Thursday, July 31, 2008

Waiting For The Lightening To Strike

Shhh...we're going to have to whisper.  I'm really sorry, but there is nothing else for it.  I can't afford to attract any attention right now.  If we all just sit here in the dark, keep the blackout shades in place and don't make any sudden movements, we should be fine.  

I'd like to show you my progress on the dishcloth I am currently knitting.  Look quickly but don't say anything.  For the love of all that is holy, just look.  Don't make a sound.

Here it is:

Dishcloth.  Don't argue.  That would involve making a sound and I believe I was rather clear about the rules on this matter.

Thanks for playing along.  You guys are champs, that's what you are.  I'm sort of at the point in the dishcloth knitting where I have to be a bit careful.  I honestly didn't think I'd get this far so I kind of didn't have a plan for how to dodge The Blog Sweater Curse which has hovered menacingly over my noggin like a dark, threatening storm cloud since November of 2005.  I don't even dare to call this project by its former name:  The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater.  Once the Things We Shall Not Call Sleeves were attached, I found it harder and harder to lie to the dark forces.  It is very, very likely that I shall soon feel the sharp sting of a vicious smiting.  But, I'm forging ahead anyway.  If I can just keep plugging away at what is now called The Dishcloth, I might just make it to the finish line before bad things start to happen.

Mum's the word here, people.  Just hang in there with me for a little bit longer.  It'll either be finished or it will blow up in my face spectacularly.  Either way, it will be over and we can all breathe freely again.

Isn't it nice how I include you in my angst?  Self-centered?  Me?  Oh, I don't think so...

And this isn't the only lightening strike to hit today, I fear.  The summer of '08 will forever be remembered as the Summer Of The Never-Ending Storms.  They just keep a-comin' and a-comin'!  Today was no exception.  The clouds threatened all morning and, by late afternoon, the deluge was upon us.  It came with a healthy helping of thunder and lightening, followed by the National Weather Service's helpful broadcasts regarding what I should be doing now that the floods are upon us.  Roads in my area are closing and apparently I should not be attempting to ford any streams or rivers in the near future.  Which I wasn't really planning on doing, but now that I can't, I suddenly feel the urge to cross running water in the worst possible way.  It seems I could do that rather easily right now (albeit at my peril) simply by heading over to the next town where they get all the good flooding.  I do not get that here despite being mere minutes away.  

I'm not good with rules sometimes.  Mostly I am...but I just hate it when someone tells me I can't do something.  It makes me all defiant and stuff.  But, fear not.  I promise I'll just sit here and knit away on my dishcloth this evening and that I won't go out looking for any fast moving streams to navigate.

I'm needed here, anyway.  I can't be out crossing bodies of water like some modern day Magellan.  During last Thursday's scheduled thunder-boomer, I learned something new about my new roommate, The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  It seems that he is wicked a-scairt of thunder.  Lightening isn't anything he would want to write home about either.  In fact, I made chicken again tonight and he never even peeked out of whatever hidey-hole in which he is currently huddled.  Poor baby.  Even the succulent scent of baked chicken wasn't enough to get him past his fears.  I'll give some extra Vita-Kitty treats tonight just to make everyone feel all better.

The AGK in happier this morning before the heavens opened up and gave him the heebie-jeebies.

You may now all return to using your regular talking-type voices.  Just remember the new codes, 'kay.  The TTWNGUTBAS is now just a dishcloth.  Pass it on.  I'll let you know when radio silence is lifted.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Well-Timed Bullets

Happy Wednesday and welcome to Sheepish Annie's Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  Tonight's bullets are brought to you courtesy of the fact that I have knit not a stitch.  I'm hoping to distract you from that...

*Wednesday is Farmer's Market day.  I have done fairly well with making my way to where the vegetables live once per week.  

*I do not like vegetables.  

*Here's today's haul:

Heirloom 'maters, onions, carrots and blueberries...

*Blueberries were the goal.  The other stuff is incidental.  I'm planning on blueberry waffles this weekend.  

*Here's some artsy shots I like to call my Boldness Of Onions Series:

*That's 'cuz the onions are all up front and whatnot...

*I stopped at the grocery store on the way to the Farmer's Market to get some chicken.  Vidalia onions were also on special so I got some of those thinking that there wouldn't be any at the Farmer's Market.  But there were...

*So I dried the Vidalias in Mr. Dehydrator for future use.  

*My insurance company discontinued its rewards program for logging exercise time so now I won't earn panini presses and t-shirts for all my hard work.  I'm a little irritated because I had 800 points saved up when they discontinued the program.

*Which isn't fair to them at all because I closed the email account they would have used to alert me to their program's end date.  

*However, I do find it to be a little bit weird that the program ended on July first.  I've been logging points for weeks.  And weeks.  You'd think they'd stop letting me do that if the program no longer existed...

*Tonight's dinner was meant to be roasted chicken breast and veggies.  I saved time by putting them all in one pot.

*Which would have been brilliant had I thought to cook the hearty vegetables a bit before adding the chicken.

*I ate chicken for dinner.  

*The veggies had to cook longer and they're finally done but now I don't really want them because I'm all full from the chicken.

*Eating healthy is really hard.  You have to do math and stuff.  

*Time...temperature...rate of chicken consumption...

*In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I must admit that I did not actually eat the carrots I bought last week.  I tried.  I really did.  

*By the time I convinced myself it was a good idea, they'd gotten kinda mushy.

*Again...timing is everything.

*In case anyone was wondering, this was the first time I've cooked chicken since bringing home the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.

*Also in the event of wondering-type behavior, I must tell you that AGKs really like chicken.  The scent seems to drive them wild.  

*When they are denied chicken, they will resort to sneaking sips of your coffee.  Just so you know...

*Big, Fluffy Kitties do not do this sort of thing.  They are ladylike and understand that a woman's coffee is not to be toyed with.  

*Kitty lips in the coffee...GAH!!!!!!!!!!!

How'd I do?  Were you thoroughly distracted from my lack of knitting?  I certainly hope so.  I'll see if I can't flip some yarn around later tonight just to make up for my irresponsible ways.  No promises, though.

It's not like I've had my recommended daily dose of coffee after all...


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nothing Up My Sleeve..

We are back on schedule here at Sheepish Annie's House Of Knitting And General Mayhem.  After falling off the rails a bit last week due to a rather poorly timed headache, I returned to my regularly scheduled participation in the Summer Of Compensatory Knitting Socialization (S.O.C.K.S.) program.  The curriculum is rigorous and, while a sick day is allowed every now and again, it is not encouraged.  If I am going to spend my winters knitting in solitude and losing all ability to interact with the human race, then I must use the summers to re-learn all this stuff.  That's just how it is.

Plus, what with being a knitting group and all, it's a really good place to go knit.  I wasn't knitting a sock, though.  I don't know exactly what it was I was knitting, but I can say for certain that it wasn't a sleeve.  Nope.  Not a sleeve.  Because that would imply that I was working on The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be a Sweater and that I was doing so in full view of the public.  This is really just spitting in the face of The Blog Sweater Curse that has so plagued me the last few years and I would never do such a thing.

I admit only that it was a tube with a cuff and that there is another one sitting in the knitting basket waiting to be attached to a bigger tube.  That's all I'm saying.

It was nice to be back at The Yarn Sellar after missing out last week.  Attendance was impressive and extra chairs were needed.  There were just oodles of opportunities for being socialized!  

As pleased as I was to be back in the knitting community again, not everyone was as thrilled by my decision to leave the house.  There are those who find this to be rather upsetting, traumatic even.

Separation Anxiety doesn't know from sleeves.  

I'm looking into maternity leave from my teaching position for the fall.  I don't see any way I can go back to work.  I'm sure they will understand...


Monday, July 28, 2008

A Clinking, Clacking, Tumbled Up Pile

OK.  Sweater people...tell me how you do it.  It's a freakin' mess and I don't know how you manage.  Plus it is getting crazy costly.  You all must be, like, millionaires or something...

It's not the actual knitting.  I seem to be managing that part.  As far as I can tell, the Blog Sweater Curse has yet to catch onto the fact that I am knitting stealthily away on The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater.  It's probably off torturing some other hapless knit/blogger.  I assume that it will turn its most horrible gaze back my way any day now.  But, for the moment, things seem to be under control.

My problem is with all the needles.  When I started this thing, I was under the impression that I had oodles of size 6 needles.  I've inherited, purchased and somehow managed to magically acquire needles of varying types and sizes over the years so it was more than likely that I had needles which would fit the bill.  It turned out that I didn't.  In fact, I seem to have inherited, purchased and somehow managed to magically acquire more size 5's and 7's than any living human being on this planet will ever need.  But 6's?  Not sure what happened there...

And the few that I did have were not to my liking anyway.  So I got some more.  Then it seemed that I needed some dpns but the ones I had weren't long enough to suit me so I went out to get more of those, but they didn't have any that were long enough because it seems that my definition of "long enough" is just unreasonable in the world of knitting.  I purchased some straight needles thinking I could lop them off and make them into dpns, but then I realized that this was just crazy.  I wasn't going to do that, no matter what my intentions or how good they might be.  So I did some stuff using that two circular needles thing, but that required more circs and I figured, while I was at it, I should probably get a shorter version for the second sleeve since the whole dpn thing wasn't working out.  But that wasn't really short enough for me to be knitting the first part of the sleeve and, as the dpns weren't long enough, I had to go back to the two circs method.  This was unappealing but certainly doable as I now had something like three thousand size 6 circular needles.

And all the while, I keep purchasing more and more needles in the futile hope that things will finally start to make sense or that one set will be magically "right."  Each and every godforsaken piece of this Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater is hanging from one, sometimes two and often three versions of a size 6 needle and I am starting to think that I may have been going about this incorrectly.  The book didn't say anything about having to cash in savings bonds to keep up with the needle needs.  

I also think they might be multiplying in the dark of night.  The pile of size 6 needles just keeps getting bigger and bigger and the clicking and clanking while they bash against one another is starting to get to me a little bit.  Just a little.

(Insert maniacal laughter here)

Now that I think of it, this is exactly the sort of thing that a Blog Sweater Curse might do just to keep me guessing.  Yeah!  I'll bet that's it!  The Curse knew that I was making progress and decided to step up with some new form of torture!  Well, I'm here to tell you, Mr. Curse...that isn't gonna work!  Bah!  You think you're so smart...but I'm on to you!  You and your wily ways...I laugh in your face!  Ha!  Ha-ha!!!  People said I was crazy to defy a curse so strong as a Blog Sweater Curse.

Well, who's crazy now, Mr. Cursey-curse?  Who's crazy NOW?????????

Some say that the endless clinking, clacking and tangling of the ever-growing pile of needles is enough to drive a knitter mad after a while.  But I'm not seeing any evidence of that.  None whatsoever...

Well...there was that fleeting glimpse of the cats playing together with the Automated Kitty Toy this morning.  That was probably something of an hallucination.  These felines do not play together.  Ever. Otherwise, I fail to see any real difference in my mental status.  But, I'll keep an eye on things.  You know.  Just in case.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Have My Reasons

You know...I think Kath may have just hit the nail on the head when she suggested that the addition of an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty to my household might be part of the reason behind the lack of progress on my list of summer projects.  It does make a certain amount of sense.  I find that I seem to spend a rather inordinate amount of time tending to kitty-related issues around here these days.  Plus, there's all the experiments.

No...not like animal experimenting.  That's wrong.  I'm talking more along the lines of Things I Do Because They Interest And Amuse Me.  And maybe because I need a hobby.  Whatever...

Here's a fun trick I learned.  It seems that Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties really like to have their noses rubbed.  We call 'em Snooty Rubs over here, in case you are interested.

Mmmmm...Me Luvs Mine Snooty Rubz!

In fact, when you do a Snooty Rub you will observe a rather interesting phenomenon.

Automatic And Spontaneous Reverting To Mouth-Breather Status

Even more interesting, this phenomenon will continue even after the subject is no longer experiencing Snooty Rubbing.

The hand is removed and yet the subject's need to catch flies orally remains fully in effect.

He'll stay like that for up to ten minutes.  This amuses me beyond all measure.  Is it mean to post pictures of your cat on the inter-webs with a stupid expression on his face?  Maybe even a little bit wrong in the moral sense?  Probably.  But I don't care.  I don't feel badly.  Not even one little bit.

You see, my own snooty is smarting somewhat right now.  It seems that, yesterday while I was conducting a rather brilliantly worded lecture on the reasons why it is wrong to eat the yarn, I underestimated how closely the AGK was listening.  In fact, I was under the impression that he was not listening at all.  Which is why I moved in a little closer.  I thought that proximity might add a little more emphasis to my words of wisdom.  

And that's about the time he snapped me right on the beak.  Drew blood, even.  Apparently he was more aware of my presence than I thought.  And clearly we were of differing opinions with regard to the matter of yarn consumption.  

I still maintain that it is wrong to eat yarn.  However, in the future, I shall make a point of delivering this opinion from a safer distance.

I don't have any problem with posting funny looking pictures in retaliation, though.  What's he gonna do about it?  I'll just rub his widdle nose and he'll be out like a light, breathing from the mouth and maybe drooling a little bit.  

Heck, I may have even discovered the newest method in feline behavior modification!  Lectures are old news and the fastest way to a bloody nose.  The secret is in the Snooty Rub!!!  I'll just need to run a few more tests to be sure...

Don't.  Even.  Think.  About.  It.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Not In The Cards

I got up this morning thinking that, with the end of July in sight, it might not be a bad idea to break out The Index Cards Of Summer Organization.  I haven't so much as glanced at them since school let out back in June.  I didn't think it was a problem, though.  I remember what I wrote.  I was certain of it.

Every summer for the past few years, I've taken some time before school ends to think about the sorts of things I'd like to accomplish during the lazy, hazy days of summer.  I don't have to work (I should...but I don't) and it is a nice time to catch up on all that stuff I say I'd like to do but never seem to have the time to address.  I then break out a few index cards, give them catchy headings like "knitting," "spinning" and "find the carpet under all the crap you've let pile up" then list all the grand things I will accomplish.

I know I'm not going to do it all.  It's more of a motivational tool than anything else.  And what could be more motivating than a nice list from which you can cross off great feats of stuff-doing?

I unearthed this year's cards from the depths of the coffee table layers early this afternoon.  I had to take a minute to admire the breathtakingly beautiful penmanship and the creative use of sparkly blue gel pen.  Very nice...  With that out of the way, I prepared myself for some back-patting since I had obviously managed to deal with some of those listed tasks.  How could I have not?

Now, I knew that some of the things on the list had been changed a bit.  That always happens.  Sometimes I think of a better way to deal with a chore.  Other times, I realize that what I've planned to do is not really within my skill set.  And, let's face it, sometimes the things we want to do are just outside our ability to control.  Still...I fully expected to be able to cross off at least a couple things.  It's been over a month since I exited the hallowed halls of Small Town School, USA.  Something had to have reached the finish line.

Imagine my horror at discovering that I have done none of it.  Not one thing.  I seem to remember starting some of them.  I also have clear recollections of reminding myself to keep doing these things.  I am relatively certain that I wandered around in the vicinity of where these things should be getting done...

I just haven't done any of them.  At least not in a way that might lead to my crossing any of them off the list and being able to sleep the sleep of the just.  

I blame the sparkly blue gel pens.  They just didn't lend enough of a serious aura to the whole thing.  Next year, I'm going with orange.  Or purple.  Maybe without the sparkles.  That should do the trick.  

I fear my discovery has not really led to any further work on list completion.  Basically, the sum total of my day looks something like this:

Makes for a lovely picture...but that's about it.

The book?  Not on the list.  The second sleeve of The Thing Which Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater?  Totally not on the list.  And chocolate chip cookies?  They are so far from the list as to be considered Anti-List Material.  

I guess I'm just going to have to accept that this will not be a good year for things written on index cards.  I suppose the world will not come to a crashing halt because of this.  In addition, I am trying to break the Blog Sweater Curse which is a noble endeavor if you think about it hard enough and put on your Justifying Hat.  Besides, I checked with my home-based supervisors and they seemed to think that things were running pretty much on schedule these days.  They had only one concern when they called me into the kitchen for my daily performance review.

I was late with the afternoon snack delivery.

This sort of thing could also be a contributing factor in my lack of list attention, now that I think about it...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thankful For Afterthoughts

I awoke this morning with places to go and people to see.  I don't normally have plans.  At least not those that are outside the usual sort of routine.  I need consistency.  Otherwise, I get all confused and heaven only knows where I'll end up.  

Today, though, was Family Lunch Day.  This monthly event, normally observed at a local eatery by the retired folks on the maternal end of The Sheep Family, is open to all with the appropriate lineage.  Since I am currently on vacation and have papers to prove my bloodline, I was invited along.  This is, in effect, a free lunch for those of us with accommodating Mommy Sheep so I wasn't going to miss it.  I usually try to make it when school isn't in session.

Getting out the door for my lunch with those of similar DNA was not quite as easy as I'd thought it might be, though.  It seems that Prometheus The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty was feeling needy today.  He dogged my every step, if you'll excuse the sort of mixed metaphor.  There were moments where I would have accidentally kicked him across the room were he not so solid a beast.  I suppose there is really no excuse for my not knowing he was there.  He was singing and trilling merrily away most of the morning and that should have alerted me.  

When it became clear that Mommy #1 was busy and he grew bored with the automated kitty toy, he turned his gi-normous head to Mommy #2.  The Big, Fluffy Kitty has no real interest in mothering this interloper.  None whatsoever.  He tried his best, though.  He rolled about on the floor in front of her, working ever closer like some sort of Absurdly Gi-normous Inchworm.  He put on his cutest face.  When this failed to get the desired response, he waited until she was occupied with the washing of her tummy and crept up behind her, tentatively reaching out a paw to touch her head.  He chickened out three times before she noticed and scowled him into submission.

With no other options open to him, he decided that the direct approach was best and began actively stalking her.  This was the worst possible choice he could have made and soon led to hissing, growling and the raising of paws in warning.  

He returned his gi-normous attentions to Mommy #1.  I honestly didn't think I was going to make it out the door.  With minutes to spare, I finally resorted to the Fake Out.  This maneuver entails pretending to go to the living room, perhaps even stating that this is your intended destination, then quickly changing directions, grabbing the purse and throwing yourself bodily out the door before a large orange mass can hurtle himself at you.

Is it any wonder I ate my own weight in chicken, bacon, buns and fries at lunch?  No it is not.  Not at all.

By the time I got home, the thunderstorm warnings were back up, the AGK was beyond all hope of reason due to his having been left unattended for a few hours and I was a little woozy from all the chicken.  I took a nap.

This, not surprisingly, left little in the way of time for fibery pursuits.  What can I say?  That's just how it goes sometimes.

Fortunately, there were a couple of things I probably could have covered in a bit more thorough fashion yesterday while I was flinging bullet posts about with wild abandon.  I can use today to remedy that and the fiber will be covered.  First up, though, let's talk sorbet.

There were a couple of requests for pictures and procedures so, in spite of the fact that I was stuffed to the gills after lunch, I bit the bullet and served myself up some frozen goodness just for the photo op:

It was tough...but I powered through.

I looked at several recipes before deciding on the one I used.  As it turned out, though, I did not have enough raspberries for the recipe as written:

2 C water

1 1/3 C sugar

4 1/2 C raspberries

2-3 tsp. lemon juice

Combine water and sugar and bring to a boil then lower heat and let simmer for 6-8 minutes. Chill for 3 hours. Puree raspberries and lemon juice then strain. (You will have to push through a strainer) Discard seeds. Chill puree 2 hours (note: I chilled everything for much longer than I was told and the Sorbet Police have yet to show up)

Combine ingredients and process in your ice cream maker for about 30 minutes or until it looks like you want it to look.  You could also just put the whole thing in the freezer and stir it every once in a while for a less creamy, but just as yummy, dessert.

Because I had fewer berries (2 cups), I halved the water and used only one cup of sugar.  I didn't measure the lemon juice, but I'm guessing I used about a teaspoon and a half.  

It came out perfectly and was more than enough for several desserts.  Or a single dessert on a day when things haven't gone as well as you'd hoped...

The other thing I forgot to do yesterday (and for which I am now grateful) was to show the Shetland/silk blend I've been spinning.  Look!

Even with all the kitty tending, I filled a whole bobbin!

This has been slow going and has required that I let go of my belief that it should be spun perfectly.  I picked, flicked and carded it for as long as my patience would allow and this really wasn't enough to make for perfectly smooth batts.  Hence, I am going to my Handspun Yarn Should Look Handspun place.  It is not exactly even and, after several yards of laceweight production, it became clear to me through other endeavors that I stink at knitting lace.  After that epiphany, the yarn, she got fatter.  It's for the best.  Trust me.  

Otherwise, there has been little else to report today other than the completion of a sleeve and and the gathering of stitches onto waste yarn for later grafting in the hopes that this will be pleasing to The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater.  Sleeve the second was also started, but not to the point where it is all that impressive.  Any and all of the above fall into the Little Stuff category.  

I am really not capable of anything other than little stuff right now.  There is still a massive amount of chicken sandwich weighing me down and a large orange mass of fur who needs me more than any living thing should need another.  This, combined with the constant screech of the Emergency Alert Warnings on the television directing my attention to possible weather issues in counties nowhere near mine, has rendered me utterly spent.

It saddens me that it takes so little these days...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Very Berry WNBP

Wednesday is, once again, upon us.  Not quite sure what happened to Monday and Tuesday, but these things happen, I suppose.  The days...they blend.  Let's check out what the Wednesday Night Bullet Post has for us tonight:

*I continued in the fine tradition of visiting the local Farmer's Market this morning.  I promised myself that I would make every effort to spare one day per week to wander amongst the fresh produce feigning appreciation.

*I can feign with the best of 'em.

*Today, I went with the idea of scoring some berries.  Specifically, I wanted some raspberries.  Other ground-grown items were open for consideration as well.  But, raspberries were the goal.

Evidence of produce-type purchasing.

*I hadn't planned on carrots.  Not at all.  That just seemed crazy.  

*But then Mel had to go and put up a picture of some carrots and I got all carried away.  

*Carrotted away...

*They offered to take the tops off for me, but I said no because I thought they would make for a better picture.

*There is no limit to what I will do for you people.  Well...there is, actually.  I won't be your surrogate mother or let you talk me into wearing a dress.

*Mostly, though, I try to go the extra mile for you.  

*Did you know you can use carrot tops to dye fiber?

*Since I was right there, I also went to the Greenies Store.  

*That's a lie.  I would have gone anyway.  We were out of Greenies treats and certain Big, Fluffy Kitties will not stand for this.  I just wanted everyone to believe that I was being highly efficient and thinking ahead.

*For my feigned produce appreciation and remembering the cat treats, I decided that I'd earned a trip to the bookstore.  I can't remember the last time I purchased brand new books that didn't involve the use of a gift certificate.  But, I threw caution to the wind and did so today!

*I felt a little dirty...

*Raspberries, even very small amounts, are quite dear.  It was an extravagance and a luxury to purchase them today.

*No one tell Mommy Sheep about how I had to sell Grandma's jewelry and my share of the family burial plot to finance my berry needs.

*But they made for a killer sorbet which be a nice finish to tonight's dinner of roasted 'taters and salad with some wee, little carrots.  

*Drat!  I meant to take a picture of the spinning!  I can't believe I forgot that!  I have a full bobbin of Shetland/silk and another beginning its journey towards completion.  

*I can't believe I forgot to take that picture...  

*I blame the carrots.  They distracted me.  Vegetables are sneaky that way.

Happy Wednesday, Dear Readers.  As we seem to be experiencing a bit of the thundery-type weather at the moment, I do believe it might be time to get the computer off my lap.  I was willing to brave the carrots, but 'sploding computers are just too much in the risk department.

Add that to the list of things I will not do for you...


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thinking In And Out Of The Box

The sun made a return today after days 'n days (or at least what seemed like days 'n days..) of rain.  However it was a weakly sort of sun, tentative even.  It felt rather watered down and seemed fearful that, at any moment, angry hordes of raindrops were going to attack.  I wasn't impressed.  And, quite frankly, it was too little, too late to have any impact on the headache that's been simmering in the back left corner of my brain for the last few days.  (a combination of allergies, low pressure systems and what can only be described as the weirdest sleeping patterns ever exhibited by a human being in recorded history)  

The headache came out to laugh at the sun's attempt at making an appearance.  In deference to its rather cavalier attitude towards what I might want to do with my day, I opted to stay home tonight rather than head down to Chicks With Sticks.  The Summer Of Compensatory Knitting Socialization (S.O.C.K.S.) program is rigid given that it is designed to reinstate social skills lost during the winter months in a relatively short period of time.  But it is not so unforgiving as to disallow sick days.  A little ibuprofen, some caffeine and maybe some hot compresses on the sinuses and I'll be as good as new.  

Besides, I really should be spinning anyway...

There has been a little stash enhancement at Casa de Sheepie, you see.  That Cathy...she's a marvel.  Even while cleaning up the last of the tornado evidence, putting down new floors that are quite impressive by any standards and reinventing the world of day lilies as we know them, she still finds the time to box up some fibery goodness to send eastward!  I don't quite know how she manages it all, frankly.  But, I'm not going to question it too much because I like that she does!

Lookee what I found in the mailbox today!

If that's not an embarrassment of riches, I don't know what is!

There's some of the "Firecat" (Rambouillet) that she is currently spinning and which I admired to the point of drooling on my keyboard when she posted pictures.  She also included some faun Shetland, a Karakul/Rambo blend, a little of that Alpaca/Silk combo that makes a spinner weak in the knees and rounded out the box with a healthy heaping of the Shetland when she feared that it wasn't quite full enough.  Can you stand it?????  Even my headache was impressed enough to fall back a few notches.

Another factor in my Nasty Noggin situation may very well have been the fact that Prometheus, The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty has been rather "evident" today.  I spent more time than is good for any mother coaxing him out of cupboards where he was playing with the toxic cleansers, gathering up the refrigerator magnets that he thought might look better swept on the floor and hoisting him down from the top of that same refrigerator where he was lurking in hopes of finding someone upon which to pounce.  I couldn't imagine how he might react to the idea of a box in the house...especially one that contained fluffy sheep hair.

True to form, he did caper over to assist with the opening of the package and the fiber was given a thorough examination.  Given his devotion to yarn that is trying to knit itself into The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater, I had some concerns.  These proved to be very much unfounded.  Sure, he was interested in the wool.

In the end, though...

He preferred the box.


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Rain Is The Reason

Sheesh.  It's been, like, two hours of brain-wracking and I still can't come up with a single thing that has happened today that is worth being immortalized in cyber-space.  I'm usually pretty good with this sort of thing...

I blame the rain.  It has been "rainy" in one form or another for days and days now.  It is either actually raining or getting ready to start raining.  Normally, being something of a preparedness freak, I snap right to attention when my television viewing is interrupted with a warning from the National Weather Service.  After days of missing important events in various cartoon plots due to that horrible, grinding alert sound, I have lost all interest in being prepared for nickel sized hail and lightening.  I don't care anymore.  It's become boring and it's never really as exciting as the screeching alarm sound would have me believe it is going to be.

Note:  this attitude did not serve me well late last week when I happened to start paying attention after hearing words like, "Lie down in a ditch," and "proceed to a first floor, preferably an interior room."  It seems I was missing a tornado warning.  There was no tornado, but it would have been nice to be in a ditch or the bathtub had such a thing come to pass.  I guess I should really be paying more attention...

At any rate, the gray skies and low pressure have resulted in a generally lazy attitude.  I am constantly fighting the urge to nap.  There is just not much going on, really.  I'm at a loss as to what might prove interesting.

I could show you a sleeve:

But how exciting is that, really?  We are, after all, talking about The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater...

I've got a cat resting in the window:

She looks relaxed but she is really pretty alert.  She had a tough morning.

I've got another kitty napping amongst the stuffies:

He's not at all alert.  He is very tuckered out from chasing his sister all morning and making her cry.  

That's it.  That's the extent of the excitement around here.  I'm actually tired from being too tired to do anything all day except break up kitty torture sessions and knit three rows on a sleeve.  They haven't even done an emergency oh-my-god-there-might-be-a-thunderstorm-approaching alert since this morning.  It's slim pickings for blog fodder, folks.

Maybe tomorrow I'll knock over a liquor store or try lace knitting again.  I'm willing to attempt anything at this point to break up the monotony...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Working On Three Theories And A Sleeve

I like to think that I have one or two guiding principles in my life.  You sort of have to try to make sense of the chaos, after all.  I hate to be locked into anything, though.  So I consider most of these to be more along the lines of "theory" rather than hardened fact.  That gives me a little wiggle room in case I am so very, very wrong that explanations are required.

This happens more than you might think....  

Any-hoo, here are some of the theories upon which I have been basing recent actions:

1.  Logic is relative and sometimes highly overrated.

I am not what anyone would call a Nervous Nellie.  I have lived alone most of my adult life and have never once lain awake thinking about intruders.  I will cross a darkened parking lot to get to my car without concern, although I will admit to a little healthy suspicion should the circumstances require it.  I have fled burning buildings, done parenting education work with violent offenders after hours in a mostly empty office and once had a student who placed a device in my classroom that had to be detonated by the nice boys from the nearby Air Station.

  Never batted an eye.  (OK...maybe a little.  But no so's you'd notice.)

I am, however, filled with a paralyzing fear of zombies.  This, in light of all the other things in the world that might be cause for concern, seems utterly ridiculous.  But, there it is.  If I am going to have a nightmare, you can be assured that someone of the dead and walking persuasion will stroll through it at one time or another before I wake.  Zombies are just the scariest thing ever and logic has no say in the matter.

Now, if the zombies are what scares me, then it should follow that I might try to avoid them.  It would probably be a good idea to not even affix mine eyes upon zombie imagery lest they start to shamble through my nightmares.  This would be logical.  And, again, logic has nothing to do with it.  I am an avid fan of zombie movies and watch them every chance I get.  I tell myself that they are training films which will serve me well in the event that the zombie invasion I so fear ever comes to pass.

Even I can see the inherent flaws in that line of thinking.  But, it is what it is...

Logic also does not, apparently, play a role in my purchasing habits.  I have, for some time now, been thinking about obtaining my own copy of Resident Evil.  That seemed like a good one to have in the home DVD collection.  (for training purposes, of course)  But it would be rather silly to go out and purchase the same movie that the Sci Fi Channel seems to play every ten minutes.  Not just silly...illogical, even.

2.  Karma Is Just Plain Weird.

I spent most of Thursday in something of a cranky mood.  All systems had gone utterly haywire and I needed to ride it out.  I decided to take a few others along on that ride, including one or two hapless grocery store employees who made the mistake of getting in my way during this hormonally fueled road trip.  I was an unpleasant human being.  I was not kind to my fellow man.  Or cat.  In fact, I may have even told one of the furry residents of this household that the banging and booming outside was not really a thunderstorm.  Rather, I said, it was some deity from above punishing him for messing with the yarn.  

I am normally the kind of gal who likes to put good vibes out into the world and none of this was within my normal behavioral patterns.  One would suspect that Karma might just have a little something to say about that.

It did.  The World's Greatest Stylist called to tell me that she could see me Friday instead of having my having to come in over the weekend.  It turned out I didn't need the extended appointment for the addition of color so the event ended up costing less than planned.  As I also had more time on my hands, I decided to head over to the used bookstore next door for a browse and to kill a few minutes before I had to be at the next place.  Guess what I found?

Hah!  I can justify buying a used copy!!!

But it doesn't end there.  No it does not.

They also had the sequel.  In fact, they had the 2-disc special edition.

I didn't find the third in the series, though.  I suppose that would have been asking a little much from Karmic misfires.  I did, however, snag this:

I like the second one better, but that's OK.  

I didn't even stop to consider the ramifications of enjoying Karmic benefits that I hadn't really earned.  There have been oodles of times where I was so good that it was actually painful to watch and saw naught but poo-showers in return.  This was either a serious mistake in the Karma Accounting Department or payback for good deeds past.  Either way, I snagged the flicks.

3.  Blog Sweater Curses Should Be Respected Because They Are Very Powerful.

The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater marches forward at a respectable pace.  I firmly believe that denying its impending sweater-ness is what is saving me here.  Remaining wholeheartedly committed to the idea of impending disaster keeps the curse which has prevented me from completing a sweater since starting the blog from smiting me.  Maybe it won't notice how far I've come in the process.  Once I've finished it, then it can do something horrible.  Maybe send a swarm of moths or ninjas.  Whatever.  I will have knit a sweater at that point and it won't really matter so much.  Even if the thing never sees the light of day, I'll know that it once existed.  Or not, assuming that I stick with the 'never grow up to be a sweater' strategy.

This one might also fall under the whole Logic Theory thing now that I think about it...

However flawed the logic and shaky the theories, everything served me well today.  As the rains poured down outside, I had some training films for viewing and almost an entire sleeve to show for the time spent in front of the screen.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.  I guess I won't have to eat crow and evoke my Wiggle Room Clauses just yet.

Now if I could just make some headway on the Black And White Cookies As A Recognized Food Group With Actual Health And Nutrition Benefits Theory, I could call it a day.  That one has been a little tricky, though...


Saturday, July 19, 2008

One Month Already?

It's hard to believe, but it has truly been one month since I first brought home Prometheus The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  We've come a long way since that first day of coaxing him down from the top of the cupboards and bribing the Big, Fluffy Kitty with Greenies treats in order that she might consent to losing that wild-eyed What The Heck Is That Thing??? look.

I first thought to celebrate the day with the baking of cakes and the showering of all fluffy residents with treats.  Then I remembered what The Cat Whisperer (aka Our-Socially-Awkward-But-The-Kitties-Love-Her-So-What-Are-You-Gonna-Do Vet) said about how red-headed kitties are prone to weight gain and subsequent diabetes.  I figured it might be best, given that my handsome boy has proven himself to have a very healthy (and slightly scary) appetite, to maybe honor him in some other way.  

To that end, I think I will do a little shout-out on behalf of all the other fluffy ones out there who maybe need a little help.  I think the AGK might approve of that.

If he were actually awake, that is...

I don't begrudge anyone the desire to bring home a kitten.  Not one little bit.  Desdemona, my Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty, came to me as just a wee one and I loved every minute of watching that little ball of happy fur caper about the manse.  I enjoyed seeing her grow up into the beautiful, if slightly temperamental, girl she became.  There really is nothing quite like growin' yer own...

I liked it so much that, in 2000, when I decided that my gift to myself for finishing grad school would be a feline, I went in search of another kitten.  That didn't exactly go as planned.  When faced with kennel upon kennel of cats in need of homes, so many having been there for longer than I even cared to think about, I left the kitten room.  There was no doubt that they would be adopted.  There were others that needed me more.

I came home with an 8 year old.  Not even close to kitten-hood.  In fact, I came home with an 8 year old who had not had a particularly happy life up to that point and maybe even had some extra health issues to boot.  I named her Persephone because I thought that the myth fit with the circumstances.

You know her as The Big, Fluffy Kitty.

And no, I will not have her for as long as I might have had a kitten.  But the time together has been all the more precious because of that, I think.  And even now, with her twilight years upon us, I have never once regretted extending my hand to stroke that oddly shaped, multi-toed paw reaching out to me from between the bars that morning.

I will probably never have another kitten. I can live with that. The shelters are filled with older animals, many of whom have years and years ahead of them and lots of love to give to the right family. You won't find me in the kitten room. I know that they will be OK. There is always someone looking for a kitten. But the older cats, in spite of being more settled into their personalities and ideal for so many homes, are less likely to find their place in the world.

Hard to imagine, though....

Saying that the U.S. economy is tanking right now would be about the kindest way you could put it.  A tragic side effect of this is that homes are being foreclosed on at an alarming and ever-increasing rate.  As a result, family pets are being surrendered regularly to shelters.  Worse, some are simply abandoned when their humans move on and they are left to fend for themselves.  The lucky ones are still able to find their way to shelters, but space is becoming ever more limited in these facilities.  The situation here in Maine is no different.  I was discussing this with The Cat Whisperer during the AGK's first check-up and she told me that she is placing animals herself at this point rather than referring people to the shelter.  She is also volunteering her own time to go with people who want to adopt to help them select the right cat and do an exam right there.  

I would urge anyone who is thinking about adding a new furry friend to the family to please consider an older cat.  Of course, this is a personal choice and I have no ill-will towards anyone who wants a little kitten.  God knows they are hard to resist!  But I can say from personal experience that the rewards of making room for these adult kitties are plentiful.  Adult cats are a little more comfortable in their own skin, less on the wild side and can be wonderful companions.  They also have litter box experience.  That alone should give you cause for consideration!  And, as Prometheus has proven repeatedly over the last month, they can still have enough of the kitten in 'em to keep life interesting!

If you are thinking of adoption or are wishing to support animals in need, there is, no doubt, an animal shelter facility near you.  For those of you in my area, there are many wonderful resources for you to try.   The two with whom I have had personal experience and can vouch for comfortably are:

The Animal Welfare Society of Kennebunk  (They took care of my Big, Fluffy Kitty until we could find each other)

The Animal Refuge League Of Greater Portland  (Please note that they have extended their "clearance" prices on cats.  Adults under ten years are $25.00, Cats ten and older or with special needs are eligible for a waived fee.  Adoption fees include vaccinations, spay/neuter, follow up exam, and microchipping with a free year of service)

If you are not in the market for a pet right now but would like to help animals in your area, most shelters would gladly accept donations and volunteers.  However, I would strongly urge you to review their website or contact them first to be sure of what they need or are able to accept in the way of donations.  A kind gesture is one thing...a useful one is better, right?

If you want to learn more about how you can help families make good choices for their pets during relocation, please check out this program being funded by The Humane Society Of The United States.  

There.  That should do it.  I feel that I have marked the occasion of our one month anniversary appropriately.  Wait...just one thing left to do.  All Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties who also happen to be very handsome should get a kiss on the noggin for their anniversary...

Welcome Home, Baby Boy!


Thursday, July 17, 2008


I am a bit out of sorts, I fear.  Things seem a little outta whack.  I am not myself...  Here are a few of the symptoms:

*My back is aching.  

*I have accused my hair of working against me. (three times)

*I found myself near tears over a car commercial earlier today.  

*I worked up a sweat heating up a Hot Pocket for lunch.  

*Last night, sometime around midnight, I unearthed and ate a waffle that was left over from last weekend.  I did this with the benefit of neither heat nor syrup.  I then spent twenty minutes berating myself over eating a dry, leftover waffle right before bedtime.  

*Apparently I am also willing to fight to the death over my assertion that Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" is the greatest song ever in the history of the whole world and don't even try to tell me that it isn't.  I maintain this in spite of no one really arguing the point.

(For the record, the List Of Songs Over Which I Am Willing To Scrap changes regularly and with no real logical sequence.  This is just where I happen to be at the moment.  Go with it...)

*I spent twenty minutes late this afternoon rummaging through the fridge looking for another one of those dry leftover waffles because, gosh 'n fishes, that is such a tasty treat!  (it isn't...)  I was despondent when I couldn't find one.

It is a train wreck over here.  Grumpiness and mood swings abound.  The least little thing is enough to send me into fits of either laughter or rage and there is no predicting the way in which the pendulum will swing.  

The other residents of this household are simply hiding until it all blows over...

Mid-life is such a treat.  Not just for me, but for anyone who gets to cross my path.  At least I'm making an impression, right?  (just agree...)  Oddly, though, The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater seems to be immune to the whole drama.  It has shown a remarkable willingness to develop a sleeve and even consented to grow one that might actually fit me. (unless the late night waffle situation becomes a pattern)  I suppose it could turn on me at any time and that I should be careful given the current state of my fragile mind.  But I am also grateful for anything that isn't trying to test my last few grains of patience these days.

(I suppose it was a bad day to do the grocery shopping.  Must make a note to send some flowers or something over there so they know that, deep down, I really am a heck of a nice person.  I'd hate to have to find a new store.  This one is so darned handy...)

Happily, it has been my experience that these little swings in moodage pass rather quickly.  Meanwhile, I'll just sit back and try to enjoy the parts of it that work for me.  There is a rather powerful feeling that comes from the world edging away from you in fear, after all.  

And, just to show that I am not completely without a little compassion for my fellow men/women/bloggers/, here's some Poison for you.  We might as well enjoy it while it's my Scrappin' Song, right?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

WNBP: The Green Edition

Boy, Wednesday sure can creep up on a girl!  Hard to believe we are already at the midweek point in the festivities...

But, there is no denying it and that means it is time for the weekly dose of Sheepie Randomness.  Let's see what today has brung unto me:

*A word of warning to anyone out there who happens to have an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty living with them:  Even if you are very tired when you get home from Knit Night, if you fail to fill the food bowls before retiring for the evening, you do so at your peril.

*You might find yourself being awoken at 4:40 in the godforsaken AM by the melodic trills and chirps of your AGK.  

*The melodic part may sound kind of nice, but you should also know that this comes with a side of bouncing, pouncing and chasing the feet that are under the covers.

*Did I mention that he is absurdly gi-normous?  I feared for my very life.

*I tried to stay in bed.  But it became clear that this was not going to be an option.  I got up and dutifully filled the bowls.  I know my place.

*Since I was up, I thought I might try to knit a bit upon The Thing That Will Never Grow Up To Be A Sweater.  

*Well-fed Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties like yarn.  They like it a lot.  And they are very strong.  

*I had to turn on The Kitty Distractor.

I guess the pre-dawn hours make for nice sharing of toys.  

*Not surprisingly, that didn't last long.

*I have been trying to make a weekly trip to the Farmer's Market near my house.  It seems like a healthy thing to do and supporting the local farmers makes me feel superior.

*I don't like vegetables.  I get there and find that I have no earthly idea what to do with the produce.  

*Having a theme helps.  Today I told myself that we would be focusing on "Green."  

Peas are green.  Cucumbers are green.  Heavy cream is not so much with the green...

*But I had to buy it.  

*Now I realize that "had to" is maybe an exaggeration.  For that matter, it is also probably an exaggeration to say that I "had to" buy the Disney Ice Cream Maker that I found at the discount store which happens to be right by the Farmer's Market.  

*But once you are so firmly looped into the "had to" mode, it is kind of hard to find your way out of it.  

*I am hopeless in the face of discount-priced gadgets.  If there is anyone out there who specializes in the treatment of shop-a-holics with a penchant for gee-gaws, you might want to look me up.

*I'll probably put your kids through college.

*The AGK had a very full day today.  He decided to go back to his old hobby of trying to open the cupboards and his repeated efforts at getting into the ones with the rubber band holding them together was rather impressive.

*He timed this to coincide with my afternoon nap.

*BANG!!!  BANG!!! BANG!!!  (meow...meow...meow...)  BANG!!!!!!!!!!

*I got up.  I then tried to knit.

*He abandoned the cupboards for some nice yarn chewing.  Nothing would dissuade him.  Not The Distractor.  Not my forcefully removing him. Not my use of a firm tone and every other trick that I've been told will surely work.   Not my pleading.  Not nuthin'.  

*When I went into the kitchen to empty the dishwasher (where his water dish was waiting, thankyouverymuch) he chewed through the yarn.

*And had the gall to look surprised when I expressed displeasure.

*He is resting now.  It's been a big day.

Don't be fooled by the cuteness.  This is a very, very naughty cat.  

*Tonight I am making steamed peas for dinner and having sliced cukes with a dip made from a soft homemade cheese flavored with last week's garlic purchase and some herbs I growed all by my widdle self.

*That doesn't seem like enough to make up for the day with the AGK.

*I may need to make some Disney Ice Cream...

*In spite of it all, I will still give him his good-night snuggle and kiss on the head tonight before I go to bed.  I will still tell him that I love him and that it makes me happy that he came to live with us.

*I will also remember to fill the food bowls.

Happy Wednesday to all and to all a Green Day.  May your produce be fresh as all get-out and your yarn unsullied by cat spit.