, it's an honor-bound 60 seconds.
Mine was an "OK" answer to today's question as to if I view the world a better place now or when I was a child. (and, no, I wasn't awarded best comment that day.)
I don't know that I'll "follow" this blog, but I think it would be spiffy to visit on occasion!

Ok, pause to suggest you go look see. It's not a blog to follow but it's lovely to see!
One of Blogger's Blogs of Note referenced it (Things to Look at).
This person does amazing stuff with paper (quilling, drawing...all sorts of nifty stuff - she(?) obviously is quite talented.): Yulia Brodskaya - go look. Quite spiffy!!

Next Blog Exploration: This doesn't bode well for me. It may just be that I'm too tired to explore blogs tonight.
Here's the deal...the link/address is "The Lucky Nest" but the header on the page says "ellie quent." Blog name change? Something I'm not clever enough to comprehend?
Dunno. On to the reading of the blog...
Hmmm - seems I've arrived just after a re-design of the blog. She seems to have many blog talents and is available for hire. Blog Templates. Interesting.
She has a nice way with words. Hmmm - an extremely nice way with words.
She's supporting a sick friend with WAY clever top-ten lists....go read the one she posted on the blog. There's a lot of clever stuff she finds and pulls into her blog and a lot she creates herself. She was quite involved with Election ponderings - and seems to have gotten even more political junk mail than I did, poor woman. The right guy won and her sanity appears to be intact.

Well, I jumped back to pre-election times...and she's still clever.
I'm intrigued, but not addicted. Could be I'm not clever enough to keep up. Distinct possibility with my current sleep shortage and excess of work-involvement.
For now...I'm not going to become an ellie quent daily follower. I expect I'll go back to visit.
As previously noted, I'm intrigued. Well see how I do on a later visit.

Here's a third for me to peer at: The Yarn Yard.
Good name. And a Ravelry Member too. And the first blog entry I'm finding evidence of common sense (!), an interest in books/reading (excellent), she appears to be very fibre talented.
Well, yeah, I'm going to read more than 1 entry...give me a bit, I'll be back.
Ok, "Fibre talented" appears to be an understatement - she's professional. From Scotland! (I seem to wander international...) This is the blog for a shop that hand dyes fiber, yarn and roving/spinning stuff. I'm trying not to drool.

Well, she posts some lovely photos on her blog. Towers of roving to "Spin a Sweater" from (woof) in gorgeous colors, finished products, amaryllis plants...but I'm not getting hooked on it. Again...I'm doing the blog exploring when I should be sleeping so I'm probably not doing it justice. Spiffy - she has a list of her top 10 books - "Plain and Simple" by Sue Bender is listed! I'm actually re-reading that one just now. Her comment that it's a "gentle book" is an excellent description.
But I'm not feeling like I need to come back to see what happens next...I feel like I should be asleep. Rude of me. I'm also going to chalk this one up for a re-explore later. Talented woman with commendable taste in books (although she doesn't care for Sci-Fi/Fantasy...Tsk).
And I'm for bed.