Rhymes With Fuchsia

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Saturday Sky and Cat Update

I've actually been saving this one for a while. My faithful readers may recognize yet another view of sunrise as seen from my front yard. The sunrise is now well started on its eastward trek, so that the brightest part of the sky is farther down the street. Even with such a short winter as we've had, spring can't come soon enough for me.

Ed seems to be slowly getting his bearings, finding the food and water dishes as well as his bed pretty regularly now. We're still working on the litterbox. I was feeling happy about him a little while ago because he spent some time sitting in my lap and purring, then got down and was grooming himself — something he does very little of these days. Then he went into the kitchen and vomited enormous quantities. I think I heard him eating again just now, though. It's the usual dance, two steps forward, one back, do si do and barf on your partner. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Blind as a... Cat?

Since late last week Ed has been wandering around bumping into things. We weren't quite sure what to make of this. Today we took him to the vet, who thinks he may have detached retinas due to hypertension. She gave us a prescription for some pills that may improve his blood pressure but not his eyesight.

We're faced with a hard decision. He still seems to enjoy eating (but eats very, very little and doesn't drink a whole lot either) and being scratched under the chin. He doesn't look at all happy about not being able to find his way around. He has no idea where the litterbox is.

Have you ever had a blind cat? Can he learn to find his way around? Is it time to let go? I'd appreciate any and all advice.

Update: Thanks, everyone, for all the kind words and great suggestions. Ed has figured out where the food and water are, although it seems sometimes to take him several passes to find them. He's definitely still interested in eating. I had set up a bed for him (just a cardboard flat with a towel in it) on the other side of the kitchen near a heater, but he didn't seem to want to use it. I noticed that he was napping in the middle of the floor very close to the food and water dishes, so I thought he might not want to get too far away from them, and I moved the bed close by. He now uses it when I guide him to it.

Unfortunately, leaving the litterbox where it was wasn't feasible: it was upstairs, and the food and water are downstairs. We've moved the litterbox to the downstairs bathroom and shown Ed where it is; with luck he will find his way to it eventually. He's just been going eight or ten feet from the food and peeing on the floor, fortunately not a whole lot at a time. I've had worse cleanup jobs.

We're hoping that as Ed gets comfortable with his new state he will widen his horizons a bit. For now we are giving him lots of stroking and chin scratches, which he still enjoys, but not picking him up so as not to disorient him. We'll see what we can do about white noise — one thing I didn't mention is that he is just about 20 years old and doesn't hear very well either, but it's worth a try.

All the other cats except Fluffy seem to understand that when he blunders into their space he's not trying to be aggressive, just doesn't know they're there. Fluffy spends most of her time outdoors anyway (her choice), and we try to keep them apart when she's in. She definitely wants that promotion to boss cat, but luckily seems unaware that she could beat Ed up with three paws tied behind her back.

We won't give up until Ed does.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Family Honor

SPA was a blast, but I'll save a full rundown on that plus our excellent visit with my folks (they live just north of Portland, and the whole family went up to hang out with them for the weekend) for tomorrow. I should have known, however, that if I showed my dad Miss B's and my contributions to Maryse's footwear fashion parade, he would insist on being part of it.

You can see that a keen sense of style runs in the family.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fashion Statement

fashion statement
Better late than never, Miss B and I are entering Maryse's contest together. Note the toe emerging from my sock and Miss B's nonmatching socks. If this isn't haute couture, I don't know what is.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday Shawl, Oops, I Mean Sky

While looking through old pictures (I am an electronic pack rat too) I found a few of this shawl I made for a friend of mine who was under the weather. She is doing just fine now, I'm happy to say. Since you can see just a bit of sky in the picture (shut up! you can too), I'm using that as an excuse to post it.

I used Irish wool bought years ago from elann for the shawl; fellow Barbara Walker aficionados may recognize the pattern as Frost Flowers. This project marked the first time I was blown away by the metamorphosis lace undergoes in blocking. Looking at the picture, I'm also impressed by how loose my jeans are: I can still wear these very same jeans with no problem, as long as I don't want to do anything rash like sitting down or breathing.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Never Say Never Again

Three years ago I made three eyelash scarves for Miss B's school auction. I wasn't enamored of the yarn, nor of that much garter stitch, but they were quick to make and sold reasonably well, so two years ago I did it again. Last year I swore off eyelash, vowing nevermore to touch the stuff, and made a shawl instead.

You know, of course, what happens when I say never again: fate, or in this case Kate, conspires to make a fool of me by coming up with an irresistible counterargument.

While I do a fair amount of charity knitting, ordinarily at any given time I can say no, that is a good cause, but I'm overcommitted already, go hit up someone else. Not in this case. It seems there's a cancer unit at Children's Hospital in Boston, where the kids have decided that they want not just chemo caps, but shaggy funky chemo caps made out of Fun Fur. Children's just happens to be where my son, the Tasmanian Boy, has spent way too much time. Taz was diagnosed with a very nasty brain tumor when he was four years old and given first no chance, and then only a long chance, of five-year survival. He spent nearly a month at Children's, followed by several months at a Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Have you ever been on the verge of a nervous breakdown and bored out of your gourd at the same time? I don't recommend it. To keep myself sane, I started to take an interest in the kids on his unit, and I started to knit for them. I had had flirtations with knitting before, but now it became my constant companion. I discovered lace, I learned about paired decreases, I found out that there were ways to cast on undreamt of in my philosophy. I knit during Taz's radiation treatments and physical therapy sessions. I made a baby blanket here, a hat or a pair of mittens there.

By the time Taz came home from Spaulding, bald as a billiard ball and still fighting the odds, I knew better than to leave the house without my knitting bag. We once spent 7 hours in the ER at Children's (if you go to the ER of a major teaching hospital when you're not actually deathly ill, expect a long wait: you're behind everyone who is); we left without a diagnosis but with a hat.

Taz has been cancer-free for eight years now. He suffered serious brain damage, but he's the world's happiest kid. Having seen what kids with cancer and their families go through, I'd do a lot to make more of them just a little happier.

Even if it involves Fun Fur.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I Have a Bridge I'd Like to Knit You

It seems like every time I run a contest I end up learning more than I wanted to know. This time, however, I'll tell you who won first and then blather at you. I've had lots of fun visiting new blogs and looking at all your great pictures. Thanks for playing, everyone! There were a total of 26 entries that made it in under the wire, and I'm going to round that up to a nice even $50 MSF donation.

And the winner is...


I gave Carole the choice of some Wildfoote sock yarn or a hand-dyed skein that so far exists only in imagination, it being too cold at the moment to dye outdoors. Carole, intrepid adventurer that she is, picked the hand-dyed.

Everyone heard about the big Cartoon Network promotion that went spectacularly awry, right? (What does this have to do with socks? you may be asking. Bear with me.) Turner Broadcasting came up with the idea of marketing CN by putting up LED signs showing a cartoon character making a rude gesture — I'll bet it got praised as "edgy" in several well-appointed conference rooms — in visible spots in various major cities, including Boston. Someone spotted one of these signs on a bridge, thought it might be a bomb, and called the police, and urban chaos ensued, including closed roadways and subways, hours upon hours of traffic tie-ups, hordes of angry stranded commuters, and overworked first responders.

TBN and the ad agency it hired are now reimbursing Boston and nearby municipalities scads of money, and the two guys hired to place the signs are working out some kind of plea deal with the DA. (They were charged with placing a hoax device, a felony, which seems a bit harsh when they didn't intend to do any such thing.) The police and the DA, not to mention the stranded commuters, can't believe that the potential for misunderstanding never occurred to anyone involved in this misbegotten marketing campaign. The marketers, for their part, knew what the signs represented and assumed that everyone else would too. They could have avoided enormous expense by labeling the signs inconspicuously, but they didn't see any need.

The whole mess got me thinking about how much our decisions and actions are shaped by our experience. No surprise there, but I am continually amazed that people who live in the same country, speak the same language, share more or less the same culture, can still have such different experiences and end up looking at the world so differently. A couple of astute commenters pointed out that banks these days are under huge governmental pressure to spot and put the kibosh on criminal activity. So they look for outliers, anomalies, anything that doesn't fit the mold. It's not surprising, really, that the idea of hundreds of people clamoring to sign up for a sock club doesn't fit the average banker's mold, nor is it surprising that we knitters can't imagine what that mold looks like. (However. Bank dudes? As my lovely and highly intelligent commenters also noted, the tiniest bit of research, just 13 little letters typed into a search box, could have saved you much grief.)

So what should we do about this? Realize that not everyone has the same woolly perspective we do. Try to put ourselves in the other person's shoes whenever possible, and try to put them in ours. While they're trying on our shoes, for heaven's sake hang onto our socks.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saturday Sky: Water, Color, Memories

My camera declined to take any pictures of the snow this morning — yes! snow! a whole three inches! — so I'm taking you back to that glorious warm October we had, drunk with color.

Tomorrow I'll sober up and post contest results.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Blogger's Silent Poetry Reading

Enivrez-Vous by Charles Baudelaire

Il faut être toujours ivre.
Tout est là:
c'est l'unique question.
Pour ne pas sentir
l'horrible fardeau du Temps
qui brise vos épaules
et vous penche vers la terre,
il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.
Mais de quoi?
De vin, de poésie, ou de vertu, à votre guise.
Mais enivrez-vous.
Et si quelquefois,
sur les marches d'un palais,
sur l'herbe verte d'un fossé,
dans la solitude morne de votre chambre,
vous vous réveillez,
l'ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue,

demandez au vent,
à la vague,
à l'étoile,
à l'oiseau,
à l'horloge,
à tout ce qui fuit,
à tout ce qui gémit,
à tout ce qui roule,
à tout ce qui chante,
à tout ce qui parle,
demandez quelle heure il est;
et le vent,
la vague,
vous répondront:
"Il est l'heure de s'enivrer!
Pour n'être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps,
enivrez-vous sans cesse!
De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise."
Always be drunk.
That's it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time's horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
get drunk and stay that way.
On what?
On wine, poetry, virtue, whatever.
But get drunk.
And if you sometimes happen to wake up
on the porches of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the dismal loneliness
of your own room,
your drunkenness gone or disappearing,
ask the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock,
ask everything that flees,
everything that groans
or rolls
or sings,
everything that speaks,
ask what time it is;
and the wind,
the wave,
the star,
the bird,
the clock
will answer you:
"Time to get drunk!
Don't be martyred slaves of Time,
Get drunk!
Stay drunk!
On wine, virtue, poetry, whatever!"

(Yarn will work too.)

Happy St. Brigid's Day, happy Groundhog Day, everyone!