Thursday, May 21, 2015

Kitten Project: Day 4 - Things I've learned


Everyone loves baby kittens. Even people who initially say that they hate cats will "ooh" and "aah" and want to hold him once they take a look at the utter cuteness of the baby kitten. 

A vast majority of the people will want to pick up, cuddle, and feed the baby kitten. The exceptions are those people who truly hate cats. They'll coo over this kitten, but draw the line at getting any closer. Note that people who hate cats because they're allergic are usually willing to risk an attack because they're so overcome by the cuteness. About two-thirds of the people who want to hold and feed the kitten indicate that they would be willing to take the kitten home with them if I get tired of caring for him.

After one session of trying to bottle feed this tiny kitten, it becomes obvious that the adorable bundle of fur is really a claw-filled, shrill meowing monster. He does not like the bottle, and will not willingly settle for such an inferior substitute for his own momma. Don't let the picture fool you. Feeding the kitten is exhausting, frustrating work. As much as I hate to admit it, being a liberal-minded family-centered child-loving woman, there are times I have full sympathy for the mother who abandoned this stubborn scratching kitty.

The good thing is that the kitten is still going to sleep after almost every meal. Which means I get almost two hours to work. If I'm lucky. If I'm rushing on a deadline, he's up and wanting to play!

At least I did get a little bit of knitting done this afternoon. It's the first I've picked up my needles since Monday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Kitten Project: Day 3

A few days ago I took on a new project. I'm fostering an abandoned kitten.

One of the feral cats in my neighborhood was pregnant, a real pretty Siamese mix, and we've been watching her to see where she was going to have her babies. Two weeks ago, May 6th, I came home to suspicious noises under my trailer. I'm still convinced that that was the big day.

There were cat noises, and soft mews for a few days, and then silence. By the end of that week, my neighbor reported the kittens were on her porch--or as she put it, she won the kitten lottery! My guess is that the mother cat moved the kittens because of the strange animal that visits my yard at night. I'm not sure what it is -- in the past I've seen racoons but this is more the size of a dog with the look of a cat, so perhaps either the bobcat or cougar that have been reported in the area. (I only see it's shadowy figure in the dark, because it runs away before I can get the back lights plugged in, which is why I'm not sure.)

Anyway, the kittens stayed on the neighbors porch for about a week, then momma cat moved them under the porch. Moved two of them, that is, leaving kitten #3 alone on the porch. We watched, and listened to kitten #3 cry, for two days before we gave up on momma rescuing it. In the heat, we were afraid we had left it almost too late. Once rescued, and a test to see if the mother cat would take it back, we (my neighbor and I) became foster parents.

I have custody because even though I work, it's still easier for me to take in the baby kitten. My neighbor has two small children of her own, four cats (I only have one), a husband who is allergic to cats (which is why he's always trying to give the four cats to me along with the cup of milk I've come over to borrow), and a doctorate study to finish submitting and final exams to grade -- so I won custody of the kitten. I tried to talk her into giving me the children and then she could keep the kitten, but that just didn't work out.

The first day was overwhelming. I packed up the kitten in a box and kept it at work with me. We had a little difficulty getting the kitten to drink his kitten formula from a bottle, but eventually hunger and ingenuity won out. The kitten managed to eat, and then sleep for long enough periods that I could get my work done with minimal interruptions. If there were night feedings, I missed them. (I should feel guilty about that, but the kitten survived and my cat didn't take action against the kitten or me so since it worked out I feel no real guilt.)

The second day was fun. The kitten and I figured out the bottle situation, so life was suddenly good again. Our schedule was eat, cuddle on demand, and sleep when I had work to do. I had to skip Knit Night because I didn't think a kitten (even a tiny adorable one in a box) would be welcome at Starbucks, and at home my cat was very demanding of her share of cuddle time, so I didn't manage to do any knitting or spinning for the second day in a row. But the kitten was fun, my cat was even more adorable than usual, so it was a great day.

Then there is today. Yeah. The honeymoon is over. I heard the kitten during the night and there would have been guilt if I ignored it. As a result, I overslept. And of course today is a communion morning, which means I needed to be in much earlier than normal. The only way I could manage was to skip my shower, ignore my makeup (or rather, lack thereof), and go to work looking like the frazzled new mom that I apparently am. 

The kitten must be getting enough to eat, because he's starting to be more active. There was much less time spent napping, and a lot more spent meowing in a loud, high-pitched voice that can literally be heard from one end of the church to the other. I know because first I tried hiding his box (with him in it) behind the altar and then I tried putting it way out in the fellowship hall in order to have a few minutes of quiet time to work. My boss was not happy. (He did refrain from complaining once I mentioned that I could call and ask his children to "kitten-sit.")

The only thing that seems to help the kitten settle down, other than a warm bottle, is for me to sing "Senor Don Gato." It was the only song about a cat that I knew all the words. I feel somewhat ridiculous singing lullabies to a kitten, but my theory is that it translates to purring in the kitten's hearing. Ever since I started singing, the kitten has begun to purr himself.

Once he's fed and quiet and purring, it's hard not to love this adorable face!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Join me with Ten on Tuesday

I really enjoy doing the "Ten on Tuesday" meme from Carole Knits. It's nice having someone else come up with a topic, and she usually gets me thinking outside of my blogging comfort zone.

Today I found a different "Ten on Tuesday" and this one is even more exciting. North Texas is encouraging people to help reverse litter by picking up ten pieces of trash and recyclables every Tuesday. I think this is one of the better ideas I've seen, and one that I can easily get involved in. Let's spread the word and pick up Ten on Tuesday!


Monday, August 25, 2014

It's the cat's fault!

Recently, things have been disappearing on me. I'll put my glasses down on side table next to my bed, and when I wake up they won't be there. I end up frantically searching the house (not easy, when you're as near-sighted as I am), and they'll finally show up on top of the refrigerator or some other ridiculous place. I'll set my scissors on the end table next to me, and after a wild search discover that they're in my gym bag. My book walks quietly behind me, turning up wherever I've already looked.

You've probably already jumped to some crazy notion like maybe I'm getting old, or distracted, or the insomnia is finally getting to me. I really don't think it's me. I'm blaming the cat. I think she's still angry that we brought the puppy into the house, and she's trying to drive me crazy in revenge.

I mean, just look at her face...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday's Favorite - My Son!

Yesterday was my son's 23rd birthday. It seems like just yesterday he was my little boy, excited about having pie and ice cream, and lots of birthday presents to unwrap. Now he's all grown up, and able to buy his own toys. (He recently purchased a jet ski! Seriously, what do you get a boy who buys his own super toy? A life jacket maybe?)

I'm very proud of the man he's become. Although I do wish he would call his mom once in a while!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Twist on our usual Knit Night

Last week (I'm a little late getting these pictures up), we decided we would meet a little early for knitting and spend some time spinning first. I was the only one who showed up with a wheel. Not that it bothered me. I just explained to all the curious people at Starbucks that I was trying to keep up with the demand of the knitters, who were using up their yarn stash meeting there each week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

MPKC 8/20

Recently I've been visited by the green-eyed monster. Because I belong to so many knitting groups, there is always someone who has just visited one of our LYS (local yarn shops) or has purchased yarn online. Every week I sit through the inevitable show and tell, admiring and fondling the additions to someone else's stash. I try to be good and remember that my stash, both yarn and fiber, has probably reached SABLE proportions. (SABLE is stash acquisition beyond life expectancy.) But now some of the girls are in yarn of the month clubs, receiving wonderful surprises of yarn and/or patterns each month in the mail, and it was more fiber-fun than my jealous nature could stand.

So I decided to create my own Personal Yarn Club, using patterns from my "I Want to Knit This Someday" queue and matching each with yarn from my stash. Each pattern and yarn was put into a ziplock bag with a tag letting me know the categories (sock, sweater, shawl, lace, easy-to-knit, gift, quick, long-term committment) and tools (needle size, stitch markers, etc) for that pattern. I ended up with over 60 projects ready to go. If I think of this as a monthly club, I have a 5 year subscription! 

Now that's a stash worth envying!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nupps and Beads, but not much else

I am totally obsessed with the Aeolian Shawl, and that seems to be the only progress I've made this week. Officially I'm working on the sleeves of the baby sweater, since my knitting student has started her sleeves. But all I did was put the stitches onto the needles in preparation to knit, and then I set the sweater aside while I did a few more rows of the shawl chart. And I did plan to knit a few more hearts for Yarnified Love Bomb day (today!), just as soon as I did a couple more rows of the shawl chart. I brought my Super-Secret-It's-A-Gift project to start at knitting group, but the shawl chart kept calling my name and I couldn't concentrate to count the cast-on. (Okay -- I probably went too far on that last one. I mean, seriously, claiming I couldn't count the cast on yet I can add beads and bubbles while chatting?

At least the shawl is making progress. I did have to buy a third tube of beads, which is absolutely ridiculous. Counting repeated charts, I'm on chart #18 with only 3 left to go!  Depending on the nupps, I may even finish the shawl this week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vero Beach

I'm fortunate to have a friend with a timeshare in Vero Beach. Every year she invites me to spend some time at the Driftwood Resort with her, and every year I have an incredible time. She's a gracious hostess and the Driftwood is a beautifully unique place. This year I was only able to stay one night, but we managed to get a lot of relaxation fit into the two days I was there.During the days we alternated between the beach and the pool. In the evening, we played Mah Jongg.

If I had the money, I would be very tempted to purchase a timeshare for myself there. My friend has owned her's since the Driftwood first offered the timeshares. Her children spent time at there at beach and pools growing up, and now their children (and even grandchildren!) are there with her this week. (I, of course, had nothing to do with spoiling my friend's great grandchildren -- even though I made every attempt to do so!)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I hate saying Goodbye

It's been a very stressful weekend for me. I really hate saying "goodbye" to the people I love.

The first "goodbye" was not a goodbye in the regular sense. A good friend, one of my church ladies that I had gotten close to, has Alzheimer's and is now in an assisted living facility. I'm lucky enough to be included on her visitor list (which is very limited, since she is easily agitated and gets very upset -- apparently a common reaction when you know you should recognize people and places but can't). When I first arrived, she didn't know who I was. But I was able to gently remind her of some of our fun times together, and we ended up having a great time together.

And it really was a great time together. We chatted about the things she remembered. We giggled over things we had done in the past. We made plans for future visits. And if some of the things that she remembered weren't quite right, if she mixed up people, or if there were moments that confused her -- we were able to find a way to accept it and laugh together about it.

It wasn't until I got home, after telling her goodbye and promising to come visit her again soon, that I cried. Because even though my friend is still there, and we can still laugh and have fun together, I can see that she is quickly leaving us (both mentally and physically) and the day is coming when "goodbye" really is "goodbye."

While I was still trying to accept my friend's condition, I received a message from an old friend and ex-sister-in-law. Sharon was letting me know that our very good friend had unexpectedly passed away on Saturday.

I still don't know what to say about this. It's been a while since I've talked with Pats, and even longer since I've seen her. But we had a friendship that time and distance didn't affect. I always knew she was there, and either one of us could pick up the phone and we'd start in the middle of the conversation just as if we had talked every day. I'm feeling very lost knowing that I don't have that safety net anymore.

Pats was my college roommate. She was the maid of honor when I got married. She was godmother to my firstborn. She was there when my marriage fell apart, helping to put me back together when I thought the world was ending. She was there to kick my butt when I was being an idiot, and to give me high-fives when I was celebrating. She was my best friend, even if time and distance kept us apart.

I hate having to say "goodbye."

Monday, July 28, 2014

It could be worse.

For $400 I got an afternoon of knitting by myself, a cup of bad coffee, and the check engine light to turn off.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Flower grows on YouTube

I picked up a grapevine wreath on sale at Michael's, and now there's one more project on my needles. 

Originally I had thought to add some of my crocheted hearts. I think that would have been very pretty.

But then I found a couple of videos on YouTube showing how to crochet multilayered flowers. And of course I had to try that out.

I ended up spending the afternoon making flowers. I probably could have finished the wreath as obsessed as I was. Only somebody is not house trained yet, and peed all over my yarn--which was in my lap at the time.

Surprisingly, no animals were harmed in the making of my wreath. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

All Fun and Games Today

On Saturday mornings I usually walk down the street to meet some friends at Starbucks for coffee and knitting time together. We'll spend a few hours together then go off on our separate ways. Recently we've started to expand our time together into a full ladies day. (Although we aren't excluding guys. They just haven't shown any interest in joining us.)

After knitting, we now head out for lunch together. Today we went to The Diner on Gateway. It was my first visit and I was very impressed. The portions are huge and delicious. When she brought out my spinach salad I thought I had made a mistake and ordered a family portion instead the individual salad. It was so good, with lots of goat cheese and strawberries. (And I had enough left over for dinner.)

After lunch a few of us continue the day with an afternoon of Mah Jongg. Sometimes we play at my apartment, but today we went to the bookstore. We should have agreed to ignore the mess at my place because the bookstore turned out to be crowded. All the large tables were taken and we had to be be a bit inventive in setting up the game. As soon as one of the big tables freed up, we snagged up and moved over.

We've started playing for money. Nothing big, just a $5 limit. Last week, our first money game, I lost 50 cents after three hours of playing. Today I won the first game, making Mah Jongg myself on a 30 cent hand giving me a total of $1.20 in winnings. 

I won a second game. This was on a concealed hand, giving me the biggest win of the day : $2.40. So much excitement! 

Looking back in the day, I question what kind of person I have become, to be so happy over a day if knitting, lunching, and Mah Jongg with the ladies. Then I answer myself - a very lucky one.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blogger Makes it Happen!

This week's favorite thing has to be the Blogger app. Because really, it's the only reason I've been able to get back to blogging. 

I've had this app for a while, almost as long as I've had my iphone, thanks to one of my knitting pals. But it was too difficult to navigate to do me any good. I would get frustrated before I could finish a post that it was taking all the fun out of blogging. It was easier to just wait until I could get onto the computer at home. After a while, I forgot I had this app.

Flash forward to the present. I've had the iphone long enough that apps have become a major part of my life. I wake up to an app. I schedule my day by apps. Apps keep me entertained and informed. My banking is done with an app. Even my knitting involves apps! So when I noticed I still had Blogger, I decided to give it another chance.

I don't know why I ever thought it was complicated. It's actually one of the easiest apps on my phone. Granted, I still get annoyed when I'm trying to type a word and it gets autocorrected to something really ridiculous and I can't get it to stop autocorrecting. And I still have trouble getting the formatting to go the way I want it because my fingers are too big to move the tiny bits I'm trying to select. But I can type up my post, add the pictures, and save as a draft. Then it takes just a few minutes during lunch or after work to use the computer to format and publish the draft.

Hopefully I'll be able to get a working computer at the home soon. (Although parting with my much-loved-even-if-it-is-outdated-and-slow laptop is proving difficult). In the meantime, Blogger is my favorite thing to keep me posting!