A magnificent cat

Long-time readers are familiar with my companion cat, Minky.  After all, it is her regal portrait that appears as my icon.  Three years ago she was diagnosed with asthma and a collapsed lung lobe.  Three years of twice-daily prednisone and bronchodilators later her fur quality had become coarser, and Minky’s beautiful chocolate pointes had faded.  Her devotion never flagged; each morning I read blogs with Minky in my lap.  She wouldn’t miss it for the world.

December 22, 2010 she came and sat by my feet in the early evening.  As I contemplated her, I realized she was once again in respiratory distress.  Dear Dr. Jason, her veterinarian, had given me his cell phone number several hospitalizations ago.  Cats, like human children, seem to have a pronounced tendency to get sick after office hours, you see.  We went into our emergency drill,  which included my injecting Minky with the syringe of medicine stored for such occasions, and met Dr. Jason at his office.  She was an exemplary patient when she was really ill (don’t  bring that stuff near her when she felt better!).  The mood was calm and efficient as Dr. Jason gave her the usual medicines, and prepared the oxygen cage for her.

As I said, we’d done all this three times before.  The next morning she would be weaned off oxygen and I could bring her home.  This time, she was again in trouble  without the oxygen, so back in the oxygen cage she went for another night away from home.  Dr. Jason marveled that most cats struggle against the oxygen, but Minky just stretched out her neck to be nearer the flow.  In fact, the usual behavior for a sick cat is to go off and hide under the bed, not present themself for treatment.

The second morning, December 24, it was clear that there had been no improvement.  Even the oxygen wasn’t giving Minky comfort.  She purred at my arrival, but couldn’t really hold her head up. I’ve always prayed for the wisdom to know when quality of life was no longer present, and that time had arrived.  DH and I signed the euthanasia  papers,  consenting to the one gift we could give Minky.

Today, one week later, I have written of Minky’s passing both in tribute to a magnificent cat and to share our experience with you.  It would have been easier to say something sanitized about “losing” my dear cat; yet I know many of you have fur children and may have to make such difficult decisions in the future.

Our priest, Fr. Chad, sites C. S. Lewis, who believed that God, who gave us the companionship and love of our fur children will surely have them waiting for us with Him in heaven.  Rest in peace, dear friend.

Just Saying…

Yesterday it did snow here, and for four beautiful hours big, fat flakes fell from the sky.  That was from the perspective of my lakefront windows.

Not everyone thought it was glorious.  Our blue heron likes to stand on the fountain base in the middle of the lake (when the fountain isn’t running…not a Heron shower).  There he stood in quiet dignity while big  snowflakes made his blue grey.  That just wasn’t right!

The other bird whose routine was disturbed was one of the mallard hens.  They often of a morning root around in the grass for insects.  The added inch of snow accumulation meant she came up with her bill looking like a “milk mustache”.  Mustn’t laugh at mallards,  mustn’t laugh at mallards!

I’m not doing the whole knitting Olympics thing, but, of course, I am knitting while I watch.  Last night I finished up the toes of a simple sock and a Jaywalker, and cast on their mates.  The simple sock is my usual purse knitting, and the Jaywalker my home knitting sock.

Did you see the two new patterns Knitty is offering? I could knit Skew, but I don’t think I would ever wear them.  Rooibos, however, looked like it was written for me!  It will fit both my lifestyle and bod.  Why, yes, I have ordered yarn:  Knit Picks is shipping me some Swish Bulky in Merlot Heather.

Best of all?  It’s Spring Break, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, so I don’t have to study this week for my seminar.  Knit on!

And yet again!

I know much of the East Coast has been bombarded by repeated blizzards.  It’s been a record year for much of the country, and I acknowledge their plight before I complain of my own.  With that disclaimer, let me tell you what a weird year it’s been in Louisiana!

I’ve been a resident, other than some company assignments in other states, since 1974.  In that time I’ve seen maybe four light snowfalls.  They have always been an occasion of much wonder and surprise for the locals.  This winter we have already had two measurable snowfalls .  One began on the evening of my great-granddaughter’s birth, and I am certain she will always be told of that event.  So you can imagine my surprise when my Weather Bug started chirping today with a winter storm warning for Thursday through Friday…measurable snow and sleet!

When the Saints won the Superbowl, the headlines here were “No, hell has not frozen over!”  One would wonder if the journalists thoroughly checked their sources on this one.

Patience rewarded!

The doorbell rang at 4:15 pm today.  The UPS truck was at the curb, so I made DH answer the door.  I wasn’t sure I was competent at the moment to hold on to the box.  It was right for him to get the package, as it was his Valentine’s gift to me.  He said it was even wrapped up!  Gotta love him!

I wrestled the wrapping off my Industriell Easel cover, and DH freed the Nook from its amazing shipping package.  Would you believe you can watch this process on many U-Tube videos?  At least I learned a few tricks from them..like read the opening directions.  Heh!

The stockinette print skin went on just fine, and off the Nook went to charge.  Around 7:30 it had reached full charge, and I was able to register it and buy the first few books from my wish list without difficulty.  I’ve been happily reading ever since.

Now I have just one problem:  balance study/knitting/Nook time.  It’s a good life!

The watchword is patience

One would think that knitters excel in patience.  One would be wrong!  DH ordered my Nook from Barnes and Noble on January 3, which puts me in the “class of February 1”.  As more and more members of my class graduate to Nook ownership my patience grows thinner and thinner.  What’s a knitter to do?  Shop for Nooknacks!

I went to Skinit to look at Nook skins.  The variety is amazing!  Because I’ll have my Nook fastened in a case I really don’t care about the skin for the back.  My focus was on what would show around the border of the e-ink window.  I browsed through Disney, Holidays, Flowers…nothing spoke to me.  Then I clicked on Textiles, and found stockinette in 7 colors!   I chose the teal, because that’s an all-time favorite color.  When I called the Patron of the Arts to see my Nook skin, he couldn’t stop laughing, saying “That is so you!”

Here is the part where I enable your shopping:  they make the same skins for cell phones, MP3 players, laptops… if you own an electronic gadget, they have knitting for it.  Enjoy, my friend!

Sun smiling down on me!

Finally we have a sunny day, and it’s a balmy 65 degrees.  I finished my Caribic socks four days ago, but the skies have been grey ever since.  The yarn is Online Supersocke 100, Color 734, Caribic.  The colors really do remind me of pleasant days spent on the Caribbean.  I knit them in my classic 2 x 2 rib to show off the stripes.

The socks are hung on my drying rack.  The part with the bars pulls out from the wall at the top, and is held in that forward position by straps on each top edge.  It is by Ballard Designs, and is one of my all-time favorite purchases.  (The link is for the drying rack, not just the company.  )  Sherry of The Loopy Ewe posted about this rack once, and once I investigated them on Ballard’s site, I convinced my Patron of the Arts to invest.

Speaking of The Loopy Ewe, I’ve reserved a red Namaste Monroe.  Notice how her Kindle fits so nicely with her purse things and knitting gear?  I’m calling my Monroe a “Nook accessory”, and hope that both will arrive shortly.  (The UPS man just came, and I couldn’t resist hovering in the hall to see if my Nook arrived.  Nope – a package for our eldest.  Rats!)

When the Loopy Ewe elves tell me the bag has arrived at the shop I will add a second sock blocker to the order, taking advantage of one shipping charge.  Admittedly, I only use the blockers for photo shoots, but it is frustrating to find a way to show both socks.  You’ll just have to take it on faith this time…they’re identical.

Playing Hooky

There are times that studying the Old Testament just doesn’t have the lure of a new knitting project.  This weekend was one of those times.  I had browsed through Ravelry patterns looking at Tams, and rediscovered the Three Tams pattern.  There’s the link, now you can play, too.

The yarn made me do it!  I mean, there it was a materials list that called for Plymouth Galway Worsted and Noro Silk Garden.  I knew I had both in my stash, left over from other projects.  In fact, the skein of Noro that remained was purchased in Redondo Beach, CA the day before my granddaughter Maggie’s birth.  It would be a real shame to leave that in stash!

The pattern was a joy to knit, and a great opportunity to practice stranding technique.  My only disappointment was that this Noro is blue and green, but the color change is so long that the tam never got to the green!  Folks who know me well know I love blue and green, but green is my first love. 

I suspect I have enough Noro remaining to try again.  The pattern is for three tams, so new knitting adventures await.  However,  my weekly seminar is tomorrow, and the homework can’t wait any longer.  Back in the stash, Noro!

There is purse knitting, of course.  I’m racing to the toe of the second sock in a blue colorway of Online.  Hopefully pictures will follow yet this week.

The egret was not amused!

This morning, when I opened the blinds, I found ice about ten feet out into our lake.  Yes, I know it is January, what did I expect?  I’ll tell you what, my friend.  This is southern Louisiana!  We’re supposed to be subtropical here! Our resident egret was standing on the shore, all hunched over with feathers fluffed for warmth.  He seemed to be saying “and how do you expect me to fish through that?

I looked again at 10 am, and found the ice gone from our shoreline, but still present for several houses to the East of us.  My weatherbug temperature on the computer monitor says 29 degrees.  That makes for very friendly meezers!  After all, no one wants to put their hind quarters down on cold ceramic tile.

Hope you’re keeping warm where you are.

Pictured, as promised

Hopeful in my heart that “The Sun Will Come Out – Tomorrow”, I delayed my photo shoot by one grey, winter day.  Good news:  sunshine!  Bad news:  arctic air mass, low of 22 forecast for Louisiana!

Here, then, are my Saffron socks.  They have been my travel-in-your-purse-knitting.  Such projects always take longer than those that get my everyday attention. I cast them on November 1, 2009, and completed the second sock on December 26, 2009.  They got my full attention that last day because I wanted my Knit Picks circs for other socks.  As long as I don’t purchase a second pair of KP #1.5’s, they should remain an impetus to second sock completion.

The specifications are Premier Yarn’s Serenity Sock Weight, color Saffron.  This yarn is 50% wool, 25% bamboo, 25% nylon.  Hobby Lobby sells it for a very attractive price of $4.29/skein, or just about $9 for a pair of socks, tax included.  The striping is consistent, and the yardage sufficiently generous (230 yards/50 grams) that knitting identical socks was a breeze.  Best of all, I have discovered only one knot after knitting six skeins of this yarn.

As I prepared my Ravelry entry for this sock I thought of a knitting (low)tech tip I should share.  I put my print-out patterns in a plastic page protector for ease of handling and pattern preservation.  But Wait! (as they say on infomercials) There’s More! As I begin knitting I slip the first yarn label down into the page protector, too.  Then when I’m all done (could be months later) I have the label at hand.

What is that in the background, you ask?  Why, it’s a cat tower.  Where else would Meezermeowmy pose her socks?

Now, that’s better!

Thank you all for the good wishes.  My back is a bit better each day, and it becomes evident that the damage I did involved muscle only.  DH has been a prince, taking on those chores that involve deep bending or lifting heavy cats. He has also agreed that it is a false economy for us to purchase the large jugs of dishwasher detergent.  Next time around it will be the smallest size.  Alison suggested the detergent that comes in little one-use cubes; I’ll certainly look at those, too.

So, without further ado (Merriam Webster defines ado as time-wasting bother over trivial details…like inserting this definition) here is Cite. I wore it yesterday over my scoop-necked top and found it very comfortable. It amazes me how much difference having your neck warm can make in tolerating cool temperatures.

The pattern calls for only 200 yards of fingering weight, and suggests that you could knit it with luxury yarn without taking out a second mortgage.  This is Knit Picks Essential, which is 75% superwash Merino, 25% nylon.  There was one lonely ball of it in my stash; I was happy to find something elegant to knit.

Have you seen billboards that were blank, except for a line that said “Your ad could appear here”?  Well, my finished socks were supposed to appear here.  My plan was to do an afternoon photo shoot when the sun comes in through the glass brick wall.  The resultant pictures are true to color.  Come afternoon I was happily following a rabbit track on my computer.  All thoughts of sock pictures went right out of my head, and didn’t return until it was dark outside.  Let us hope I can remember this afternoon!

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