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Friday, April 23, 2010

To Play "Catch-up" or not...that is the question.

Where to start? How to start?
(I guess those questions would be the start...)

2009 was amazing and taxing. Blogging, crafting, exploring Ravelry, family loss, taking a lot of pictures and knitting classes, inheriting the little black monster-cat, and even taking an amazing trip to Portland.
I was expanding my comfort zone some. Not always on purpose.

2010 is paradoxical and I'm feeling pretty clueless.

Big Brother.
The unexpected passing of my sister-in-law last August has shifted my reality. I've been spending more time with my big brother. I think I've been of some use and sometime useless.

I am finding the big brother - who was my hero as a child and who was sensitive, perplexing, and devastated at the loss of his first wife to Cancer - is now, after the loss of a 2nd wife to Cancer, a very different person than I had thought.
I admire some aspects of his current personality - how spiritual, intelligent, and generally calm he is. (Actually, he was always pretty calm and intelligent.) However, I have profound issues with some of his political perspectives and the lack of tolerance he has for things that are important to me. Which means he's probably not too tickled with me, either. His perspective of politics, the world, ecology, taxes, and...well most every topic I can come up with...is dire and there is ALWAYS a conspiracy at the core.
I suspect some of it some of it is the influence of a friend of his and maybe a lot of it is the grief and, I think, depression.
It is entirely possible he has always been this way and I just didn't have a frigging clue.

I don't know how to explain it or make a difference. My tolerant political leanings and semi-tree hugging mentality doesn't inspire any respect from himself.
(Dark humor - I just got the irony of referring to my older brother as "Big Brother" considering his opinions. Ha.)

Enough of that bit of emotional baggage. I'll keep trying to be there for him, but I need to separate the little sister blind-trust that is beating the hell out of my self-worth and come up with a healthier perspective. Bleh. Sigh.


CooPurr is still a gentle, sweet giant. He weighed in at 18 pounds today at the Vet. (He recently discovered where we've been feeding Gryphon kitten chow and CooPurr thinks high-calorie kitten chow is quite yummy.)

Gryphon is nearly a year old. He is handsome, rambunctious, ornery, chews like a puppy {ugh}, and makes me laugh pretty much all day.

He and CooPurr play well together and dash all over the house.
Gryphon is determined to be the Alpha-cat.
CooPurr doesn't really care who is Alpha-Cat.
But when Gryphon was being particularly obnoxious and bite-y last week - CooPurr put up with it for a while and then, with great restraint, made his opinion known. Gryphon was a little slow to catch on. CooPurr patiently indicated "NO" (like 7 times) ...and then the claws slowly come out to prickle Gryphon's forehead where CooPurr had been holding him at bay with one big silver-edged paw.
No damage done and Gryphon finally got a clue and went off to attack a kitty condo.

On Easter, I had to let my BobCat go.  He was about 19 or 20 years old and had been having Thyroid/Kidney/weight/intestinal issues since December. The Thyroid thing kicked in coinciding with a change in meds so it took a little over a week to step back to the old dosage, reduce the dosage, take him off the meds to find out the sudden loose BM and weight loss had nothing to do with his Mega-Colon meds.
I would get him stabilized and then he would have another bout of weight loss.
He ate REALLLLLLY well the week of Easter but Saturday and Sunday he was seriously failing, wasn't purring or comfortable, and we took him to the Vet Sunday night to let him go.

CooPurr and Gryphon have been doing their level best to be charming and entertaining at all times, but BobCat had my heart and I miss him terribly.

Such a happy blog today - sorry. Such is life just now.

Internet Community.
During the above, I had been sporadic in my Ravelry visits, blog reading, and obviously absent on my own blog. {understatement}

However, I have gotten somewhat acquainted with iTunes!

I purchased a used iPhone from my Big Brother. The phone part is disabled so I essentially have an iTouch with a Camera. I have purchased just a few applications (Apps) .
I tend to study a lot before I buy.
(Why yes, the first Apps I got were knitting-related. Truly- you're not surprised, are you?)

The iPhone has A LOT more memory than my recently-upgraded MP3 player. And we won't get into the improvements it has over my very ancient Zire PDA.
(The DH was glad to receive the MP3 player as a gently-used bit of fun technology. I cleaned off all the podcasts, audiobooks, Opera, musicals, and most of the Josh Groben to leave him a selection of Vince Guaraldi, classic Jazz, Eric Clapton and Journey to get him started.)

I so GET the iTunes infatuation now.
I think they need to re-vamp their search engine and step in when people don't fix buggy apps in a reasonable time period, but other-wise - pretty darn spiffy.

Probably my favorite thing - it is SOOOOO easy to get Pod Casts. {happy sigh}
I'm sampling a lot and subscribing to the ones that tickle my heart and fancy.
I'm "living in the past" of these pod casts - listening from the beginning up to current day. I'm nearly "back to the future" on a few of these, my favorites:
  • Knitmore Girls Podcast - Charming, fun, educational, and the mother-daughter relationship of these two special ladies is heart-ful! They make me smile and are inspiring some seriously adventurous start-itis.
  • Sticks and String - "A podcast by an Australian bloke who knits" - interesting, excellent taste in music, and a lovely resonant voice - yes with a nifty accent. He also makes me smile with a genial humor.
  • CogKNITive - I was referred to Dr. Gemma by the Knitmore Girls and she is funny, intelligent, and very interesting. It's kind of like hanging out with a comfortable, good friend who is really well-adjusted. {wry grin}
  • Craftlit - the ever-spiffy and way-more-famous-than-I-had-a-clue, Heather Ordover, presenting crafting and life insights as well as a really cool Literary Professor intro/interpretation of some excellent reads. I started over from the beginning and re-listened to "Pride and Prejudice". {Excellent book - love the humor!}
    (I have to wonder if Heather and David Reidy of Sticks and String have ever interviewed each other. Two such lovely voices in one podcast would be a treat!)
  • Gives Good Knit - We first met Tika on the Knitmore Girls podcast and she's gone and started her own podcast. This girl READS voraciously! I really like the goals she sets - inspiring. I do like her book reviews as well and she might be somewhat responsible for my recent reading binge.
  • Here's to Ewe - these two ladies have so much fun pod casting. Both have great laughs. I'm still in the early casts but their fibre focus is on our end of the country (West). I'm also becoming quite intrigued about the Knitting Guild Association Master's Program. (Being pursued by one of these pod casters and also by Tika from Gives Good Knit.) Hmmmmm.
  • Weavecast - feeding my starving Weaving aspirations. So much to learn. Most especially - how can I dress/use the loom without Gryphon eating my warp and ending up at the Vet. {oy}.
I'm going to stop here or this post will overdose on Pod Casts.
(Which wouldn't be such a bad thing, really...)
Anyway - lov'n iTunes and ... (don't tell my PC) I'm definitely leaning towards an Apple in my future.

Knitting. (You KNEW this topic would be in here somewhere...)
  • I got to take two classes with Gwen Bortner at Purls - she does excellent documentation for her classes.
  • I purchased my sister-in-law's sock club membership at Purls. They provide a sock pattern (sometimes a published pattern, or a new, custom pattern, or a pattern from Knitty) to compliment the new sock yarn before it is available to the general public. We get first yarn-dibs and a discount on the sock yarn, and yes, some stash enhancement has occurred.
  • I ALSO joined the Blue Moon Fiber Arts 2010 Rockin' Sock Club. I've received 2 of my 6 sock club packets. Each has two patterns (amazing patterns thus far, I must say) and a skein of lovely Socks that Rock Yarn in a special/new colorway. I am a teeny bit disappointed to find there is a definite leaning toward the pink end of the color spectrum featured in the first two skeins. Ok, the first one is more like a fuchsia and I'm rather fond of it. The 2nd one - is definitely pink and... leaf green - and the hackles of my pink-aversion are up. However, my mother-in-law and an good work friend LOVE those colors and I could make some serious points knitting socks for one of those more fond of pink than myself. I am hoping the next delivery will not be pink-oriented. We shall see...
    (Disclaimer - I am aware that my pink-aversion is peculiar to me {and a few other ladies of stellar good taste ;-) } and that it is in direct contrast to one of the most beloved female stereotypes. Just think of it as "more pink for you". )
  • I participated in the 2010 Winter Ravelympics AND I received 6 medals for finishing 2 "WIPs" - Works in Progress, and for starting and finishing 2 projects from scratch:
  • 1.  WIPS Dancing Event - finishing the Seamingly Simple Vest (I'm really tickled with it!)
    and a knitted beaded bracelet!
    2. Felting Event and Bag Jump Event - Knit and Felted this Bucket Bag (love the colors)
    3. Felting Event and Bobsled Event (knit for pets) - knit and felted this Moebius Cat bed for CooPurr  (yes, but Gryphon helped me take the before-felting pictures).  
    I think that's about enough blathering for now. If you made it this far down, you are a brave, intrepid soul! Blessings be on you and yours.

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