Monday, February 28, 2011


I finished _Bertie Wooster & the Lizard King_ today and it was a wonderful little ebook. I regret to say that I cannot link it for you as the estate of Mr Wodehouse has apparently squashed Mr. Rowe's little pastiche.

If you enjoy the trials and tribulations of Bertie Wooster and his inimitable valet Jeeves, this is a very enjoyable work of fan fiction in the master's style. I hate to give too much away in case you are able to find a bootleg copy somewhere... let's just say the action starts on page 46.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Short & Sweet

Today has gone by very quickly. Slept in (oops), did some gardening, played on the computer, snuggled the baby cockaties (CB1293 opened his eyes today!), and now am thinking about doing a little light reading and maybe some laundry. Tried to eat everything in the house instead of rationing it out so I can eat all week; perhaps not my best plan. No knitting yet, which is bad because I could have had the wristwarmers done days ago. Maybe in a little bit. But just now I hear my zombie book calling.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I managed to get done with my work a little early today. I can use the hours, but needed to get the errands done too.

Cockatiel leg bands have been procured and installed on the cockatiel chicks' legs. They were angry. I was not tempted by any birds at the bird farm... although the newest Bird Talk has a cockatiel theme and looked interesting. They had a baby blue headed pionus, buy my Beaker (a maximillian's pionus) is cuter by far. Why people think that subtly-colored birds are "boring" or "plain" I do not understand.

The post office STILL had not redelivered my yarn when I got home, but by some miracle, the postal station holding my box hostage was still open and I scurried over there to give them a piece of my mind. My before-lunch mind. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous and I couldn't be happier with The Loopy Ewe. Sheri even put a little note about my kitty on my invoice! The colors are perfect and I get all teary-eyed patting the skein.

I sucked it up and put gas in the car. It was expensive. I have some mistaken theory that, if I put 1/2 tank in the car, it will magically last for a whole week. I will deal with the refill somewhere around Thursday.

I procured some cider and some cheese from TJ's, made burritos for lunch, fed the birds and am happily relaxing at home now. The rain ended and the sun is out. I sort of hope it rains again... I have a fantasy of sitting on the porch on my comfy chair, bundled up in a blanket, with my Nook and some tea, enjoying the weather. I *should* be out pulling weeds, but that is not as romantic a vision

Friday, February 25, 2011


2/22 10pm - yarn ordered.
2/24 12:30pm - yarn has traveled 2,500 miles from Missouri to California
2/24 12:31pm - yarn has randomly traveled 1/2 mile back to the post office.
2/24 8:30 pm - fill out redelivery info online.
2/25 8:00 pm - Yarn is still sitting at post office. One-half mile from my house.
2/25 8:01 pm - head explodes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lavender Thursday

The end is in sight for the fingerless mitts. I started the top ribbing of #2 today (this picture is from yesterday). Just an inch more, bind off, 10 rows on the thumb, bind off, work in the ends, wash, set out to dry and they can go to Jennifer tomorrow. It is hard to get a good in-progress picture; when I am working a cable row I have up to seven needles in my hands.

The lavender plant I planted this summer (after someone stole my plumeria) is finally showing some signs of growth. It has several flower stalks shooting up and they actually smell both tangy and sweet. I thought I disliked the scent of lavender, but this one is a nice addition to the garden. I buried Firsa with an armful of rosemary, now I wish the lavender had been in bloom to add with it.

The baby cockatiels are still growing. The yearling babies are out and getting some exercise; Harlequin was begging me for head scratches (he is molting like crazy), Mustardseed is flying around the room and Peaseblossom is being demure as always. Mustard set Beaker off and he actually just flew all the way from his cage to my shoulder - his longest flight yet! Now he is getting pistachio dust all over my sweater and laughing at me, "AH HA HA" he says.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I am nearly done with the lavender fingerless mitts. Another night of hard knitting should see them finished, and then a day for finishing work and washing. I had a long day at work today, but put in a few rows at lunch and am turning patterns over in my head for the next pair. There are pictures on the camera, but I can't summonthe energy to link them tonight. Tomorrow for sure. It feels good to be a Knitter again, after such a long time off last year. I wore my Wallaby sweater to work again today and I am just so darn proud of it! It nieds to be washed and blocked and maybe then I can finally post some pictures.

The baby chicks are still growing. The elder is showing nascent gray feathers under the skin and I expect the eyes to open any day now. The younger is still pink and a little too small for my liking. I have a feeling she will be a lutino (no gray pigment peeping through the skin and pink eyes), which will be a lovely addition to the flock. Still trying to find the time to get some leg bands before they get much bigger.

I watched some episodes of "Firefly" last night and cuddled the kitties. Galen and Carrie (aka Momma Cat) are smothering me, trying to outdo each other for the title of new snuggliest feline. I finally had to kick Galen off the laptop in order to make my blog post!

I am still reading (slowly) _Bertie Wooster and the Lizard King_ and _The Moonstone_. I alternate depending on my attention span. They are each quite interesting in their own way.

I am happily in denial about my poor kitty. I brought her picture to work and could almost pretend she was at home (just hiding) until I actually came home and she didn't run to meet me. I am a little less sad each day... but it has been a difficult week. Today I watched a video on my camera that I took of the kittens playing when they were just a couple months old, and Firsa kept walking through the frame. That was a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Short & Sweet

I left a candle burning in the next room, so only a quickie post today. It is month-end at work (read: long hours) so I have to get my buns in bed early tonight. I have put in the thumb on the 2nd purple cabled fingerless mitt and might get it done in the next day or so. Then I can start the next request pair! They look well on everyone who tries them on... I may have hit upon the perfect gift.

I get the "dead kitty blues" strating at about 3pm each day and have a little cry on the way home. Today I was remembering her cute little "speed walk" when she was coming home from carousing the neighborhood and the times she would meet me at the car door when I came home. I put in lots of time petting the other cats tonight and appreciating them for who they are, instead of wishing they were more like her.

Yarn shipped today - comfort yarn solves most sad feelings.

Baby cockatiels are growing well. The older chick is starting to show gray under the skin where the feathers will be coming in and also has gray toes. The younger chick is not showing any gray and seems to have red eyes. I wonder if she will be a lutino? As long as they are healthy and strong I will take them however they are. I have to make a run to the bird farm for legbands before they get much bigger. After 10 days or so their feet are too big to fit in the band. The older chicks from last year are all adults now. Mustardseed will be a year old in a few weeks and Harlequin and Peaseblossom are a couple months behind her. Quin is still molting into his adult plumage (hence the name) and looks a right ragamuffin. I will have to take more pictures before he gets all sleek and sassy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moving Forward

I am still feeling blue, but have reasons to be happy. Right now I can hear the Hamlet & Violet feeding the chicks (in stereo!), Harlequin is telling me "herro" and that he is a pretty bird and swinging on his perch. The parakeets are trying to nap and are looking daggers at him. There is a dog at my feet and a kitty sleeping in the second drawer of the yarn caddy. He fits in there so well I have abandoned all hope of putting the top drawer back in.

Knitting is my go-to comfort and I have been daydreaming about yarn in shades of Firsa gray. I found the perfect skein at the Loopy Ewe today and a lacy sock pattern to coordinate, and spent some of my Christmas gift certificate (thank you Aunt Karen!). A little knitting to work through my grief is just what the knitting fairy ordered.
It has been slow at work and I got to leave a little early tonight. The sky was still light and it was lovely to drive home as darkness fell instead of "in the dark". I haven't been home by 6:30 in a long time. Not quite light enough to do any weeding in the garden, but I will get up early and spend a few minutes on it in the morning. I took out the trash, changed all the catboxes and am about ready for some dinner.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Rainy again today. I miss my cat. The others have been trying to console me. The parrots made me laugh today. I should turn this into a Haiku. Played some World of Warcraft. Ate too many girlscout cookies and also risotto and fish sticks. Read some more of _The Moonstone_; enough to get to the next narrator.

Goodnight, Firsa

My very first pet cat was a 12 week old gray tabby kitten. I had gone out to see "Chasing Amy" one night with my then-boyfriend, and we saw kittens in the window of the pet shop across the way (both the theater and the shop are gone now; the times they are a'changin'). I fell in love with a lilac siamese and went back the next day "just to look" some more. The siamese was gone by the next afternoon, but I was started down a path and went back to consider the other kittens. A likely looking gray fluff ball was sleeping ... until they brought her out for me to hold. We walked around the store together for a good long while. There was some wriggling at first, but soon enough she was draped over my shoulder or belly up and purring in the cradle of my arms. Food? Check. Litterbox? Check. Litter? At the grocery store. Kitten? Safely in a cardboard box for the trip back to San Bernardino.
One of my favorite books as a teen was _Tailchaser's Song_ by Tad Williams. One assistant to the hero was a graceful gray fela named Firsa Roofshadow. It was perfect for this dusty colored creature. Within two days she was answering to her name, Firsa, from several rooms away. She always came running at the call and loved to be with me, playing, talking, sleeping or being carried around. Within a month, a ginger kitten joined our family from the strays next door. Here was her Fritti, and they were inseperable for years. Lately their friendship had cooled, but they were great companions when they were small and I was at work most of the day.
I got Firsa when I was 22 years old. She was by my side long after that boyfriend, by my side for tears and pain, for happy times too. Before I was a spinner, before I was a knitter, before I joined renaissance faire, before I ever had a dog, Firsa was there. She was in the garden rolling in the dirt, she was out catching mice and rats and starlings. She caught a baby hummingbird once, and I hand fed it for weeks. After a stern lecture, she stopped wounding birds in my sight and moved on to killing them in the neighbor's shrubbery, where I never caught her. We had fourteen years of adventures and quiet times both, and I can't imagine my life without her in it.
Her beautiful gray and white coat added shades of brown after the first year or so. Every inch of her was a wonder. Her ticked coat, her purple toes & nose, that raccoon tail. I petted every last bit of her tonight when she passed away. I felt her heart race, watched her breathing slow, held her paw almost until the end. I accidently tickled her ear and laughed & cried together when she flicked it. I had forgotten that endearing trait (not as much fun for her, perhaps) and tickled her over and over. I stroked her chin and played with her toes and counted the seconds in between breaths. In meditation one day, the teacher told about a monk who held that the exhale is the most important thing. Ten seconds, fifteen, twenty... each inhale was startling until there were no more.
I have other cats in my life now, but at the moment I would give them all up for another hour with that gray kitten in the pet store... another hour of her jumping on my lap when I am trying to type, another hour of laying on my knitting, another hour of lying near me when I am sad, another hour of chasing her around the garden when I am already late for work, another hour of listening to her "mreh mreh" at me in her sweet little voice.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Topsy Turvy

Spring is coming up and I had a lovely lunch hour in the sun and wind knitting in the car, but it is pouring rain this afternoon and into the evening. I have month-end Saturday off tomorrow, although I am the Saturday gal (I do appreciate the break!). Said rain is washing out my plans to clean up the garden and the impending headache & accompanying nasuea are washing out my plans to do anything other than moan in the dark. The parent cockatiels have abandoned their home for the Ringneck's cage and he is eating their leftover vegetables. He is vicious to the cockatiels, though, so I am typing with my head turned around to look behind me.

But I have two days off, a mitten to finish, two baby cockatiels to snorgle and some Monty Python to watch. There might even be tea in the house!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cheep-per... again

I heard one of my all-time favorite noises in the bird room today when I went to feed the feathered kids... the "chip-chip-chip-chip-chip" sound of a baby bird being parent fed (... and there they go again). I had just about given up hope on this last batch of eggs. I will let you imagine the contortions it took to get a picture of my own hand, that wasn't blurry, while holding a day old chick in such a way that it was not simply a puffy yellow blob.
I can't tell if they other eggs are going to make it (I pulled out 3 I am sure are bad). I think I heard one tapping on the inside of the shell. They tap and "pip" to talk to the parents the day or so before they hatch. In the topmost photo, you can just barely see the little white egg tooth at the tip of the beak.
Like all the babies, it is a wonder of delicacy and miniaturization. Every tiny scale of the feet can be seen, each perfect toenail, the line for the eye slit, and even a tiny dark spot where the crest will be. Yellow fluff means another "normal" colored bird (as opposed to whiteface); I will have to wait another generation to see if any of the babies have a recessive whiteface gene.
It rained during the night and on & off during the day (trying to drench me when I went to put gas in the car, of course) which is a nice change from dry and sunny. When I left work the clouds were mostly broken up and there was a shockingly bright full moon that stopped me in my tracks. It was amazing, and lit up the clouds around it with a lovely blue glow. This birdy will be named "Luna" if she is a hen ... no idea what the male equivalent would be. I will turn it over in my mind.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Whew, I am still all worn out from the mitten post on Saturday. Not much going on today other than World of Warcraft and napping. And eating. I made simple syrup today and it has improved my homemade lemonade somewhat. I knit a few rows on mitten #2 while the game was loading and during a very interesting documentary on the Himalayas and the high plains of Tibet. Saw several animals I had never seen (or heard of) before... a silly looking bear and a very handsome fox being the most memorable. They also covered the Takin and the Kiang, handsome beasts indeed.
Read a little in my current book _The Moonstone_ by Wilkie Collins. A laugh riot, it is not. But it is more fun that _Barnaby Rudge_, so I will keep on reading.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mitten Accomplished!

...a fingerless mitt, anyway

The cables go on the top of the hand....And there is ribbing all the way around. Since these are for a woman at work, I figured I couldn't go wrong with a snug fit for typing & such.

You can see the beginnings of the left hand mitt on the computer there. I knit through two entire movies tonight and made excellent progress. The thumb came out a little roomy, but since it is the first time I have "winged it", I am pretty proud.

Now I just have to remember to make the other mitt a LEFT handed one.

Friday, February 11, 2011

More Knitting

Last night I did not let myself get distracted by the internet; I came home, put in a movie and knit on the wristwarmers / fingerless mitts. Cleverly, I did not bring them home since I am supposed to be in bed early, not staying up late knitting. The drawback to the clever plan is that I can't post a progress photo. Rest assured, a thumb has been placed and I am nearly finished with the right hand mitt.

Working all day tomorrow and then will hit the garden for some weeding and the laundry for some... launderizing. There was a shakeup at work this week and I am grateful to have made "the cut" and still have a job (that I love).

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Tonight I must knit. I will not be afraid of the thumb gussets (note to self - research "thumb gusset placement"). I will complete this fingerless mitts. I will make my co-worker warm and happy.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

That Knittin' Feeling

I have been quietly adding rows to the two active knitting projects. I started an alpaca scarf the day before Dickens festival. I wanted a nice, easy pattern in a lively color as some "comfort knitting". This is some millspun alpaca yarn dyed in my "twisted spinster" colorway. It is a "broken rib" pattern; simple and textured. It is a very narrow little scarf, but the ribbing has "take up" about 1/3 of the width. I only have 200 yards to work with, so I am putting length ahead of width in the finished object. It took a long time to get a handle on how the colors pool in this skein, but I am pretty happy with it now. It will coordinate with, um, nothing I wear, so I figure I can wear it all the time. The pattern is: cast on any number divisible by 4, plus one. On every row: K2, P2 to 1 before end, P1. Offsetting the alternate rows gives great dimension to the fabric. I will try to play with the zoom on my camera some day when I have natural light.

The next project is actually for someone else. There was quite a kerfluffle around the office after I finished my wristwarmers and I have a waiting list for them now (in exchange for cans of cat food, of course).
The yarn tag is in the other room, but this is some bamboo / nylon sock yarn in a nice light lavender. The softness is nice, the stitch definition is nice, and the grist is nice. This is on size 1 needles. There are 3 cables running up the back of the hand and the rest is ribbing. I think the second set will be fraternal twins to these; maybe narrower cables, maybe an eyelet pattern. I don't think I can eke out 2 sets of mitts and socks from one ball, but I bet i can get at least 3 sets of mitts out of it. And after 6, I will be Mistress of Thumb Gussets.

Monday, February 07, 2011


Free day today but no clear plan for getting anything done. I puttered for a bit, washed 8 dishes, cooked a yummy batch of scrambled eggs, pulled up 4 buckets of weeds (yet the garden looks the same), played on the computer, watched a little Monty Python. I couldn't even take a satisfactory nap, and I think I lost a couple hours to you tube videos of parrots. I should still put in a load of laundry before work tomorrow and make a cat food run so I don't wake up missing a couple toes. I did put a few rows on the lavender mitts fingerless mittens), but the only big decision there was that I wanted more plain rows before the next cable. Maybe a nice mile long walk will settle me.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Played a little WoW last night, went to gardening today, and now waiting for coffee to be ready, putting in some laundry and saying howdy to the blog. Today is so nice that I am really longing for vegetable season. In two weeks I will go plant shopping. Tomatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe for sure!

Finished _Little Women_ this week and am now sinking my teeth into a book from 1911 on Fairy-folk of Celtic lands. You don't get much further up my alley than that!

I have Monday off (at last) and plan to do some housework, some yardwork and wash the car. Today is for sloth! ... And maybe some knitting.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Still Hangin'

I am still hanging on with everything I can muster. I got up at o'dark:30 before work to pay the rent and drop off a check for the electric bill, I made it to work crazy early and had some quiet time. There were some soap sales at work today and a potluck lunch that was a welcome break from oatmeal. The purple wristlets were begun and I love the yarn. It is a ball of bamboo / nylon sock yarn, but I think it will have a good home as wristlets, as the recipients were not that crazy about wool. I made it home from work, walked the dog to the bank, and am posting before an early bedtime and 4:45 wake up call.

I meant to post about something charming - I found a package of new, purple, sheets in the closet (from a sale at Tar-jhay years ago) and put them on the bed. The yellow beadstead looks well with them and I feel like I am sleeping inside a crocus flower!

Hanging On...

Missed another day in the life of the blog. But I am giving it a go now! I actually saw a glow in the sky when I left work last night at 6pm and a glow in the sky when I went out to pay rent and electric bill at 6am so I think the light may actually be coming back at last. I am worried about money, but hanging on. Made a mental check list of things that might be "saleable" curbside this weekend.

Ok time to log out and get ready for work

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Back on Track.

Oh, I suck. Two missed posts in a row, when I had been congratulating myself on my progress. I went home both Monday and Tuesday nights to do "a little" reading and fell asleep with the Nook on ("Little Women" is the book of the week).
On the upside, nothing thrilling has happened here. Pets, reading, work, knitting - the usual. I finished the mini scarf for my boss' desk sloth, I am chipping away at the alpaca scarf during lunch breaks and am about to start the wristlet commissions (price - one can of cat food per wrist).
This is a NoAA photo of the snowstorms in the east & midwest. It makes work thrilling when so many of our appointments cancel due to weather.