Monday, June 30, 2008

Missed Opportunity

"Now, over here we have our reception desk where we greet all the visitors.  And, if you look just to your right, you'll see our display of grooming aids.  What's that?  Back there?  Oh, that's where we let patients rest before and after procedures.  And look!  There's a nice shelf!"

This is what I was listening to while I sat all alone in the examination room at the vet's office this morning.  And Prometheus?  Well, he was out and about getting a tour of the facility.  He was accompanied by no less than three staff people, including the doctor.

Our vet is one of those people who probably has one or two moments of "social awkwardness" while she is out in the world of human beings.  In the Kitty Kingdom, however, I believe she might be considered something of a saint.  She is sort of like The Cat Whisperer.  Since my handsome boy wasn't feeling all that receptive to the idea of claw clipping, she thought that the Walk 'n Clip method might be a little more effective.  So she took him on a guided tour.  Isn't that nice?

I suppose I could have used that time to work on my sock.  I had it right in my purse.  But I was sort of preoccupied with the whole business of trying to stop laughing before she came back and never got to it.  For the record, the claws were clipped quite handily and with much less of the back-pedaling seen during the first attempt.  But I do believe that it is worth mentioning that I have never had a tour of the office...

Otherwise, my boy was a champ.  He charmed everyone, investigated everything and passed his first check-up with flying colors.  He was appropriately fawned over and pronounced to be every inch the handsome boy I already know he is.

She told me we were going to the circus.  I was lied to.  

We were all tuckered out after our big morning, though.  Naps were taken and snacks consumed.  However, I sort of felt badly about not giving the sock any attention while I was stifling mad chortles at my vet's expense.  I cut short the afternoon snooze in order that I might tend to that matter.

Yup.  There she be...

I know it doesn't really look all that different from the last viewing.  But this piece of footwear represents a great departure from my usual knitting of the socks.  2/3rds of those stitches currently reside on a piece of waste yarn in order that they may one day grow up to be an Afterthought Heel.  What's this?  No flappage?  Heresy!!!!  What can I say?  I seem to be finding my inner Zimmerman.  I thought I'd give it a shot.  If it doesn't work out, then I can always rip 'er back and return to my traditional flappy ways.

And, if it does work out, then I will have a new sock strategy.  I can just knit merrily away no matter where I be and not have to worry about picking up heel stitches in public.  That never seems to go well for me.  It is not one of the more attractive sides of knitting I've found.  Heck, I can even knit in the round when Prometheus and I go back for his next check up and I'm all by myself in there while he is having tea with the staff!  That'll be nice for me.

What?  You mean I have to back?????


Sunday, June 29, 2008

How Was Your Night?

When I think about all you guys and your respective Saturday nights, I imagine all sorts of good times.  Maybe you spent a quiet evening at home, working jigsaw puzzles and playing Charades.  You could have been out clubbing, but in a very, very responsible sort of way.  I even think about how one or two of you might have rescued a lost puppy or discovered a cure for toenail fungus.  

Or maybe you knit something really cool.  I supposed that is probably a good guess...

At any rate, I like to think you had a fantastic night.  And I always imagine that, at the end of it all, you rested your weary heads on your pillows and slept the sleep of the just.  You are fine people.  A justified sort of sleep is certainly your due.

What's that?  My night?  Funny you should ask...

I was the victim of The Cat Who Napped All Day And I Was Stupid Enough To Let Him.  That would make a great movie, now that I think about it.  Someone else is going to have to write that script, though.  I'm too tired.

When I finally went to bed in the very wee hours, I'd hoped that the fun and frolic might be over.  Not so.  The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty was still ready for action.  There was a rousing game of Chase Things Which Do Not Exist that went on for quite some time and which involved racing across the bed in which I was trying to sleep.  Then it was time for a little activity I like to call Cabinet Thumpin'.  The point of this game is unknown, but it seems to revolve around repeatedly attempting to open the cabinets under the sink which have been secured with elastic bands.  Because of the elastics, they will not open.  But they will make a super keen noise when they slam back into place.  The whole thing culminated with me stumbling out of bed at 3:00 in the morning in order that I might duct tape closed the cabinet that I'd hoped he wouldn't discover was unsecured...but did.  And I gave serious consideration to not first removing him from said cabinet where he was nestled in amongst various boxes and bottles.  I did not do that.  But I thought about it...

And could someone out there tell me for what earthly reason a cat, who has three million toys, a plethora of invisible things to chase and that whole cabinet thing going on, would need to remove the crumb tray from the toaster oven?  Seriously...I'd like to know.  It's a crumb tray.  I could see the reasoning if these were particularly tasty crumbs.  But there was no evidence that crumbs had been consumed.  I could almost live with it if he had licked it clean.  That would be kind of like housework.  

Today has not been particularly productive.  The AGK was up bright and early in spite of his busy night and it really didn't seem safe to not be out there to supervise.  But, I was very tired.  Even the Big, Fluffy Kitty, normally the sweetest of creatures, raised her paw threateningly at the beast who made for such a sleepless night. 

 I was able to get to the grocery store and even managed to purchase one or two things that were actually needed.  I'll get the stuff I forgot on some other day.  Thought was given to activities of a fibery nature, but I just didn't have it in me.  Frankly, all I wanted to do was wait for the baby to settle down so that I could take a nap.  

He eventually did settle...but he was up and back on the kitchen counters the minute I stretched out on the sofa.  Does this boy ever tire????

I gave up.  I grabbed the copy of Night Of The Living Dead (the original thankyouverymuch) that I scored for six bucks at the used bookstore, took up my sock-in-progress and watched some good ol' black 'n white zombie carnage while noshing on cake.  I was really rather engrossed, if you want the truth.  And while I was distracted...

The new baby fell asleep.

Strategic error on my part.  I blame the sleep deprivation.  I'm certain I've got another night of fun and frolic ahead of me.  But, I have a little card up my sleeve.  It's not much, but it is enough to make me feel like I have just the teensiest bit of power.  When you adopt a kitty from the shelter, you get free stuff sometimes.  Not much...but a couple of things.  And one of them is a certificate for a free exam from the vet.  

He's going tomorrow.  I'm not the kind of mommy who is all vindictive.  I won't lie and say that he needs all his shots again or that he hasn't been neutered.  I love my handsome boy and know that this is really just the behavior of a young cat in a new environment.  I'd probably get caught anyway.  Vets know about this kind of stuff.  But I still anticipate that it will be something which the AGK does not remember fondly in later years.  I even bought a new carrier for the occasion.  You'd like it.  It has leopard trim.

I'm sure that there will be retribution for this act of veterinary vindictiveness.  But I'll worry about that later.  For now, I am tired and will take what I can get.  

Gonna bring my sock with me.  Maybe I'll get something done at the vet's office...


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blanketing Baby

If you are a kitty, being a year old doesn't really make you much more than a kitten.  I suppose if you do the math and translate it into people years, you could probably drive or demand a bigger allowance.  But I don't think that either of those courses of action would work out all that well in the long run.  You'd still be pretty young and not really ready to operate a motor vehicle with any skill or manage your money responsibly.

I've had older cats since before forever so it's been an adjustment having a toddler about the house.  The conversation level has changed dramatically.  I used to say stuff like, "Hey, wake up!  It's time to eat your Tartar Control/Extra Fiber/Joint Enhancing Food."  Now I find myself chatting with the household felines about other things.  For example:

(Just after the lights are turned on for the evening) Um...sweetums?  That's your shadow.  There is no way you are going to be able to dig it out of the carpet.

(To the Big, Fluffy Kitty as we cower in disbelief on the sofa) Well, why don't you just go tell him that's his tail and that catching it isn't going to bring him the happiness he thinks it will?

(After stumbling out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to investigate that crash which indicates something has been flung from the kitchen counters) Wha...Oh dear God NO!  Not the brownies!!!!  Anything but that!!!!!!!!!!!

(While holding a squirming three thousand pound baby who still has the strand of yarn firmly clenched between his teeth) I haven't finished it yet!  You can have the blankie when I am done with it!!!

(While holding a squirming three thousand pound baby who still has the strand of computer cord firmly clenched between his teeth)  Just because it has an apple on it doesn't mean you can eat it!!!

Then there is my personal favorite.  It goes something like:  

That is most certainly not the appropriate way to use the Deluxe Kitty Bed!

It was this last display of blatant immodesty that convinced me I needed to finish that kitty blankie.  Someone in this house needs to get his head around the concept of "too much of a good thing."  Until Prometheus learns a little bit about dignity, I shall have to have something close to hand which can be flung over him should company arrived without notice.

So, I broke the seal on my new copy of Cemetery Man, settled in with yarn and hooks and prepared to multi-task.  I could spend the afternoon watching the latest in my series of Zombie Invasion Preparedness Training Films while finishing up the baby's blankie.

For those who are interested in these sorts of things, CM is a rather artsy sort of film in which the living dead are a bit secondary to the plot.  I like to think of it as a cautionary tale to anyone who tries to get all "oh, it's just my job, la-de-dah" about the Walking Dead.  It is not going to turn out well.  Yes, it is fine and dandy to continue to try and find love in this crazy, mixed up world.  But you gotta stay true to the mission if you want to keep your sanity.  Although the scene where Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) is chastising the town's mayor for his undead behavior by telling him that he should be setting a better example is really quite humorous.  And let's face it, if the seventies and early eighties are any indication, no one can push the limits of the horror genre like the Italians.  Even I have found myself saying, "Well, that's going a little far, I must say!" during my many years of viewing these movies.

The blankie was hooked faithfully throughout this training session and edged before the third attempt at killing The Lady Who Kept Coming Back.  The movie was paused in order that the baby could be coaxed out of his most embarrassingly inappropriate sleeping pose to pass blankie judgement. 

The first investigation did not result in the rave reviews for which I'd hoped.  But, to be fair, he'd just woken up.

After he was settled on the love seat and resting upon the scraggly towel that once covered the bottom of his shelter kennel, a second attempt was made.

This one went a bit better...although he still seems unsure.

We'll keep at it.  If nothing else, I will have something to use as a shield between my tender eyes and the nether regions of my free spirited feline.  That is a perfectly good use of leftover acrylic yarn, in my humble opinion.

And now I must bid you all Good Evening.  The drizzly skies have darkened further and the timer which controls the living room lights has decided that it is time for illumination.  The shadows now lurk.

And I have to go protect the carpet.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Well Read

It is really rather unfair.  I get a week of summer vacation under my belt and they go and drag me back for training.  And it was the mandatory kind, designed to ensure that I will leave No Child Behind.  There is no getting out of that sort of mandate from the federal government.  

I went to bed at a reasonable hour even though I am long since past the habit of such things.  I set the alarm.  I made sure that matching shoes were at the ready because I have a tendency to not think of that and then run around for twenty minutes in the morning accusing the invisible elves of stealing all my footwear.  That, as you can well imagine, is a real time suck.  Entertaining for the neighbors...but not so good for the timely arrival at trainings.

With all that forethought, I was able to exit the manse without too much in the way of Sheepish Nonsense and made it to The Integrated Reading Process Workshop with tens of minutes to spare.  I would, however, suggest that you not try and quiz me on the material.  I don't claim to have been fully awake.  But, fear not!  The brain was absorbing all sorts of knowledge and I swear on my mother's name that there will be no leaving of children in the behind-place.  

Plus I got a keen binder.  I can just go back and check that.

And the best news?  It seems that when I wrote down the training dates, I didn't really read the fine print.  It is possible that I was feeling really virtuous at the time and overwhelmed with a willingness to be trained until it hurt.  But I don't think that was the case...  At any rate, I don't have to go tomorrow.  That one is just for the Language Arts teachers.  I don't exactly fit that category so I get to take a pass!  


Meanwhile, the kitties and I had to endure a full day of separation.  Sure, I had to bring the laptop with me to training and could share slide shows of the new baby to anyone willing to watch.  (Or not willing to watch but unable to find a good escape route.)  But it wasn't like really being here.  For nine hours, we were unable to enjoy one another's company.  We all coped in our own ways.

Some were just overwhelmed with a sense of loss and melancholy

Others, having experienced these sorts of separations before, simply sat at the window and waited patiently.

Me?  Well, I coped in the only way a knitter knows...

Sheepie make sock.

When I returned home, all full of the knowledge and so very well-trained, there was much in the way of rejoicing.  Certain new babies who are absurdly gi-normous and quite handsome got a little carried away and there was a small amount of damage done to various household knick-knacks as he capered about merrily.  That's  OK.  I was just happy to see that the two little ones had survived the day without any major sibling rivalry issues.

There were Greenies and sort-of-homemade-brownies all around!  Tomorrow we make up for lost "together" time!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WNBP: One Week Down

It may be summer vacation time, but we still stick to the schedule.  Wednesday means that it is time for the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  This is probably for the best since there isn't a heck of a lot going on around here today and my only hope for a post is to just give in to the random brain firings.  Let's see what they can do for me...

*I am one week into my summer break and I think I finally got the hang of it.  There was just the right mix of activity vs. non-activity.  There was knitting.  There was napping.  There was reading.  I even baked a little.  It was juuuuuust right!

*Figures.  I discover my inner vacationer and, tomorrow, I have to go into school for training.  I think I have to go again on Friday.  Those people sure do know how to interfere with a perfectly nice routine...

*But it is mandatory so I don't see any way out of it.  I'll bet I can knit, though.  And, being a mandatory sort of thing, I think I'll also see a little extra in the paycheck next week.  I guess I can suck it up for a day or two.

*Doesn't make it right, though.

*According to the UPS tracking service, the package of goodies I ordered online with my brand new bookstore gift certificate was due to arrive tomorrow.  Great.  The day I won't be here...

*Lookee what came today!

They did not track true.  But it was to my benefit so we forgive.

*Cute UPS guy, too...

*I am starting to get a handle on EZ.  My ears no longer bleed when I read her.  

*I think it all started when I was chuckling over something she'd written and said to myself, "Gosh, that reminds me of when I first started knitting and was all innocent.  I actually thought that a sweater was just a bunch of knitted tubes...isn't it nice that I now know more about garment construction and that I cannot knit sweaters?"

*Then I read a little further.  It seems I may have been onto something back before I learned a little something about garment construction.  

*Don't go looking for a sweater any time soon.  I was just making an observation, is all.  

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty and resident Handsome Boy had a very nice day.  He slept a lot and I didn't have the heart to disturb him with flash photography.  

*You are therefor all excused from obligatory cooing and kitty praising for tonight.  

*I haven't had a boy kitty since I was a kid.  Just girl kitties.

*I started a new sock today.  I cast off the scarf I was knitting because I simply couldn't take another row of it.  There was every reason to believe I would go utterly mad were I to knit one more repeat.  Now I have to weave in three million ends...

*I have set it aside for later enjoyment.

*Besides, a sock is a much better travel/mandatory training kind of project.

*I'm still working on the AGK's blankie, too.  But I don't want to crochet that at a workshop and have to explain what I am making.  

*My colleagues already think I am a little "different."

*When you lose a cat to cancer, you find yourself a little worried about anything that is lumpish or unfamiliar.  I saw a lump on the new baby last night as he strolled away to the kitchen for a snack.  

*My heart sank.  

*Did I mention that I haven't had a boy kitty since I was a kid?  

*Um...not a tumor.  

*Thank God I didn't try to get a closer look.  Then the AGK might start thinking that I am a little "different," too.

Happy Wednesday!  May your day be pleasant, filled with just the right balance of naps and knitting and a more solid understanding of feline anatomy than I seem to have.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Every mother goes through it.  You bring home the new baby.  There is a period of adjustment.  You learn about each other.  You figure out the other's routines, likes and dislikes.  The family comes together to make it all work.

And then it happens.  Mommy needs some "me" time.  She needs to go out, maybe be with other mommies.  Or, at the very least, be with people who can converse at her level.  (such as it is...)

And there is great angst.

For what mother can really feel "right" about leaving her baby?  Is this not abandonment?  Will the emotional scars left behind cause the baby to grow up to be a serial killer?  Or someone who lives in your basement playing computer games until he is 40?  No amount of rational thinking and knowing that a good mother is one who also meets her own needs changes the feelings of self-doubt.  But this hurdle must be overcome.

Otherwise, you're just a crazy lady stuck in the house and trying to remember the last time you took a shower or wore something besides slippers.

Today was my day to venture out and leave the new baby at home for the first time.  I bravely dressed myself in clean clothing and selected the finest in floppy sandals.  I packed my knitting, took up my keys and made my way to the door.  There was crying on the part of the new baby.  He just seemed to know.  And yet I held fast to my resolve.  Mommy was going out with the other grown-ups and leaving the baby in the tender loving care of his big sister.

("Tender, loving care" is maybe a bit of an overstatement.  Big sister does not love her brother and there was every reason to believe that she would try and lock him in a closet the minute I was out the door.  But I couldn't find a sitter on such short notice and Big Sister needs to start pulling her weight around here if she isn't planning on going to community college like we discussed...)

So, with kisses blown all around, I left.  I only went back once...just to be sure that all was well.  Then I really left.  I spent a lovely evening at The Yarn Sellar knitting with all the other Chicks With Sticks.  The company was lively, the projects simply fascinating and I only talked about the new baby for part of the time instead of most of the time.  I also got to see Noolie in her new role as Assistant Shop Keeper as she was tending the counter in Patti's absence.  She did a fine job.  One could even call her a master of the trade.  

Yes, it was a fine time and really the best thing for a new mother.  Of course it was hard to leave the baby.  But I look forward to my yearly Summer Of Compensatory Knitting Socialization (S.O.C.K.S.) and believe that it is good for me and my hermit-like ways.  No Mommy is an island, after all.

But I was anxious to get home.  Leaving the new baby in the care of an ambivalent sibling was a gamble and I wondered if he might need a little extra attention upon my return.  I also knew that Big Sister would be tiring of her duties and that I really should get back to relieve her before she lost all patience.  You never know what might go wrong when a responsible parent is not right there in the house to keep an eye on things.  There could be wild parties or long distance calling.  The new baby might be sold on the internet...

When I got home, I was pleased to see that the new baby was already in bed.  Of course, he was in my bed.  And I wondered if this might indicate some need on his part to be close to where his Mommy rests her weary head...

But, it seemed to me that he was taking it pretty well overall.

They grow up so fast...


Monday, June 23, 2008

Back To Business

Last week began with a day and a half of school.  Come Wednesday, I was officially on Summer Vacation.  Yet, it still felt like an "odd" week.  It was all half 'n half.  I had a ton to get done at the beginning, not so much in the middle...and then I got a new cat.  There was no way I was going to be really in the groove. 

 So I gave myself a break.

I put the afternoon workouts on the back burner and the diet never even made it to the stove top.  I ate what I wanted, knit when the spirit moved me and napped with wild abandon.  The whole week wasn't going to make sense anyway.  Might as well dance to to the tune that's playing...

Summer break is a tricky time.  I'm not complaining, mind you.  I chose a career that came with a decent amount of vacation.  I like that.  However, I have come out of a whole lot of summers with nothing to show for it save a brand new wardrobe.  And that was because I lay around for two months eating ice cream and couldn't fit into the other stuff.  I need to keep to a schedule.  I need to set goals.  I need to be my own boss and a strict one at that.  The boss was out of the office last week.  This week, she came back and things were going to get a little more ship-shape around here!

I dutifully set the alarm last night so that I could impress Ms. Boss Of Me.  I was ready.  I then kicked off this week of self-imposed organization and Stuff-doing by smacking the snooze button with great force and eventually turning the whole buzzing contraption off.  

I overslept.  While on my own schedule.  Not a good start.  The boss is not impressed.  

I tried to make a comeback.  Having committed to two daily workouts of short duration in the hope of keeping myself from straying back to the couch, I did the first weight session bright and early (ish).  I picked up the hooks and knocked out a couple of rows on the blankie for the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  I looked around the condo for things that needed wiping down, putting away or outright disinfection.  I tried my best.  But the day was rainy, the schedule was already shot and there was really no help for it.  Normally, I'd just say to heck with it and try again tomorrow...

But that seems sort of Give-up-ish.  I'm nothing of not a trouper.  I'm going to stick with the plan as best as is possible.  I promised you pictures of fibery progress and, by God, I'm gonna give it to ya! did that get in there?  

No, no!  No more kitty pictures!!!  That was the rule!  Fiber!  Fiber, I say!!!

That's better.

This the the first of the Shetland lamb/silk blend that I've been working on.  The yarn is a combination of fine gifting courtesy of Cathy and Kat.  The Shetland came from Cathy has been waiting for my attention for nigh on a year.  But I'm glad I held off.  Had I not, then there would have been none of that beautiful silk from Kat to blend in there.  I guess procrastination does pay off sometimes...

Meanwhile, there has also been progress on the blankie for my handsome boy.  I'm not sure that he is fully aware of the fact that this is to be his snuggly thing, though.  He discovered me crocheting happily away this morning and began to "help."  It was a near thing.  Within minutes, I had an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty fully wrapped in strands acrylic boucle and every reason to believe that the whole project would need to be sacrificed in order that I might save him.

But, in the end, all was well.

I was able to do more on this than I thought.  Thankfully, my baby boy sleeps for much of the day.  You would too if you were up all night "helping."  Last night's assistance came in the form of Bug Control.  While the helpless females cowered in the bed (that would be the BFK and yours truly and we weren't so much cowering as we were trying to sleep) our fearless Man About The House chattered menacingly at the bugs we couldn't see and leaped at them most aggressively.  

Very helpful.  Very helpful, indeed.  

It is entirely possible that the sleep deprivation is impacting on all the Doing Of Stuff around here.  Ironically, the boss doesn't seem to think that the AGK is even remotely part of the problem.  She has been heard to praise him lavishly and I suspect that he is in line for a promotion.  He'll be my supervisor before the summer is out, of that I am certain.  I'll be lucky to be working in the mail room.  

I need to try harder, focus more.  I can do this!  I can keep to my own schedule and follow my own rules of conduct.  It's just a matter of staying the course.  No more fooling around here.  No more making rules and promises just to break them, all willy nilly.  Time to get serious.  The weights need lifting, the condo needs cleaning and the blog is for fiber-related stuff.

Whoops!  That wasn't supposed to happen.  My finger must have slipped or something...

Tomorrow.  I'll stick to the plan tomorrow.  


Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Prometheus Files

Prometheus, the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty, has been a full time member of The Sheep Household for almost a full weekend now.  We have all spent the time diligently getting to know one another and jockeying for positions of comfort and power.  

In case anyone is wondering, I am currently in third place.  I accept this.  I've been here before...

I have learned a great deal about my handsome boy.  For example, I have learned that he really likes to be called, "my handsome boy."  He'll come a-runnin' when I say that.  But that's not all I've discovered through my days of observation and interaction.  Here is a partial list of things I know know about my new roommate.

1.  I have learned that the Big, Fluffy Kitty is still not really enamoured with him.  We are doing ever so much better, though.  There is hissing, a little growling...but she's lost that wild-eyed look of panic that seemed to be the theme for Friday's schedule of events.

Seriously...I still can't even look at you.  I send you my scorn via the side of my head.  Feel it!!!!  Feel my scorn!!!!!

2.  I have learned that the AGK loves toys on strings.  And if they jingle or rattle, so much the better.  

3.  The battery operated Feather-On-A-String doesn't jingle, but he still really liked it.  


4.  I learned that Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties are sixty-seven percent more powerful than Big Fluffy Kitties.  They are rather like The Incredible Hulk or The Sheep In Search Of Chocolate.

The BFK surveyed the damage and is filling out the insurance forms for me.

5.  Very powerful Hulkish kitties hide behind rather smooshy faces, though.  That is a good thing to know.

Admit it.  You wanna smoosh that face, don't you?

6.  I learned that, night or day, Absurdly Gi-normous Kitties like to sit in the window.  

I think he was spying on the neighbors.  I do that sometimes, too...

7.  Prometheus knows how to open the cupboards.  He also knows how to take everything out of the cupboards.  When you use rubber bands to try and lash them closed, he knows that he can pull on them so they will make a satisfying BANG!  This is not as much fun as taking everything out of the cupboards...but it is still a good time.

That's his '' look.  I'm learning about that little ploy, too.

8.  My handsome boy is not a lap cat, nor does he really love to be picked up and held.  But when I call him, he begins to trill and chatter.  Then he runs to me and stands up like a chipmunk so I can pat his big, fluffy head.  He rubs and mewls like the happiest kitty in the world.  I come completely unhinged.

9.  He does not like to have his tail brushed, even if it has lots of ookies in it.  

10.  He also does not like canned food.  With no one else eating it, the BFK has also decided to give up the stinky stuff.  We are a dry food household now, I guess.

11.  Prometheus doesn't seem all that bothered by his not having any fur on his back at the moment.  He's pretty confident in his overall good looks and more than willing to let his personality be the thing that draws folks in.

Bald is beautiful, baby!

But I've set aside all my other projects just the same.  My handsome boy needs a blankie in case the nights turn cold.  I don't want him to take a chill while we wait for his orange fluffiness to grow back in.  And please don't worry.  The BFK already has one of her own.  We are an equal blankie opportunity household over here.

I'm certain that there will be many, many lessons to come over the course of the summer.  And, in spite of my promising to go back to more fibery sorts of posts after today, I suspect that there will be more photos.  Maybe one or two...hundred.  I like to think of it as documentation.  
But I have been spinning, too.  A little bit, anyway.  Maybe I can break up the kitty pix with some nice Shetland.  Hey....

I'll bet I can get a picture of the kitty with the Shetland!!!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

By Your Leave...

 I know that this is supposed to be a knitting blog and all that.  I really do try to keep to the genre.  I even have a little rule for myself which states that I have to at least mention knitting, spinning, or fiber in each post.  If nothing else, then I need to confess that I am doing nothing fibery at the moment.  That means that I have mentioned knitty stuff and it counts.  

See?  I'm committed to the theme.  

But, I'll make you a deal.  Can you just give me 'til Sunday to be all Kitty Headed instead of Knitty Headed?  I have this new kitty and he is really cute.  He is also rather young and something of a night owl.  Much like any new baby, he has impacted the sleeping patterns around here.  He is taking over to some degree.  I admit that I am a little obsessed at the moment...

Just give me 'til Sunday.  One more day of all Prometheus All The Time.  That's it.  I swear it.  Then I'll go back to dazzling the blogosphere with fine knitwear and masterful spinning.  You can count on it.  


Not sure?  Well, why don't you take a look at this handsome face?

Can I get an "Awwwwwww?"

And how about this one?

He's smiiiiiling at youuuuuuuuu!!!

Hmm...tough crowd.  How about I go for a little comic relief?

Frolicking kitty with bald back...

I see we still have some holdouts.  Let's try a more pensive pose.

Prometheus Amongst The Leaves

All right.  It's time for the Big Guns.  If this doesn't get you, then you are made of stone.  Pure, cold stone.  There is nothing more I can do for you.  Those of you with warmer hearts and a compromised Resistance To Cuteness, may need to sit down or have your inhalers somewhere close to hand.  This is gonna getcha.  It's gonna getcha hard.  Ready?  OK.  Here we go...

And I even got the yarny stuff in there...

Everyone OK?  I know that the stony people are...but what about the rest of you?  Do you need a minute to get a glass of water or go adopt a homeless cat?  Take your time.  We don't want anyone to get overwhelmed or faint.  This is a "safety first" kind of blog.  

One more day of kitty blogging.  I'll tell you all the cool things I've learned about my handsome boy, like how he doesn't care for Greenies and that his favorite things are feathery toys on strings.  Particularly those that jingle.  You can all be amazed by my creative response to his having learned to open all the cupboards.  I'll regale you with the tale of his experience with the battery operated kitty toy that was supposed to keep his kitteny self occupied but is now in several pieces.

And there will probably be another eight million pictures.  But it is only for one more day.  I know it's a lot.  If you need to, please feel free to go back to that last shot of his incredibly sweet face.  Take in all the smooshy cuteness.  Let the waves of snuggly goodness wash over you.  Give in to the urge to coo.  

That will help you get past my need to devote just one more day to my new baby.  Besides...deep down, you know you sort of love it, right?  Who wouldn't?????

I can barely look at you people right now...


Friday, June 20, 2008


I know, I know...I seem to keep breaking my own self-imposed Friday Blog Break.  But you guys totally have to see what just happened here!!!!!

It started with a Big, Fluffy Kitty sitting in the window, enjoying the summer evening breezes.

Then, without warning, a loud sound was heard outside!

With even less warning, an Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty flew across the living room and leaped like a mighty puma.  Assuming, of course, that mighty pumas are half-shaved and kind of orange in color...

And then there was this.  For a full minute.  Seriously...

Then he tried to sniff her head.  Things started to go a little downhill at that point and the AGK decided that he'd sufficiently investigated the suspicious sounds.  Apparently, he deemed the situation to be 'safe.'  He moved on.

The BFK looked a bit shocked for a while.  Then went back to sleep.

I view this as progress.  Greenies and Mountain Dew all around!  It's on me!!!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

"Your speech returns me clearly home."*

I'm sure that many of you may recall the dark days of December last.  Except that no one really knew they were dark because I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone that my Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty had been diagnosed with a very aggressive fibrosarcoma in late November.  Or that my whole stupid life was revolving around writing checks to the vet and coming up with ever more creative bargaining offers to present to The Fates.  But the days were, in fact, quite dark and they got darker still.  And then, the day after Christmas, there was no more Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty.

Well...there sort of is.  She's still here.  Except that she is in a jar and that is nowhere near the same as having her here in fluffy form.

I did what I suppose most people do at that point.  I began frantically searching for a new cat.  The Big, Fluffy Kitty was rather lost without her nemesis and had no one with whom to share her daily reflections on life.  She was sharing them with me non-stop.  And I was paralyzed by the thought that she might also fall ill and then who would be the Fluffy One around here?  I was ready to take home the first thing that crossed my path with vaguely cat-like features.  It is only by the grace of some higher power that I didn't just bring home a squirrel or something.

Finally, I came to the realization that I was really just trying to make everything go back to the way it was.  I wanted it fixed.  And that seemed like an awful lot of responsibility for someone small and fluffy.  I needed to wait a bit.  The time wasn't right.  So I sat down and waited.  

The BFK continued to chatter non-stop.  She never used to talk this much.  And when I say 'talk' I mean howl, yowl and yodel.  Still, I waited.  

People asked me weekly if I'd considered getting another cat.  I'd just smile and tell them, "not yet."  I continued to wait.

Finally...the time was right.  I woke up knowing that the day had come.  It might have had something to do with the fact that a certain Fluffy One was babbling merrily away in my face in the very wee hours of the morning.  But I like to think that I just knew the time was right in something of a more mystical sense.

I am a sucker for a sob story.  I'm not the girl who goes out looking for a furry friend who has a pedigree or who knows what the salad fork looks like.  I gravitate towards the ones who seem to need a little of the good stuff to finally come their way.  

I am an Animal Shelter's dream come true.

Meet Prometheus:

Yes.  It is a very blurry picture.  And yes.  That is a ceiling fixture.

Cut me some slack.  Quality photography is tricky when you are frantically tossing Greenies treats to a madly hissing BFK  below while simultaneously dodging your collection of vintage/vintage-looking tins as they are flung at you from above. 

Let's take a look at the stats, why don't we?

History:  Poor, sad stray kitty who has maintained a gentle demeanor in spite of it all.

Age:  Approx. 1 year.

Color:  Orange and White.  And pink.  Because most of his fur had to be shaved off due to horrific matting.  (are we starting to see how I might be unable to resist this kitty?)

Weight:  Somewhere between seven and eight thousand pounds.  This is an absurdly gi- normous kitty.  Heaven help me if he turns out to be a lap cat.  I'll need some sort of pulley system to remove him if I need to go get a brownie.  

And yet, he is remarkably good at hiding.  I have spent many hours today trying to locate this large mass of feline.  We are in the "adjustment" stage of the process.

And the BFK?  To say that she is unimpressed by this turn of events would be an understatement.  She sounds like she's sprung a leak.  This is very much unlike her usual, placid self, but not really all that unusual when kitties start negotiating territory.  I dealt with far worse from The Smaller, Less Fluffy Kitty when I brought her a new sister.  They will work it out.  For now, everyone has decided to take turns in the open and that seems to work.

But I still had to go out and buy her a new scratchy box before she would speak to me again.  Which is ironic since the whole idea behind getting a new kitty was to give her someone else to whom she could blather on about Greenies and the joys of organic catnip.

She is considering the offer.  Her lawyers will be getting back to me sometime before the weekend.

She'll come around.  Her new brother is a beautiful boy and sweet beyond what one could ever hope to see in someone who has wandered for so long without a family to call his own.  The time was right and the right cat came home today.  I think Prometheus will bring a much needed spark to the place.  

For anyone in the Portland area of Maine who is also thinking about bringing some fluff and excitement to their lair, please consider The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.  Due to over-crowding, they currently have most of their cats on clearance.  Cats aged one and over are a mere twenty-five dollars while older animals and those with special needs are eligible for a waived fee.  It is the perfect time to bring a new friend into your life, microchipped, fully vaccinated and with a free vet exam if you so desire.  There were so many beautiful animals there who narrowly escaped being crammed into my car so I could just have them all as my own.  They have also streamlined the adoption process so that you can take home your new friend today with a minimum of papery fuss.  Heck, they'll even provide the carrier if you happened to fling yours into the dumpster after you got it back from the vet that last time because you maybe couldn't stand to look at it for even another second.  Or if you just can't find yours...

But you can't have this one.  He is mine.  And, to answer the question that is on everyone's mind right now, let me assure you that it is a rousing no.  He has not once touched the yarn.  

It was meant to be.

SA    *Tonight's post title is from "Prometheus Bound"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WNBP: The Freedom Edition

It is the first day of summer vacation for Ms. Sheep.  Let's see how she spent her first twenty-four hours of freedom, shall we?  After all, it is Wednesday and Wednesday is for bullet posting.  What could be a better format for listing all the sorts of things one might accomplish in the time given one by the whims of the public education schedule?

*On the first day of summer vacation, it is generally customary for one to sleep in.  Alarm clocks are for the working folks...

*Unless you are me.  And then you schedule a doctor's appointment for 8:15 in the morning. 

*In my defense, 8:15 is a coveted slot at the doctor's office.  It's the one where you will be seen on time as they haven't yet gotten waaaay behind.  My doc is chatty.  So am I.  You can see where there might be a problem with maintaining a smooth flow of patient service.

*When the receptionist asked how I was doing, I said, "Great!  I am on vacation!!!"

*When the nurse was taking my blood pressure and asked how I was doing, I said, "Super!  I am on vacation!!!!"

*When the doctor asked how I was doing, I said...well, you get the general pattern of things.

*8:15 is not exactly a time for me to be having coherent conversations:

Sheepish Annie:  I think I would get Botox.  And that filler stuff for the lines around my mouth.  I think I would do it in a heartbeat if I could find a way to get insurance to cover it.  And a chemical peel...I'd do that, too.  

Dr. Judy:  Um, I asked if you wanted the 90 day supply of your meds...

SA:  But, I would never do that thing where they go in and snip that muscle between your eyeballs so you can't squint or raise your brows in polite inquiry.  That is so over-the-top.  I mean, how vain would you have to be to do something like that?

DJ:  We'll go with the 90 day prescription.  And you should probably just try using sunscreen...

*Then she checked my chart and noticed that I was due for a mammogram, bone density test and needed blood drawn to see if there is even one iota of vitamin D in my system.

*She is maybe a little vindictive...

*Hey, look what I got as a going-away gift from my school:

Book store gift certificate!  Yay!!!

*I think I'm going to get a copy of Knitting Without Tears.  

*After my experience with The Knitter's Almanac, I'm pretty sure it will make me cry.  That is kind of ironic.

*Irony amuses me.

*Last night, I celebrated the end of the school year by going down to York and visiting with all the Chicks With Sticks.  Good times!!!!

*Although I don't think I'm ever going to get used to hearing, "Hey, is that that Sheep Lady?" from people I don't know. (but who are very nice and really quite amusing which is a quality I enjoy in people who are out sheep-spotting)  I sort of want to bleat or something just to be helpful and accommodating.

*Readership is down lately.  I probably shouldn't do that.  

*A big Sheepie Shout-Out to April's Knitting Circle!  It warms my heart to know that, if I ever go missing, there will be one or two people who would notice my absence and alert the proper authorities.  

*Another Sheepie Shout-Out to Mel whose pre-wedding gathering I am missing tonight.  With all the gadding about, I've hit my limit on gas usage for this week.  But I'm thinking of ya and hoping that you are having a rockin' good pre-wedding time!

*I spun some yarn!  I only wish you could give it a little cuddle.  It is so very, very soft and squishy!

Use your's worth it.

*Last summer, Beth sent me this absolutely gorgeous angora blend.  It's taken me forever and forty-six days to finally get it spun up.  I also have apparently lost my world renown ability to "eyeball" equal fiber amounts.  I missed big time on this one and have a rather impressive amount of singles left over.  

*That's OK.  I may never knit with this.  I'll probably just hug it for the rest of my life.  

*More laceweight...I'm beginning to sense a pattern in the spinning these days.

*I also did some blending of silk and shetland lamb on the drum carder.

*But not nearly as much as I thought I would.

*I'm already off to a stellar start on the Index Cards Of Summer Organization.  Day One and I've managed to not finish one whole thing from my to-do list.  

*I'm a role model for procrastinators everywhere.

*Guess what?  I took a nap.  3:00 in the afternoon and I took a nap.

*I kind of love summer vacation.  Especially the first day.  

Happy Wednesday!  All is well here in Sheepie Land and the summer vacation is off to a rousing start!  There was pizza, ice cream, knitting and napping!  If you ignore the part where I got stuck with a big needle and chided for my vanity, then I guess you could call it pretty much perfect!  


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How Many Times Has it Been?

Twenty.  The answer is twenty.

That's right.  This afternoon, I packed up the final items in the classroom.  I waved goodbye to the fleeing backs of children as they set new land speed records for going from a door to a bus.  I attended a lackluster staff luncheon and wandered around the building looking for something to do to kill the rest of the time I had to be there.  (last days of school are notorious for being half-days for students, but full ones for staff)  I spent more time than is good for me tormenting those poor people who haven't yet finished up all their paperwork or who still need to find a safe place to store the flag for the summer.  

I returned the abandoned report cards to the office and checked to make sure that I hadn't left the coffee pot plugged in because that would be an utter disaster for the custodians.  I washed the board for the first and last time all year.  

I stealthily made my way to the door well before the actual dismissal time and don't feel badly about that one little bit since everyone else had already done it before me.  The principal looked the other way, just as principals have been doing since the dawn of time.

I have been doing these things each and every June for exactly twenty years.  You'd think it would get old.  That the monotony might get to me after the first five, ten or fifteen years.

But it doesn't.  It is still a very, very good kind of day.  

Stick a fork in my Twenty Year Veteran Teacher Tushie.  I'm done, folks.  Summer vacation is upon me.  The buses have all exited the parking lot and the custodians are probably doing a dance of joy right now because they are as happy to see the teachers get out of their way as we were to see the kids head out for the summer.  It is done.

If you need me, I'll be here.  I'll be the one knitting the oddly shaped scarf and telling everyone repeatedly and with agonizing regularity that I am now on vacation until September.  Feel free to say, "hi!"

But don't be too surprised if I hug you for just a little bit too long and tell you all about how I won't be getting up tomorrow morning...


Monday, June 16, 2008

.5 (but who's counting...)

The last full day of the '07-'08 school year is behind me.  Tomorrow, I shall arise, perform my usual morning beautification of self, visit the new coffee maker that is programmed to have hot go-juice ready for me and take my cup out to the car.  I shall make the forty minute drive southward and put in a half day with the kiddies.  Then I shall wave good-bye in a manner befitting such a somber and sad occasion for their fragile self-esteem might not be able to take it if they thought I was happy to see them leave.

I firmly believe that their mooning us and waving certain forbidden fingers from the bus windows as they pull away is merely their way of covering the pain.  

Today is the longest day of the whole year, though.  The fifth graders, accompanied by the Cheerful Teaching Assistant, headed out to the local water slide in order that they might make good use of their fund-raising efforts.  The sixth graders, carefully monitored by Ms. Sheep, had their annual Field Day complete with relay races and giant buckets of water.

All this would have been quite nice had it not been for the frigid temperatures.  We barely squeaked into the mid-sixties.  And then it rained.  The weather-watchers and resident doom-criers even went so far at to predict lightening and hail.  I didn't see any of that, though.  It would have made for an interesting day...

It's kind of hard to believe that this time last week, we were edging into mercurial readings somewhere around one hundred.  I suppose it is a good thing that today was cooler.  I shudder to think what could have happened during the sack races under such conditions.  We surely would have experienced a "thinning of the herd" to heat stroke.  

I went into this day of low temps and high hilarity with a full three hours of sleep under my belt.  Despite my tiredness yesterday, I found my brain working in high gear come bedtime.  Every few years, I come up against a Last Day Of School that has come too soon.  I am not ready.  I end up spending the first few weeks of summer vacation trying to finish everything that I didn't do back when I was supposed to.  This is not one of those years...but that doesn't stop me from worrying that it might be.  How not sleeping over the whole thing is supposed to help, I don't know.  But that is apparently how one deals with it.  

It also doesn't seem to matter that everything is done.  And then some.  In fact, when my only "Must Monitor At All Times" sixth grader opted to take today off, I found myself with quite a bit of time on my hands.  I probably could have knit.  But I didn't bring any knitting.  There I was on the last full day of school, no children in my care for several hours and I was at a loss as to how to spend the time.  My greatest fear, of course, was that this would be discovered and that I might be assigned some horrible task like overseeing the Dance 'Til You Drop event or the Run In Circles Screaming For No Apparent Reason activity.  

I got lucky.  No one noticed my lack of students until things were just about over for the morning.  All I had to do at that point was wander around outside carrying a whistle and everyone just took it for granted that I was Very Busy.  The trick is to assume a stern expression and look very concerned by everything you see.  When you stand in one place, you must make sure that your arms are crossed.  Sometimes you should nod approvingly.  They won't even notice that your whistle doesn't work...

I like to think I pulled off a very successful Last Full Day Of School today.  Tomorrow, I'm going to toss the knitting into the bag just in case the Real Last Day That Is Only A Half Day proves to be as easy.

I fail to see how that level of confidence could backfire on me...