Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pollyanna and the Wee Beasties of Chaos

Lyda here.

I am surrounded by cuteness.

A month or two ago, we adopted two kittens from one of my coworkers (they were free – she had even taken them for their shots). They are adorable and playful and energetic, and they make us laugh. We both need to laugh more. And they cuddle with me at night and that helps me sleep. I hesitated a lot before taking on the additional responsibility, but I think it was the right decision. I am battling the Dread Demon Depression (now as always) and it was horribly bad after Tommy’s death and I wasn’t sleeping at all. The kittens help.

Of course I still miss Tommy, and Jason too. How strange it would be not to miss them. I lived with them for so long, fourteen or fifteen years. Much longer than my marriage.

Which I don’t miss at all.

But I digress…

And the kittens are company for me when I’m alone, and that is more frequent now, what with the Resident Sith Master being an adult now and attending college and all. This fall he’s a full time student at the community college near our place – have I mentioned that? He’s taking Economics and Political Science and a history class that is called “Current Issues” and… another class I can never remember. Have I mentioned that I seem to be losing my memory?

Have I mentioned that I digress a lot?

So, we now have two short-haired gray tiger striped demons kittens. The slightly larger, slightly grayer cat we named Cato* because he attacks everything all the time and without warning.

Cato

Cato in an uncharacteristically mellow mood

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We named the slightly smaller, sweet-faced cat with darker stripes Mace Window*, because he likes to hang out on the window sills between the glass and the blinds. Although RSM was saying the other day that his name should be Juggernaut.

Mace

Mace pretending he is not evil

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They certainly create chaos, but it is mostly really funny. Every few hours Mace discovers his tail and does Olympic-level gymnastic flips chasing it. Every few hours. If I had a video camera, we would absolutely win on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Mace is crazy. Not just chase-your-tail-for-hours crazy, but OCD-evil crazy. Mace will not be turned. Once he gets an idea in his tiny kitty brain, he will continue to try it out. Like attacking the blinds. He pulled one set of blinds down off the window finally.

Mace climbs the screens without mercy, and has taught his brother to try too – definitely not funny as the window screens are old and poorly fitted (so we could lose kittens to the Evil Outdoors) and the screen doors are brand new – so we need to keep them nice for the landlady – and… poorly fitted.

Have I mentioned that my apartment is full of poorly fitting items? It seems to be the major leitmotif. But I digress.

Mace actually found himself outside on one Monday, when my bedroom screen fell out and so did he. At the time, I didn’t even know they could reach my bedroom’s high windowsill. Luckily I hadn’t left for work yet – another 5 minutes and that darn cat would have been outside until RSM woke up and noticed he was gone.

He learned nothing from this experience.

Needless to say, we keep all the windows closed now.

Cato and Mace

Their favorite place to hang out

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Like Marge, Cato keeps himself in a state of cat-like readiness – the first week or so he twitched almost all the time. He is mellowing a bit now.

But it is a certainty to him that his brother must die. He continues to attack without mercy.

Lucky for all concerned, kittens are easily distracted.

You might even say, they digress.

* I linked to the relevant movies, and here is more info. Cato is the namesake of the character played by Burt Kwouk in the Pink Panther movies (in this clip, Cato is hiding in the freezer). Mace is named after this Jedi character from Star Wars.

Yet I am trusting that most of y’all will understand both references without the links. Only one person at work got it – she’s the only one who has seen both sets of movies, and we even discussed the color of Samuel L. Jackson’s light saber. Oh yes we did.

One other person at work got the Peter Sellers reference (but not the Star Wars one). The rest of them were clueless.

I weep for the lack of culture in my work place.

But I digress again.

Pollyanna colors outside the lines

Lyda here. Good day for a meme. I took this quiz from House Beautiful magazine’s September 2009 issue, which focuses on finding your color personality.

Here’s their quiz. It asks for one color, but I had multiple answers to most of them.

What’s Your Color Personality?

1. What’s the first color you see in the morning? Other than the ones on the cats’ faces? White, because I rent.

2. What color are your eyes? Hazel. Depending on my mood & colors I’m wearing, they can be vivid green, gray-green, or almost gray – the happier I am & the better I feel, the greener they are. Who need a mood ring? I’ve got mood eyes. But I digress.

3. What color do you wear the most? Royal purple / royal blue / black

4. What color(s) do you never wear? White and pastels

5. What color(s) do you wear when you want to feel sexy? Black

6. What color gets you the most complements? Deep green or rose. A color tester once told me to wear rose if I ever had to testify in court because it is so flattering on me.

7. What color is your lipstick? Uh… don’t wear lipstick, so I guess… nude?

8. What color was your living room when you were growing up? Alice in Wonderland Blue. Really. That was the name of the paint color.

9. What color was your bedroom when you were growing up? Lavender and pink. Shudder.

10. What color(s) are your sheets? Black and white.

11. What color was your favorite crayon as a child? I could never choose just one! I loved all the bright rich colors.

12. What color is your car? White, but my ideal car color would probably be green.

13. What color was your prom dress? Spring green.

14. What’s your favorite gemstone(s)? Amethyst and rose quartz.

15. What is your favorite flower? Yellow daisies. I really like yellow flowers; they are cheerful.

16. What color makes you happiest? Royal purple, yellow.

17. What color depresses you? White. Cool gray. Cool beige.

18. What color calms you? Blue.

19. What color makes you grind your teeth? Pastels. I hate pastels.

20. What color would you like to try, but are scared to? Orange.

Here’s a different color personality quiz from Life Script. Their quizzes are annoying, because before they give you the results, you have to decide if you will subscribe to their email offers. I always put in a fake name and email address, which works fine. But it is still annoying. I included it anyway this time, because “Pollyanna” is one of the answers to Question 8. Heh. I love being an answer, even if I’m not the only choice. This is what it said about me:

YOUR RESULT: Blue Violet

Blue colors your world with emotion. You seldom jump right in, preferring to stand back and watch people and situations closely. Blue people are calm, but can also spiral into sadness. With so much emotion, tears of happiness, sadness, anger, or frustration are quite common.

 

Pollyanna Gets Fairly Obscene

Lyda here. This is the third installment of my adventures at the Orange County Fair. If y’all are interested, here’s part one – fair animals and part two – fair fiber. Yes, I went to the fair in August, and it’s now the end of October. Let’s just say this whole post is a diversion from my fall. And I’m not talking about the season.

I only took two pictures of the quilting, both of the same of the award-winning quilt:

Blue ribbon quilt

Blue ribbon quilt

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This was a beautiful baby quilt. I even took a close up:

detail of blue ribbon quilt

detail of blue ribbon quilt

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I love the colors, the design, and the lavish quilting in golden thread. It was perfectly executed. Something to aspire to.

But I promised obscenity, and I’ll get there, y’all. Heading into the produce section, I saw that the fair has a huge… floral clock.

Time to flower...

Time to flower.

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Not as special as the clock in Quirm, but it did keep time. There were plenty of other plants as well. Including some weird vegetables.
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Like these mutants:
Yes, that is just one carrot on that plate...

Yes, that is just one carrot on that plate...

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And this terrifying plant:
Broccoli-Spinach

Broccoli-Spinach

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Now, that will REALLY scare the kids this Halloween.
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But this is what y’all are waiting for:
The mind boggles...

The mind boggles...

Pollyanna’s Tips & Budget Stretchers for Knitters

Hi, Anna-Liza here. Just like everyone else (with the possible exception of Marin), my knitting budget is almost zero quite restricted these days. I’m mostly knitting stash with the exception of a few skeins I bought for Knitting Sprite’s impending Wee Sprite. (She’s due in December). There are some other things that can help keep you knitting and sane even if your cash for acquiring stash has diminished. Or disappeared. 

Okay, maybe not sane. But closer to it.

So the first tip is pretty obvious –  knit stash. ‘Nuf said. But there are variations on this theme, Grasshopper.

Variation one: Get out all your UFOs and either knit them or rip them. This will add to your existing stash (by returning yarn to it that you no longer have tied up in pointless projects), and make you feel all virtuous. For me, that feeling is rare enough that I really enjoy it when I have an excuse to feel that way. And you get to dream about new projects for the reclaimed yarn, too! Plus you get re-enthused about projects you had sort of (or really) forgotten. If they’re not enthusing you, you should rip.

Variation two: When you’re feeling dangerously close to a yarn shop binge, go reorganize your stash. If you have even a moderate stash, you will find some forgotten treasures in there, and by handling and reorganizing all your yarn, you will most likely take the edge off your fiber jones. While you’re at it, organize your patterns, too. You’ll probably rediscover some that still excite you and can toss the ones you’re disenchanted with into recycling, freeing up some space (physically and mentally) for new loves. Doing this in close association with stash organizing might yield some brilliant new ideas in the pattern/yarn matchup area, too.

Another variation on the theme is to have a yarn trade with your knitting buddies. After you’ve all reorganized your stashes, bring any fiber you’re no longer in love with to a knit night. Trade in any fashion all of you feel is fair. A good general rule of thumb is to take the same amount you put in, without (much) regard to fiber content. Pull numbers out of a hat or roll dice to determine the order. Or just trade around the group.

So, abandoning that theme altogether, here’s a great tip I got from Cheryl Oberle several years ago. For a blocking board, try using a sheet of 2″ thick styrofoam insulation board. I like the kind with the thin plastic skin on both sides. A new sheet will cost about $25 to $30 at any home improvement center. I have a scrap leftover from a remodeling project, about 3′ by 4′, that works for almost everything, and I will be getting an intact 8’ sheet for larger projects, like the lace shawl I finished about a year and a half ago that still needs to be blocked. (Hey, I only just got Eris blocked after having cast on three years ago and finished the knitting last February).

If you don’t like the look of the plain board, cover it in contact paper – pick something that won’t interfere with getting your blocked items straight when you pin them out. An important bonus for me is that once the blocked item is pinned out, you can prop the whole thing up against a wall, which saves floor space and makes it somewhat less attractive to kids and kitties. I said “somewhat”.

Can’t find your stitch markers, or need more than you have? Paper clips work very well. The large ones will fit up to a size 10 needle. Get the coated kind if you hate that metal-on-metal scraping sound. They’re prettier, and still pretty cheap. Also, you can use them for color-coding your lace patterns. (Oh yes I do!)

I will frequently get my mid-size wooden needles, stitch holders, and other notions at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby when they have one of those 40% off coupons running. I will also buy yarn there. I am a bit of a yarn snob, but there are perfectly good yarns available there. And I can’t afford to be too snobby these days, frankly. (If you can, please please indulge!)

I’m sorry if this shocks you, but I will knit acrylic if it serves my purpose – but not the oldtimey Red Heart, which just doesn’t feel good to me. Wait ’til you see the baby item I’m knitting with a cheap very inexpensive acrylic that people keep thinking is handspun. Super soft, washable, and the whole thing cost about eleven bucks.

So what are some of your tips? I’ll collect them and do another post some time when it occurs to me. After all, the more we save where we can, the more we have left to spend at our LYS for the more critical things – like the perfect sock yarn for the gift knitting we’re doing right now.

Oh. Yeah. Gift knitting. I’ll get right on that.

Pollyanna Survives the Ides of October

Lyda here. Yes, it really is me. Y’all can call off the search teams. I haven’t been eaten by my Zombie Army, although there have been times when I thought I was becoming a zombie myself. Hell, there have been times in the last month or two when becoming a zombie sounded pretty damn good.

Sorry for the long silence from me. Too much work, a not-fun-at-all health scare (I’m okay now though), and other things that are not-fun.

What is fun are the two kittens that are now terrorizing living at our house. I have a whole post written about them, I just have to add the pictures which have to be downloaded from my camera. I need to get to it before they finish growing up! Y’all know how it is. I even have another county fair post from the summer – weird and obscene veggies! – that also just needs the photos added.

My hours at work have changed, which I’m still adjusting to. And other changes are afoot at work, which I’m still only suspecting but which may be good for this Pollyanna’s career. I hope.

And we just got past the Ides of October. I just checked my Half-Bucket List. I have 5 things to complete by January 1, my 50th birthday. I can either hustle, or I can lower my expectations.

The middle of October feels like autumn. We even had rain last week. Our place is a wreck – thanks in large measure to the aforementioned furry demons that have made us their servants. And because I rearranged a bookcase to give the Resident Sith Master a better study area. Which means my books are on the floor in a (neat) pile, and some other decorative items are on my desk, awaiting decisions about keeping/donating/selling/sending to friends as holiday presents – hey – there’s an idea!

I’ve been struggling with the Ogre of Depression most of my life, and the last six weeks or more I felt like I was losing the battle. Because of the Evil Health Scare. Because of the financial stuff which continues to suck, let’s just not go there. Because of everything and nothing.

When the Ogre has me in his grip, I pull into myself. I cocoon. I isolate myself from everyone and everything. Including the things and the people who have proven time and again that they help lift the depression. Journaling, meditating, sitting in nature, creating art, sewing, knitting. Even cleaning. And talking to Anna-Liza, and GAAE Brother, and my other friends, and reading your blogs. I haven’t been doing any of that for a month or more.

Now I’m once again gingerly putting my head out of the cave, hoping that it doesn’t get smacked. I’ve done a tiny bit of journaling. A dab of cleaning. A smidgeon of being in nature.

Squeaking past the Ides of October.

Heading toward the holidays.

Scary stuff, kids.