Sunday, May 27, 2007

More finished socks and Pied Piper Syndrome

First of all, here are the latest finished socks. They are in Jitterbug, color 48, Florentina. I've noticed on the Socknitter's List questions about this yarn lately, so here is all my info on these. I used the pattern inside the Jitterbug label since there are only approximately 293 yards per hank. I cast on 64 stitches (their largest size) since originally I was worried that they would be too small for me. They are too large, so they are going to my grandmother who needs socks that aren't binding. My gauge is 8.5 stitches per inch using size 2 Addi Turbos and Magic Loop. They went very quickly. Those bits of yarn are the leftovers. I had used a yarn meter when winding the balls to attempt to divide it into 2 equal balls. Next time I'll use my electronic food scale, especially since I can weigh the ball winder core first, then set the scale back to zero to automatically deduct the weight of the core. Well, I hope it will be that easy.

That's all I've got about socks. On to more misadventures in the land of the Pied Piper. Beth has been in Italy for nearly 3 weeks, so my work schedule has been different while she's been gone. I've not gotten over to Lifeline Animal Project to order my trap, but that's been okay since I've been paying off this last round of vet bills for Brownie. She has to go in again to have more blood work to see how the hyperthyroidism meds are working, and Scooter really needs to go in since I think he's hyperthyroid too. In the meantime, I've been feeding my ferals, getting them used to coming over here in preparation for trapping, neutering and rabies shots. Life as usual. Or is it. A new cat has shown up. She's a delicate, medium haired grey cat with white feet and a tuxedo front. She's not a feral, but a stray. Has she left home looking for a better place or was she kicked out by her humans? She's an ankle attacker. (Mom, this is where you need to stop reading) She's attacked my ankles a couple of times now. Thank goodness I've been wearing pajama bottoms so she hasn't made contact with skin. After all, I don't know her or her history. I did what I do with all cats. I call them to see just how friendly they are. The first time I called her, she came over, sniffed my hand and backed away. She came right back and sniffed me again. I carefully reached out to pet her and that ended with her bullying her way right into my lap. She is a major lap cat. So Keith and I have determined she needs to go to the vet and get checked out and have her vaccines. We aren't looking for another cat. I've got my hands full. After all, pet care is not a cheap prospect, and I do get regular veterinary care for my pets. But, if she's planning on just coming into the house (as she has done twice today), I need to make sure she's not carrying any feline diseases. Anyone looking for a very friendly, snuggly cat? And I've been calling her a she, which is an assumption since I've not been able to get a good look under the tail, but I'm pretty sure it's a she. I hope so since I've started calling her Lily. I will warn you, Lily is all cat. You know, snuggly for awhile, then gets agitated and wild. My plans are just to foster her for awhile. Really and truly those are my plans. I would prefer to work to earn yarn money, not turn over my check to the vet through mastercard.

Other than that, things are pretty normal. Work has been really busy this week. We thought things would start to quiet down as the weather got warmer, but sock knitting is taking off, and we have tons of sock yarn. We got in a very large shipment of Jitterbug and some Regia Bamboo Colors, and the sock knitters have been swarming us. My only concern is that I am able to buy the colors I want before they all get sold! I think I'm going to tackle some toe up socks in the Lorna's Laces (can't remember which one) that I bought to make socks for Keith. I've got to finish this baby sweater I'm working on first since I'm teaching a finishing class in July! I just took a finishing class from Donna, the new president of the Atlanta Knitting Guild. It was an amazing class, but I'm a little intimidated to teach it. I know how to do most of it and where to find what I can't do, but still... Teaching? I'll be fine. All those science courses in college and 10 years of bookkeeping means I'll have a syllabus for the class.

And that's almost all for today. I've got some housework to do before I go to work this afternoon. The air is horrible today since the winds are from the southeast and bringing all the smoke from the wildfires up to the metro area. It's odd to be thinking we really need a tropical storm, but we do need the rain from one. Maybe leave out the lightning and tornadoes, just send in the rain. Oh well, mopping won't get done while I'm sitting here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Wild, wildlife

First of all, Mom's trip to the cath lab went fine. She had the excitement afterwards when the leg artery they used sprung a leak. She got to stay in the hospital another day while they got the bleeding under control and made sure there was no additional damage. Her heart is fine.

I wanted to talk about where we live for a minute. We grew up in the 70's when the natural environment was still under the effects of things like DDT. There are many more raptors and other birds around now, which quite frankly thrills me. It still thrills me even when I can't get much sleep due to this. (click here) Yes, we have an owl. Every year we have owls that migrate through our neighborhood. Few stay for long, or it could be that with the storm windows and a/c we just don't hear them except for a few weeks during the spring and fall. Last night the owl was not too close, but for several nights this week he or she has been in the trees right across the street. The ones facing the open bedroom windows. We've gone to sleep listening to the hooting, and when I woke up at 2 am the other night, the owl was still going at it.

As for this morning there were other birds I've rarely ever seen. Bluebirds. Not just bluebirds, but an adult feeding a juvenile in my driveway. Behind my van. When I needed to be leaving for work. Just how do you drive off bluebirds? I slowly walked towards them and the van. I would have loved to stay and watch, but I really shouldn't be late either. When I got home today, one of the adult bluebirds landed on the birdfeeder and ignored me as I walked about 8 feet away from it. Wow, I just love it.

On the way to work I saw a redtailed hawk soaring overhead, and a redheaded woodpecker swoop across the road. I wonder if any of the other drivers ever notice what is going on around them, or is it just me since I watch birds all the time that I see those fleeting glimpses of color and recognize them for what they are?

Have fun listening to the owl call. Play it over and over again, maybe 50 or 100 times at a decent volume and get a feel for what lulls us to sleep at night.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Georgia Burning

And no Yankees responsible for this one!

We've got a drought going on down here, and today is one of the days when we really notice it. There's a tire fire in Butts County (shades of Springfield!). According to Daphne, who heard it on the local news, the fire has spread into some surrounding woods. The smoke is covering Atlanta. There are rumors of rain today, so maybe we'll get some of the particulate matter washed out of the air. In the meantime, a code red smog alert, which means close up the house and run the a/c. Since we've been leaving the windows open as much as possible, could this be a factor in...

I'm suffering from the after-effects of a migraine today. I very rarely get them, and I usually know what triggers them. This one may be stress. Mom has gone in for a cardiac catheterization today. She told me about it early last evening, and midway through House I noticed the right half of Hugh Laurie's face was missing. Yes, my vision gets all wierd when one's about to start. Since I recognize the starting signs, I took a couple of Ibuprofen, ate some peanut butter (high protein) and finished watching House. After that, went straight to bed. I still feel odd this morning (probably stress).

As for Mom, she tells me that she's been passing out lately. Tells me like it's no big deal. Hmm, if she were closer I think I'd be trying to knock some sense into her. Passing out is not a normal part of one's day. She thinks she knows what is causing it, but there was the incident with the chest pains too, so on to the cardiologist and this. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers today.

Still working on Grandma's second Jitterbug sock, and I've spent way too much time looking at sock patterns online. I joined the socknitter's group on Yahoo, and now wish I could knit even more. No knitting until later today when my head and eyes stop aching.

With this paycheck I'll have the vet bills paid in full, and I'm ready to start again. Brownie's still getting her meds twice a day, and we've noticed that Scooter seems less snuggly and friendly lately. We think he feels bad, which means senior checkup with blood work too. I'm not looking forward to trying to medicate 2 of them 2x day. I'll have to get up 30 minutes earlier just to take care of geriatric cats. On the bright side, they're still with us, and that's worth 30 minutes less sleep.

Well, I'm off for more ibuprofen, some lunch and back to dozing until this hypersensitivity to light and noise wears off. I'm well aware I shouldn't be looking at the computer screen, but that rarely stops any of us, does it?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Finished Socks!

I finished these last night. And yes, those legs are nearly as white as the blanket. I guess I'll have to start using a self tanner soon. As for the socks, in case anyone needs to know, they are knit from Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the colorway Indian Corn. Knit using the Magic Loop on size 2 Addis. I've just gotten Addi lace needles to try when I get ready to start the next pair. I will admit that sometimes knitting socks feels like this:
That's all folks!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Picture Sunday

Here are pictures!

First of all, here is the feral cat family I've been feeding and trapping. I spoke to the neighbors who were going to feed them for me. It turns out a racoon had moved into the territory and was terrifying the human family as well as the cats. In fact, one of the cats I had successfully trapped and spayed is missing. I haven't seen her since I turned over cat feeding to the neighbors. I'm left with wondering what happened to little Fluffy. She is/was such a pretty little cat. Did the raccoon kill her? Did she wander off and find other humans to feed her? Unfortunately, I will probably never know. In the meantime, since no food was coming to their usual feeding spots, they started coming over here. I'm a sucker who still has two to catch, neuter and vaccinate, so I've been feeding them. I had to take this photo with the telephoto lens on the digital camera, so it's not the best. The other pics are too blurry to post.

In this picture you see Momcat on the far right eating out of the blue bowl, the dad cat is the one in the center looking at me, and Tux, the kitten, has his head in the water dish which you can't see behind the catnip. They wander over now both morning and evening to grab a snack. Sometimes all three are together, other times they come over singly as they feel like munching. Of course, someone else's pet cat, a rather handsome, plump, shorthair grey cat has been coming around for the free meals too.

One really fascinating thing I've discovered going to the Atlanta Knitting Guild are the other women who are doing the same things. Ruth, who owns Main Street Yarns and Fibers in Watkinsville, has recently caught a pregnant stray who was living under her shop. She's taken the cat into her home to wait for the kittens to be born. She's already made plans with her vet for neuter/spaying, vaccinations and hopefully homes for the kittens. Pat has used much of her free time caring for ferals, doing the TNR. And a third woman at this past month's meeting told me she worked at Furkids, which is one of the local no-kill shelters for cats. I've got the link here on the left. I've felt a bit odd at times telling people I'm trapping wild cats and having them fixed at my own expense. It's been great to actually meet other women who do this.

Now, on to the knitting. I've been working on a pair of socks for Sahar, who knits like a fiend, but not on small needles. She likes to knit the 30 minute scarf, not the days or months long projects. She's another one who saw the finished purple sock and asked for it! Well, I don't mind knitting socks for another knitter. She'll really understand and appreciate the work that goes into a sock. I've finished except for having to graft the toe of the second sock. I'll put them on my feet later and take a picture before I deliver them. On the needles, I have the other purple sock started for Grandma and the never-ending Malabrigo cable wrap.

And my eating/exercise habits have taken a nose dive with the extra day of work. One more day doesn't sound like much, but when it means another 7 hours spent on your feet instead of in front of the computer, you find it's rather tiring. As in come home and grab a 45 minute nap tiring. Ok, I lie, it's been more like an hour doze. I plan to get back on track this week. I do have to shuffle my workdays around to cover a vacationing coworker, so I have to practice flexibilty, which is one of those things I have to work on.

Check out these blogs for some warped amusement:

Have a great rest of the weekend!

OH! one more item. This lurks above me when I sleep.

Here's Grey, sleeping in the open window above my pillow. I'm not quite used to her leaping in and out of the window at 2 a.m., but I have reached the point where I sleep right through the coming and snuggling up right against me when the window's not involved.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Just a brief note

I know, I've not written in several weeks. I've started working an extra day at work, which has thrown my schedule out of whack. I'm used to being able to take pets to the vet on Thursdays, as well as get hair appointments, etc., on that day. It's amazing how a person can get used to having so much free time that it just gets squandered. I've got less free time now, and I'm getting less done. However, I hope that I can change that by becoming more disciplined. Yeah, right.

Brownie went back for more blood work last week. It seems we've got the right amount of medication, so twice a day we grind up her tapazole and put it into some baby food meat. Turkey has been a favorite, but lamb and chicken are real yummy too. Now some of the rest of the varmints know what that noise is and come running to see if they can scarf some up too. Yes, twice a day I get to play food sheriff. More fun than humans should be allowed to have.

Speaking of which, take this test.
It turns out I'm only 86% Dixie. And yes, I do have some Confederate ancestors. You can't have family in the South for the past couple of hundred years and not have a reb or two in it.

Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know I'm still around. OK, truthfully, Amazon had a buy 3, get 1 free sale a few weeks ago. Of course I got 8 new books. Of course I've been reading them instead of doing anything useful. After all, who can resist Tanya Huff, Colin Dexter and Ellis Peters? I also got some Laurell K. Hamilton that I haven't started yet. And I'm still knitting socks. I've almost finished with a pair that are a birthday present. After these are finished, I've got to complete the other purple one since Grandma saw it when I was in Athens last week, and she wants them. I figure I can give her the socks. One of the other times I was there she wanted the purse I was carrying. I told her she could have it when I've finished with it, but I think it's probably a bit too shabby now. It's a Tara Boone, and follow the link for the picture.

I need to get to bed. I skipped the gym all last week, so I need to get there tomorrow. No exercise and lot's of delicious bread from Great Harvest make Eve a chunky middle aged chick!