Deadline time has arrived, and I have shipped my package to New York.  What, you ask?  It’s time to send hand-knit goodness to Christmas at Sea .  Go see their page, I’ll wait.

It’s exciting to think that they have been putting together Christmas boxes for merchant mariners for 175 years!  My great-grandmother, Delilah, taught me to knit.  She said she learned to knit socks for “the war”.  It turned out she was referring to the Spanish-American War.  So you see, the tradition of knitting for others who serve our good has been in our family that long.

This year I didn’t do as much car travel as last, and that is a wonderful time to knit the scarfs and caps for Christmas at Sea.  I shipped only two matching sets of scarf/caps, but added six big bottles of unscented hand/body lotion and six chap sticks.  Oh, and there was one more “gift”.  I fastened the scarf/cap sets to their Christmas card (including care instructions) with a honking big safety-pin.  When you need a pin at sea, it’s worth its weight in gold!

Knitwear at the lake house

There has been knitting happening, even though the cats have had center stage.  Finally,  I have a FO to show you.  The Boneyard Shawl was declared to be sufficiently large this weekend, and was finished off during the LSU/Auburn game last night.  Yes, LSU won, thanks for asking.  Go Tigers! No, we didn’t go down to the stadium.  When college football is broadcast on TV my lake house has the best concessions, the most comfortable seats, the shortest bathroom lines, the best parking, and no drunk spills anything on my knitting!  As you can see in the lower left corner of the picture, DH even got me the traditional football mums.

I love the Knit Picks City Tweed DK yarn.  It was a joy to knit, it drapes wonderfully, and you just have to snuggle your face in its softness.  The alpaca content adds extra warmth, too. This shawl will certainly be in my book tote for Thursday’s EFM seminar.  Our daily highs are still in the upper 70’s, but  the over-enthusiastic air-conditioning makes it shawl weather.

Moosey evidence

Several readers have mentioned they would like to have a comparison of that cute little kitten we adopted in August and the Moose of October.  Your wish is my command:  Archie the Kitten

and Archie the Moose!

He’s gone from 5 lb. 4 oz. at his first visit to the vet to 9 lb. 6 oz. today.  That’s because he eats more than the three adult cats, combined.  Archie already weighs as much as Casper…Casper just looks larger, ’cause he’s fluffy!

Archie, aka The Big Moose

I mentioned a few days ago that Archie is getting to be a big moose!  Here he is by the dining room chair legs, for scale.  Of course, he’s still growing! He’s so long-legged that he can put his arm down in an iced tea glass and touch the inside bottom to feel what’s there.  (Yes, he does that.  Guard your glass!)

Tuesday was Casper, our flame point meezer’s annual vet check-up.  DH was preparing to walk him over, as Casper is bonded to DH.  (Nothing like Daddy for comfort when they’re poking and prodding a fellow.)  First, Archie climbed into the basket under the stroller.  By the time I could grab the camera, he was out again, alarmed for Casper.  “Hang on, Casper, I’ll get that zipper open!”

DH reported that Casper survived his annual check-up with good graces.  Since he is an inside cat only, he had plenty of commentary on the scents and sights during the walk over.

Let’s put on a show!

Last March, our youngest DD was given an Eastern Star appointment as district chairman for Cancer Research.  She was charged with raising $1,000 for this worthy project.  That’s a pretty tall order for difficult economic times!

Months of planning lead up to this weekend’s show:  Hoot ‘N’ Holler.  It featured a fried chicken dinner, followed by a Hee-Haw type variety show.  DD was the hostess and box office girl.

The Shriners clowns agreed to come and be part of the entertainment.  Did you know it can take up to two hours for these fellows to put on all that make-up?  Tell that to your man next time he complains about your beauty routine! 

Here are several pictures of our friends, to show you the theme decorations. It was fall and country all the way.

DH did a tribute to Junior Sample, complete with a commercial.  Here he is in all his glory,  going over last minute skit details with our friend Gayle.

Any good variety show will include music.  I hadn’t planned to play, as country isn’t my interest.  However, we received a $100 donation, on the condition that I play some numbers.  Here I am, playing some Fats Waller, and some Scott Joplin. DD sang also, but her daddy enjoyed it so much that he forgot to pick up the camera!  le sigh!

The Shriners clowns performed three skits for us, including this fishing-in-a bucket number.

Your fish has to be as big as mine!

The biggest catfish (pillow) ever was pulled out of the ice chest.

This is the picture of DD, her dad, and the clown named “Trouble” that was taken for the newspaper write-up. We are so proud of all that she accomplished with her committee.  The show earned $945!  When memorial contributions for the year are added, she should make that lofty $1,000 goal.  Wow!

I’m frustrated- Flickr is down

I have a neat photo story to tell you, and even some cute pictures of  Archie (the big moose!).  However, Firefox can’t access Flickr today.  le sigh!  Perhaps tomorrow!

Progress continues on the Boneyard shawl, as I am now knitting on the 5th skein.  The pattern called for yardage equivalent to 6 of Knit Pick’s City Tweed DK, but you know me…must be bigger!  Once I got used to doing the right-leaning M1 in addition to the left-leaning one I instinctively use, it has been a great TV/meeting/car knit.

Bouncing Back

Thank you for so many kind wishes and prayers for my beloved Minky. She spent an overnight stay in the oxygen cage, then was able to come home on an even higher daily prednisone dose.

Dr. Jason is so in love with this cat!  He keeps saying she is such a beautiful person, such a joy to treat.  Five months ago, when we went through another crisis, he said if she required oxygen we would have to take her to the LSU Vet School Clinic, as he didn’t have the capability.  Now he’s gotten an oxygen cage to treat her.  That is so wonderful, as our vet’s new office is a short two blocks from here, at the edge of our subdivision.  The Vet School is a 20 mile ride, which would be enough stress to push a sick cat over the edge.

Minky’s x-rays showed progression of her lung disease.  The sad truth is that she probably won’t be one of the meezers that lives two decades.  The good news is that we had a wonderful day yesterday, with Minky being more social and happy than she has been in months.  As I write this, she is stretched out across my knees, supervising all typing.  Do you know how hard it is to type with a paw and a chin on your left wrist?  I love it!

A Minky emergency

Minky, my companion Meezer, has a history of asthma and one collapsed lung lobe. She woke up at 5:30 in her spot between our pillows and stepped over me to stretch out along my left side.  I realized she was breathing rapidly, about 60 breaths/minute, and waited to see if her breathing would settle down.  It didn’t. Normally she gets her morning medicines at 7 am, but I decided to go ahead and give it at 5:40.

By the time I picked her up she was in full-blown respiratory distress, foaming at the mouth in a most unbecoming manner for a lady.  I alerted DH, and we headed for the kitchen and the medicine drawer, where there was an emergency syringe of medicine for just such a situation.  Now, I should fess up that in my lifetime I’ve given injections first as a paramedic, and then as an RN.  This was my first cat injection, though, and it is still difficult to treat a “family member”.  Minky tolerated it with good grace, as she does all treatments when she is ill.

We grabbed a waterproof pad (for the drooling),  put it in her favorite chair and waited and watched.  By the time her vet opened at 7:30 I had her respirations  down to 30, and she was washing.

You know your cat is sick when there is complete silence on the ride to the vet’s office!    Dr. Jason saw her promptly, bringing her straight back to the cat exam room so she wouldn’t stress over dawgs in the lobby.  Just like an emergency room visit for a child, she got a breathing treatment and some oxygen…only her oxygen was in the form of an oxygen cage.  Well, I guess that’s not that different from a crib with an oxygen tent.

The tech came out to the waiting room to tell me how well she had tolerated it all, and to say what a wonderful cat she is.  Now we wait for several hours while she rests in the oxygen.

I came home to tell DH all the news, and as I glanced out the window near his shoulder I saw this. There is the egret in the tree on the right, but do you see the second bird?  I went out on the shore, and the sun came out from behind a cloud.  Here, see the blue heron in the tree on the left? That’s a lot of bird for those two little scrub trees!

Please keep Minky and those who love her in your prayers.  St. Francis, remember this beloved cat.

The Perfect Match

This June I was fortunate enough to win a blog prize from Margene of Zeneedle fame.  She was not only generous, but also inquired of my favorite colors.  I responded that I had never met a blue or a green I didn’t like (except green tea).  Margene sent me this lovely gift package, and the search was on for the perfect pattern to match the yarn.

The yarn was a generous 500 yards, and I didn’t want to use only a fraction of  it.  Several scarf patterns failed their auditions.  The yarn waited, continuing to call to me softly from the safety of a cat-proof bag.  Finally, I blew an afternoon scrolling through Ravelry patterns.  Multnomah caught my eye, and the yarn was cast on before the printer ink dried.  Eight days later it was ready for its close up. The pattern called for 10 repeats and 412 yards of yarn.  This yarn, Brooklyn Handspun’s Soft Spun, Winters Welcome had that wonderful 500 yards,  allowing me to knit 15 repeats.  I love a generous shawl, and haven’t found a place in my life for “shawl-lets”.

Would you have believed this could be knit from a skein of sock yarn?  I’m so happy!

Multnomah reached FO stage just in time.  Yesterday the mailman brought my KnitPicks’s package containing eight skeins of City Tweed DK, the Tabby color.  I’d been looking for a project for this yarn ever since Knitnana started talking about knitting a shawl with City Tweed.  Right after Multnomah hit the blocking board I cast on Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl. This pattern is intended for a tweed yarn, and the City Tweed doesn’t disappoint.  Its alpaca content makes you want to keep on knitting, keep on petting the yarn.  Again, I’ve bought more yarn than the pattern called for because I want a shawl to snuggle in.  (What is it with these dinky shawls that look like big neckerchiefs?  Instant gratification, I suppose.)

Archie is growing like a weed, up to 9 pounds from the 5 pounds 4 ounces he weighed when he arrived,  and calming down only a bit.  He spent some kitty nap time in DH’s lap yesterday for the first time.  Blocking my shawl was a whole ‘nother adventure, though.  I might as well have been waving a kitty lazer about as threading the wires through the shawl.  Archie made several frantic and successful jumps onto the blocking board before he was banished to the guest room.  Once the shawl was blocked I took the entire board out to the garage to dry, and released the less-than-repentant Archie to pillage and burn once more.

Put on some cheerful color for autumn

It’s time to enjoy some fall color.  Actually, that’s a wishful statement on my part.  Louisiana has been seeing more fall color in the trees in recent years, but it won’t happen for many weeks to come.  Yet we have our moments of thrilling color.   Yesterday, when I walked down our driveway to check the mail I dawdled a bit while the garbage crew passed.  This bit of red caught my eye.

That is a pod of magnolia berries.  In fact, if you look closely (where, indeed, is Waldo?) you can see more.  I stepped nearer to peer into the center of the tree, and to get a better picture for you.

Isn’t that a beautiful red?  I turned my head slightly, and then saw that there were many stalks!

Right about then I stopped smiling altogether!  I made the terrible discovery that I was standing on a fire ant hill.  Youch!  One ant ran around my ankle, leaving five bites like an ankle bracelet.  DH will get out with the proper insecticide to treat the hill today.

There is knitting color to show you, too. Monday  I finished my Eastlake Scarf by Norah Gaughan.  The yarn is from my stash, 2 skeins of Knit Picks Swish DK in Pale Lemon.  Norah’s sample is knit in olive, and looks like stylized leaves.  My scarf, knit in the pale lemon, reminds me of ripe wheat.  I am very pleased with the outcome, and eagerly await cooler, scarf-appropriate weather.