Category Archives: Pets

New Year, New Self

Warning to the phobic: lots of (pretty) snake pictures!

The post title refers to our gentle corn snake Trinity…who shed her old skin on New Year’s Eve night, apparently, as this is what I found New Year’s Day morning.

What a great metaphor, though, hmm? I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, but just as the old year is shed, and Trinity sheds her old skin so she can grow, we are constantly growing and reinventing ourselves and shedding our old skins.

When we do so, we are even more vibrant, and our beautiful selves shine through.

Fear not, I am not planning any monumental life changes, nor am I becoming enigmatically philosophical.  (Well, any more than usual.)

But as my daughters grow and turn into young women, I realize that growing up (and perhaps, growing old) is becoming more yourself.  Learning to discard all the societal messages and the peer pressure and the irrelevancies that cloud our view.

(Did you know that a few days before shedding, a snake’s eyes turn bluish, as the layer over them starts to separate?  Snakes can be a little skittish then, because they can’t see well. I know that if I am not seeing clearly, I get more anxious, and cranky.  Which makes it harder to see clearly…)

Speaking of daughters, today I gave the final incarnation of the Rock Star’s Christmas present.  She had asked for a Chevron Scarf (Ravelry link) made from two skeins of Socks That Rock mediumweight yarn, which I had bought at Sock Camp.  I made it to a length that I thought was almost long enough, then wrapped it and gave it to her on the needles, so she could tell me how long she wanted it.  (This kid, if it’s not fairly perfect, it won’t get worn.)

She said, “Oh, about twice that long!”

Eep!  It’s not very thick yarn!  Even regular scarves take a while, and this is made from sock yarn.

But by dint of steady knitting since, and freed of the need to knit in secret (yes, she’d asked for it, but she asks for a lot of things, and had forgotten about this), I finished New Year’s Eve before midnight, and blocked it during the Rose Bowl.

She liked it.

All 94 inches of it.

Now, only a bit more owed on another slightly late Christmas present (I needed this one tried on as well; and I hardly did any Christmas knitting this year), and then I can finish up a couple  UFOs and start a new project or two (or three….).

I suppose I am constantly reinventing my knitting self too, with every project.

One last philosophical musing:

When I fed Trinity today (corn snakes eat mice, mostly, if you’re wondering; we get frozen ones from the pet store), I noticed that the very tip of her tail hadn’t shed.  In our climate and in this extremely dry time of the year, it’s not uncommon to have a bad shed.  (Corn snakes are native to the southeastern United States where it never gets as dry as it does here, now that the outside air can be 0 F.) If not treated, this unshed skin could eventually amputate the tail tip.

So, with water and a glycerin shedding aid solution, I helped her get the tail tip shed too.

Sometimes we all need a little help to reinvent ourselves, too.

Happy New Year!  Here’s to a vibrant me and you in 2011!

Peace in our time

I am wishing and hoping for peace on earth, as always.



Since that may not happen quite yet, I am also wishing you and yours peace and joy in your corner of the earth.

Playing Catch-Up

As usual.

Busy weekend…work, and then the Gothlet had her First Communion.

veronica-lake-has-first-com goths-dont-smile

And Beya the kitten-cat seems to be a little older than we thought, just small for her age.  Why do I say this?   Well, we were going to take her in soon to be spayed.  Now, it will be sooner.  She went into heat this weekend.

i-demand-that-you-do-someth hey-big-boy

Mrraawwwwrrrr.  Mrraaaawwwwwwwrrrr.  Again and again and again.  (Citrus doesn’t care in any meaningful way.)  Sigh.  She now has a preop appt in 2 days, and a date with destiny next Monday.

Maybe her frustrations are why I found this the other day:


Those are imported handmade porcelain Fu Dogs that I bought from an art gallery.  The kitten is SO lucky the female Fu Dog fell in such a way as to get lodged and not break.  I see now she’s also messed up the speaker wire and is in danger of pulling the lamp down.  Sigh.


Well, a couple other things to tell you about (other than Madrona!).

One is, this wonderful swap package that I got from Carrie early last week:


(Beya of course had to check it out too.  She apparently knew there was something for her in there also!  See the blue tin just below?  “Fish Out Of Water” fishy treats!)


This was a part of the Knitters’ Coffee Swap Four.  Oh, the nummy things.

Raspberry and Orange Creme Sticks (mmm, perfect with dark roast coffee); Nikki’s English Toffee Chocolate Confection (English Toffee is one of my all-time favorite flavors); cute little Reese’s Whipps (Reese’s being the other all-time favorite flavor!! How did Carrie know?!); a Daelman’s jumbo caramel wafer, yum; and Lady Walton’s Creamy Dark Chocolate-Filled Wafer Cookies. And the coffee to drink it with: Italian Roast, WorldMarket House Blend (I don’t have a World Market close, but my sister-in-law loves the one near her), and oh, boy, Vanilla Macadamia Nut Kona!!

Then the non-edible treats: a Creative Knitting I don’t have, a little cookbook with ideas for dried fruits, fun stickers, cool reproductions of vintage cigar box labels (the top one says, simply, Hand Made!), and these gorgeous stitch markers:


The perfect accent for THIS lovely, elegant, soft yarn:

Noro Maiko, 35% wool, 30% kid mohair, 35% silk; nicely soft, looks like fingering to sport weight; should make a lovely lacy scarf, I think!  Not only do I not have any of this yarn, I had not yet even heard of it, so I am lovin’ it!


Wow!  Thanks again, Carrie!


Here’s Saturday a-week-ago’s Snowy Saturday Sky — entirely forgettable.


This last Saturday’s Sky was rather prettier.


Though it would be so much prettier if it didn’t have the grrrrrr power line that cuts right across the back yard.  And there are similar lines going across our view in the front.   Grrrrrr!

I played around briefly and Photoshopped out the most obtrusive part of the power line.  Ah, that’s better.


In between, however, we had some obnoxious weather, which I realize much of the south and east have just experienced their own version of (so I’m not looking for any sympathy, just sharing pictures).  We were right on the edge of the temperature shift, so it started out as a couple hours of rain; then turned into slush falling from the sky, then little balls of ice.


Then to heavy snow, a white-out for about an hour.   But then it stopped.


At which point, all the rain had frozen hard under the snow, of course.  But it was mostly slushy, so not glare ice (hard on the walking, though).

Still cold, but they’re promising a warm-up soon.  The wind chills have been subzero F every morning, so I’ll believe it when I feel it.

Onto more cheerful matters.


I have been knitting!  I finished a stealth project.  If you are in my family and your birthday is this spring, don’t follow this Ravelry link.

Having finished that, I cast on for Cookie A’s Thelonious Socks (it’s a KAL for The Loopy Ewe Spring Flingers) with this wonderful yarn.


The yarn is on the busy side for the pattern, true, but I decided in my head the little flecks of color would be like jazz notes punctuating the sock.  (I chose the yarn because the dyer is also going to be at the Fling, and the yarn was in my stash.)  I cast on yesterday; looks like not much so far, despite the fact that I’ve knit a fair amount.  But you can’t really see the pattern yet.


A little easier mentally is the other project I just started, Gauntlets for the Gothlet out of Gothsocks yarn.

(That’s a lot of Gs.)

Loving this yarn in a big way.


I’ll tell you about how I’m designing this in a later post.  But wanted to show the dyer’s work.  Gorgeous.

Though one of these projects is a somewhat complicated chart project, and the other simple knitting, I realized last night that they’re both on size 0s (2 mm needles).  My hands are complaining after knitting through two movies; my girls wanted to watch “Hercules” for nostalgia’s sake, and then my husband wanted to watch “Local Hero”, I think ditto.  I usually don’t get that much sitting and knitting time; it was great, except my thumb and fingers are requesting a project on needles at least double the thickness….

Hmm, a BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket) may be happening soon.  That would be a pleasant break in DK-weight yarn.  Or my sportweight yarn from Madrona may arrive that I’m planning to make a red shawl from!  But I think my fingers may secede from the union if I don’t placate them by switching up a bit.  (Or maybe the oh-so-warm tropical 40 degree F weather they’re promising later this week will help!  One can always hope!)

February Thaw

At dawn, it was already above freezing.  Wow.


I had to go to work.

But there was a beautiful blue Saturday Sky reflected in an actual puddle in the parking lot.


(Liquid water!!  Outside!!)

When I got done with work, I drove the Gothlet to dance (when I work, I miss my ballet class, but oh, well).  More water in the no-longer-solid state, with Saturday Sky and a flag.


The dance studio is near the airport.  Airplane in the Saturday Sky:


When I came home, I finally could take the Shetland Seas Shawl off the blocking mat.  Except that someone was already there.


“Gosh, I’m tired.  It’s been a long day of eating and napping.”



Full reveal tomorrow, when Beya gets off her nap mat!

MidWeek Quick Update (or, Not Dead Yet)

1)  First (of three) Nutcracker performance tomorrow (school performance during day).

2)  RockStar also has a band concert tomorrow night.

3)  Finished the Gothlet’s Noro Striped Scarf.



She wore it today, out into the -2 degrees F (-19 C) morning.   To do morning safety patrol.  Brrrr.  It seemed to be well received, however; it got a smile.

4)  There was just about enough yarn left to make a similar hat for me.  No pictures yet.  (And I had to borrow about 5 yards of yarn from another skein of Silk Garden to complete it.)

5) Received a wonderful package which I need to photograph and tell you all about.  Thanks, Janet!!

6)  I need to send the corresponding package, which I have pretty much ready to go (I just keep thinking I should add to it, but I need to SEND it).

7)  My girls are “Twilight” obsessed.

8)  Barnes & Noble has ‘Breaking Dawn’ back ordered.  This has caused some angst in our house.  But is probably good for the homework situation.

9)  Kittens make eating breakfast extremely difficult at times.  Especially irrepressible kittens who feel that your bowl is their bowl.

10) Kittens curled up sleeping on one’s lap while blogging are both warm and extremely endearing.

¡Hasta la vista!  Could be on the other side of Nutcracker.  Hopefully earlier….

Celebrate Good Times, Come On! (Birthday Gifts and Prizes)

Hey, it scans!  Try singing it yourself (“Celebration” (YouTube link, Kool & the Gang): gotta sing the bass part too, at least in your head).

As I mentioned yesterday, today is my birthday, which this year falls on Thanksgiving here in the United States, as it does, oh, an average of every seven years, I suppose.  (Though it’s not evenly distributed due to Leap Years. )

Which gives a special opportunity for me to indulge in Philosophical Musings.  I promise I’ll be brief in the musing part.  And there is a Birthday Blog Contest at the end, also!  After lots of pictures, admittedly.

Last year, my birthday wasn’t quite the way I would have liked it in an ideal world.  It’s not that I expect red carpets rolled out, paeans of laud where’er I go, and gifts rained down like manna from heaven (having children certainly cures you of any birthday-centric focus like that real soon).  BUT — I do like to spend my birthday with my family and with the gift of time to do a little of what I want, which is truly a gift because I rarely have that luxury, being a working mom with a busy family.  Last year, due to work craziness, I didn’t take my birthday off, which I usually do as a gift to myself.  Then it was a very busy day for the rest of the family with dance and Nutcracker etc, so we didn’t even have time to eat dinner together.  And I woke up with one of my 10/10 migraines. Wah, wah, wah.  We marked the occasion on a different day, but last year was just kind of a footnote.

Well, this year I automatically had my birthday off work!  There’s a good start.  And I and my family WILL be having dinner together!  EXCELLENT!  There are two of my birthday wishes already granted right there.  I may not have total leeway to do what I want, due to family stuff, but that’s OK (I have an evil plan related to that constraint).

Now, having your birthday on Thanksgiving makes you even more reflective.  I have been reading Nora‘s excellent series this week about thankfulness.  She and I are at very similar points in our lives.  (We need to meet up at some point, being at opposite sides of the same state, but the one time we could have — she ended up too busy with mom stuff.  I can totally resonate!)  Please go read her post from today, (it won’t take but a moment; then, if you have a bit of time, read the prior three entries in her “Week of Thanks”, partly because she expresses so well what I feel also).

We get gifts on our birthday, traditionally.

At Thanksgiving, we are encouraged to reflect on what we’re grateful for.

Well, it is so evident to me that the gifts that I am grateful for, on my birthday and always, are not primarily the tangible gifts that my family and friends give me (the love and affection behind those is what make them the most special, and how they put a lot of thought into picking out something they know I’d love and use).

I suppose that the first birthday gift is the gift of life, of being here to experience all of this wonder and joy, and to give back.

The second birthday gift that I am grateful for is the gift of family.  Here’s mine, this summer.  (I’d like to say that my husband was taking the picture, but he was off doing a music thing.  Imagine a guy in his early 50s with longish brown hair, sunglasses and a slightly sardonic expression, probably dressed in a black shirt and jeans.  Good-looking, oh, yes.)


From left to right, The RockStar (my now 13-year-old daughter), me, the Gothlet (my 10-year-old daughter) in front with my brother behind her, his lovely wife at his side, my mother in front on the right, and my father on the far right.

This alone is so precious a gift.  And one I can’t keep shut away.   People change with every passing day, and our family will change too.  So I will cherish it, on my birthday and daily, and I will try to remember that when my teenager is testing me.

Oof.  I’m going to get maudlin.  And Nora said it all already, so well.  So let me just show-and-tell you quickly a sampling of the gifts that I already have, that I am especially, mindfully grateful for on my birthday:



and Friends (Knitting and Non)


Learning New Things




and Lap Cats



(The RockStar, of course)

and Dance


(both of my daughters are in there with the Degas-style Dancers)

and the heedless, needless beauty that is all around us, earth,



and sky.



(Last winter’s lunar eclipse, reflecting my heart beating as the camera was steadied on my chest.)

So, with all this gratitude and giftiness going around, I’d like to share.

Announcing the second annual Words of Wisdom Birthday Blog Contest!

(Now, if you know me, the “Wisdom” part is somewhat tongue-in-cheek.)

Please leave, as a comment on this post (and if you accidentally leave it on another post, I’ll try to incorporate it too, but this is the Official Birthday Blog Contest Post):

A favorite quotation, poem, motto, song (with a message that you like), family saying, anything that is a personal favorite.  If it’s about gifts, birthdays, November, family, that’s wonderful — but it can be about ANYTHING.  Funny is great!

And, although I said yesterday “winner’ in the singular, “One is the Loneliest Number”,

(your Claymation for the day — are you thankful for Claymation?)

therefore the Random Number Generator will choose three winners (assuming at least three people enter) — because three is just a great number.  (And because my husband will consider it a gift if I share some of my lovely yarn.) ETA: Again, the winners win a skein of yarn in their choice of color.  If you remember, put your favorite color or colors in your comment, otherwise, I’ll ask you if you are a lucky winner.  The skein will be very cool and nice sock yarn, unless sock yarn is totally not your thing, in which case, I’ll find something else!  Contest deadline is midnight CDT on Monday, December 1st, 2008 – so that travelers can return home and still have time to enter.

*Lastly, we already have a winner!  Louise knows her knitting (well, I knew that already) and correctly answered with the detail I was looking for on yesterday’s warm-up contest.


The style of sweater shown (on both cheery models above) is (a Mary Maxim adaptation of) a Cowichan sweater (fascinating history, check it out), and the perky blonde is modeling curling motifs, specifically brooms (aka brushes) and a rock (aka stone).  (Though I love Teyani‘s suggestion that it was a bomb.  Heh.)

Plus, I’d like to see that hairstyle hold up to a few ends of brisk sweeping, Aqua Net or no.  Not to mention the lipstick and the little ascot scarf.   SWEEP!  HURRYHURRYYHARDHARD HARD!  (Another YouTube video.  It’s amateur, because all the professional ones have voiceovers and you can’t hear the skips yelling.  Which they do.  It’s their job. YouTube, ’tis the theme today.)

And lastly, a short YouTube clip for all of those of you who think that curling is boring.  OK, OK, maybe it possibly could be less than exciting if you don’t curl and don’t understand what’s going on.  Other than when streakers with strategically placed rubber chickens interrupt the Olympic medal matches, that is. But if you still are bored, perhaps you’ll prefer this version of curling.

Yes, I have curled.  Why do you ask?

(Don’t forget to leave a Word of Wisdom or Amusement or What-Have-You!)

Kitten Report

One of those good news, bad news things.  Mostly good news.

After the initial feline meetings which consisted of unceasing growling on Kitten Beya’s part, and occasional hisses, but mostly retreating and stalking, on the big cat Citrus’ part, and after careful gradual introductions and co-feeding, a détente seems to have been reached.


Noses have been touched, and playing together has happened.  Although we still separate them when no one is home, since occasionally adrenaline seems to run high.

And the big cat sometimes gets a little weary of attention paid to kitten, and kitten antics, and kitten growling.


I think I’ll just go sit here and help this shawl block.


Great Flaming Hairballs, what IS she doing now?

So, the bad news?

For the last several nights, my husband has been complaining of his legs itching.  He has psoriasis (though it’s usually not seriously itchy) and the weather has suddenly turned cold, with accompanying dry air, so I didn’t think much of it the first night.  But the second night, or rather yesterday morning, he said his legs itched so much it was driving him crazy, and he couldn’t fall asleep, so dozed on the recliner after taking an antihistamine.  So last night I looked at his legs.

The red spots weren’t all psoriasis.


Miss Beya has two little bald patches on the backs of her legs, where she had cuts when she was found.  I just thought it was still healing.  But (though she hasn’t had her vet visit for this yet, it’s scheduled for day after tomorrow), I’ve now read that ringworm often or usually enters the skin in cuts or non-intact skin (and of course, I knew that kittens were very susceptible); in cats it shows up as little hairless spots, or causes no symptoms.   (They don’t seem to get itchy.)

When Beya and my husband were hanging out together at the studio, my husband often had his shoes and socks off; Beya loved to wind around his feet; and his psoriasis on his legs is non-intact skin, plus he puts a steroid cream on it as needed.  He was a set-up.

Good news: none of the rest of us are showing any signs.  Bad news: I bet the two cats have had just enough contact that the big cat is at risk (whereas 3 days ago, they had not had any interaction).  Good news:  Kitten has been kept in the bathroom, easy to bleach and disinfect (ringworm, despite its name, is a fungal infection).

Bad news:  my husband wouldn’t let me take a picture of ringworm legs for your edification!  (I would probably have linked a photo so’s the squeamish weren’t confronted with it, but it’s probably good to know what it looks like.  Since obviously *he* didn’t recognize it….)  He looked at me with utter disbelief when I suggested taking a picture.  Some degree of profanity occurred, even, I believe.

He just doesn’t get this blogging stuff, does he?

O Happy Day!

It may indeed be another Grey November Saturday Sky (surprise, surprise),


with some white stuff coming out of said sky again, even.

It may even have started with an evil-omened waffle on the Gothlet’s plate.


(The Skullwaffle was not on purpose.  Really.  Not that she wouldn’t do that.)

But we got unexpected good news today!

Little Miss Beya had a goopy eye yesterday, so she had a vet appointment this morning.  Fortunately for her health, by today the eye had mostly cleared up.  But even better, since she had doubled her weight in less than two weeks, it was decided that she was big enough to do blood work on.

So she had her testing early:  and all was absolutely normal!  (If it hadn’t been, it still could’ve been inaccurate, but apparently all is well.)  She was pronounced healthy-appearing in all other ways as well.

To her surprise, therefore, she came home with us!

However, she did not approve of the current feline resident of the household (he was interested but wary for the most part; however, she went ballistic when he approached).  So she is confined to the bathroom, and we will introduce them slowly.

Everyone seems to be hanging out in the upstairs bathroom a lot more than usual right now.


Just at the moment, however, someone was a bit overtired and overstimulated, as we used to say about the kids when they were babies (“OT/OS”).


“This morning already, I’ve been put in an airborne box, taken out in the cold, been poked at with sharp things twice, had my nails trimmed, and you wouldn’t BELIEVE where they put that thermometer!  Now what is THIS place?  And who is that huge orange scary cat who is not my mother?

I need a nap! Maybe it’s all a dream….”


Well, for us it’s a dream come true, and I think Beya will think so too when she wakes up.  (Plus, she was wearing out her welcome at the studio, after the last two days in which she unwound the reel of (expensive) analog recording tape that was on the machine, and ‘helped’ my husband rewire as he was on his back, under the mixing board, with his hands full.)

Citrus, on the other hand — though I think he will accept her reasonably well — will soon find that HIS naps like this are a thing of the past for a while.


At least when BeyaPlayPlayPlayPlayPlay is around.

He may not be thinking this is such a Happy Day.  In fact, he may be looking to move out for a while until she grows up a bit and learns kitty manners….


The rest of us are ecstatic, though.

And guess what?  The sun came out at the end of the day, too! (Click to embiggen for the full effect, it was rather awesome.)


Thanks for all your good wishes!

W is for Waiting


This small scrap of black fluff is Waiting.

Waiting for tests, to make sure she’s healthy enough to come home to be with our other cat.  (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus are serious infections, passed from cat to cat and potentially acquired at or before birth.)

Waiting to get big enough to be tested.  She was not even big enough to draw blood on yet when she first saw the vet, and some of the tests aren’t accurate before 8 weeks of age, due to antibodies that can be acquired from the mother.


She was found alone in a field, covered in mud and less appealing, more smelly stuff, with cuts of her back legs.  She weighed less than a pound.  Acquaintances of my husband’s found her and brought her into their house.  My husband had just been making noises about getting a second cat (surprisingly, because for many years, he’s been Mr. “We-Don’t-Need-No-Steenkin’-Pets”.  Not that we haven’t had/don’t have pets! However, the only one of them that actually came into our household totally-on-purpose was my old cat Thisby, whom I brought home from the Humane Society when I was in training, before we were married).

The initial plan was to wait a little, have her checked out as above, have everybody meet her, then decide if we could adopt her; but we realized we needed to relocate her from the acquaintances’ house when it was apparent that they were feeding her baby rice cereal mixed with Pedialyte….and Kitten Chow which she had trouble getting down (when we took her to the vet, she said she was only 5 weeks old).

So at the moment, this kitten-in-Waiting is staying at my husband’s recording studio: charming musicians, perching on shoulders, snarfing down soft food and crushed dry food, and growing like a weed.


She has a name:  Beya.  She seems to be very happy Waiting.

Because, after all, while you’re Waiting, you can always play!


Please send good thoughts this way for Beya’s good health.  We’re all Waiting and hoping.

W is for Waiting.

Monday Miscellany

Bits and Bobs that have built up.

  1. Jeanne and Lisa spotted with their sharp eyes the little brown blob in the back of Carny the Goldfish‘s bowl.  Yes — my husband (the pet-scoffer) actually BOUGHT a pet, but only as a live cleaner for Carny’s bowl.  So it’s really an accoutrement instead of for its own sake.  Apparently it’s a plecostomus catfish (algae-eater).  It was dubbed “Typhoon” after a ride at Oktoberfest.
  2. Unfortunately, Carny bit the dust sometime today.  So Typhoon is alone now with his algae.
  3. There are a lot of orange pets I had forgotten about, that you guys think I should have.
  4. I have been knitting stealth things and working on a third stealth project/pattern.  Besides working all weekend and into the evenings.  So I have little to show you.  I can perhaps show you one semi-stealth project tomorrow, since the recipient doesn’t read my blog that I’m aware of, if I get home during daylight.
  5. Thank you for all the nice words about the Pioneer Braid Scarf!  And the coreopsis (which indeed are blooming away, Nora, though the echinacea are gone).
  6. The Yarn Guide for colorwork, to carry two colors (or more) over the left finger, which I showed you in the last post, is not working for me at the moment.  I could use it, but it required some left thumb manipulation to position between one color and the other, which my thumb complained about.  So not in the cards right now.  We’ll try again some other time.
  7. It was a gorgeous weekend.  After work Saturday, I went to Ewetopia Fiber Shop in Viroqua to pick up some Louet yarn which Kathryn, the owner, had kindly ordered in for me, and also some other local yarn may have followed me home.   The local yarn may be earmarked to see the world, or at least New York. . . . On the way home, I had time to take some gorgeous Saturday Sky/Coulee Region pictures.  I was a little bummed going there that no one could come with me, but at least that meant I could stop the car and get out and take a picture any time I wanted. Here’s a sampling:

Lastly, in the midst of all this beauty: life sucks, and sucks big sometimes.  I have nothing to complain about, but some of my friends are hurting.  May they get through hard times as gently as possible under the very difficult circumstances.  And may they find moments of peace and beauty even in the middle of pain.