Rhymes With Fuchsia

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dirt Simple

All hail the miracle of natural light! Is that better? Yep, I thought so. The pattern is in the sidebar.

My list of intentions for 2008 included this one:

Design my first triangular shawl. (Dirt-simple diamond pattern doesn't count.)

The dirt-simple diamond pattern, which I wrote several years ago, is now in the sidebar as well. (The recycling continues, but, hey, two knitting posts in a row.) I like it because it is, as we say in geekland, an extensible paradigm: it can make a coaster, or a table mat, or a king-size bedspread; or it could stop in the middle and make a triangular shawl. And, once you get the pattern set up, the lace is totally mindless. (Give it a spin, Roxie.)

(Remember about ten years ago, when venture capitalists were throwing vulgar wads of money at anyone who could string together phrases like "extensible paradigm"? Just in case that ever happens again, I'm keeping this bookmarked.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recycled Material

In the category of "things I always meant to do but didn't get around to until desperately seeking blog fodder"...

remember this scarf?

Here's a chart for it.

And here are the written instructions.

Cast on a multiple of 6 sts plus 3: I used 27 sts at about 4 sts per inch.
Row 1: k4, *p1, k5, end last repeat k4.
Row 2: p4, *k1, p5, end last repeat p4.
Row 3: repeat row 1.
Row 4: k3, *p1, k1, p1, k3.
Row 5: p3, *k1, p1, k1, p3.
Row 6: repeat row 4.
Repeat these 6 rows until done, ending with row 3 if you're anal about symmetry. Bind off.

Enjoy. It'll be up on my Comcast site and linked from Ravelry as soon as I get to it, tomorrow, I hope.

In an attempt to give you a better idea of what the pattern looks like, I made a nice blue square (when taking digital photos, dread the red) and took pictures of it.

Hmm. Well, I tried. Maybe tomorrow, in natural light?

About that square: a blogger I read fairly regularly (I think) is collecting 8-inch squares for a blanket her father? uncle? family friend? who is in a nursing home. I'll be damned if I can remember who. If someone could identify her I would be pleased to send it to her (I'll try to block it into a closer approximation of something my ninth-grade geometry teacher might recognize as a square first).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gender Bender

I've been following the presidential race fairly closely but not obsessively, given that 1) I know which party I'm voting for (if you're new here or you have a short memory, here's a hint) 2) as far as I can see any of the top three candidates would make a perfectly respectable president.

But one thing has been driving me absolutely loony: the constant harping on the theme that Senator Clinton is "calculating," "scripted," and let's not forget "ambitious." Whether the pundits intend it or not — I think some do, some don't — these adjectives all seem to cover a basic uneasiness about her, the root of which is "she wants to be a man." No one complains about any other candidate's determination to stay on message, and while you can see a certain former Massachusetts governor carefully parsing every word he speaks, tacking with every capricious political zephyr, in him it's viewed as standard candidate behavior, doing what he has to do.

Ambitious? Hello, the woman is a professional politician who has already attained high public office; if she weren't ambitious she would be quietly practicing law back in Arkansas*. She has as much right as any other second-term senator to aim even higher.

When Grant and I discussed this on our way to work this morning, he pointed out that the "calculating" label gets at both Clintons' tendency to, as the buzzword has it, triangulate: to try to steer a middle course so as to appeal to as many people and offend as few as possible. He mentioned the "don't ask, don't tell" policy as a signal example. He didn't mention Senator Clinton's Iraq-war squishiness, although he could have.

But President Clinton's poll-watching got him tagged as a "people pleaser," and there was much psychobabble about whether his having grown up with an alcoholic father might have made him fear conflict too much. He's too feminine. She's too masculine. You can't win. Senator Clinton found that out yet again when she dropped her guard just before the New Hampshire primary; the conventional wisdom said that her misty-eyed moment pushed her over the top, but there's one sexist pig in every crowd. (I think, by the way, that while her emotion was and is genuine, she decided quite deliberately to take any good chance to reveal it. And I have no problem with that.)

An executive is supposed to calculate, to look at all the facts, especially the inconvenient ones. I want our next president to make world-changing decisions only after due consideration and assessment of all possible pros and cons, not on a prayer and a gut check.
*While I'm getting ticked off at sexism, I should pause to reflect on how far we've come. I can remember when the only thing a former First Lady was supposed to practice was her backhand.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Godot Has Left the Building

You probably know by now, right? that if I start with a sky picture either it's Friday or Saturday, or a Serious Post is coming. As I understand the calendar, today is Monday. You have been warned.

The other day Crazy Aunt Purl wrote about her lifelong love-hate relationship with food and dieting. Her piece is (surprise!) insightful and eloquent, and you should go read it if you haven't already, even if your physique would make Angelina Jolie weep. Although I'm not much for diets, it got me thinking about some weighty issues of my own, pun intended.

I've never had a weight problem (much). I grew up a skinny little thing who could eat whatever I wanted, and until a few years ago I mostly stayed that way, having only to watch that I didn't totally pig out for months at a time. But this:

...so I finally had to stop "waiting until I got skinny" to take chances and do new things.

This is the story of my life. Only for "I get skinny" substitute "I get a better job" or "we buy a house" or "my kids get older" or... well, then Taz got sick, and I couldn't see anything to look forward to. I traded in my part-time technical-writing job for a full-time gig sitting by his hospital bed. Even after the successful removal of his tumor (quite a story in itself, which I may or may not tell you at some point) the doctors gave him about a one-in-five shot, so there wasn't a whole lot of percentage in thinking ahead. I went to all his therapy appointments, I wheeled him around the hospital and outside by the river when it was warm enough, I sat with him while he ate or rested or slept. Now and then I would sneak over to Quincy Market for lunch and wander through the fancy stores, but I never bought anything: they had nothing I wanted. By the time Taz's radiation treatments started, I had begun knitting for the other kids on the unit. I made small things, mittens and hats.

Some five months later Taz came home from the hospital, returning monthly for four rounds of chemo. The doctors said that after radiation the average time to recurrence of his type of tumor was two months. I learned to change the dressing on his central line and to inject him with bone-marrow growth factor. I knitted more small things.

By the time it became clear that Taz had indeed beaten the odds, and he went back to school, and I went back to work, I had become skilled not only at taking the path of least resistance but at not even entertaining the possibility of other ways to go. I was tied down, after all, and destined to stay that way.

But the truth is that long before I even had kids I knew that "until" was just an excuse to keep drifting along. At a certain point the daily stresses and strains of living with Taz became my new excuse. Life is stressful, no doubt about it, but the pace is slower these days. I have time and space and choice, limited but real, if I choose to use them.

Knowing that I don't have to keep drifting along, that I can paddle, and then actually picking up the paddle — that has been my perennial struggle, at which I perennially resolve to do better. I used to play a game with myself: "If I won the lottery, I would _______" — fill in the blank, as many times as I want. If I play that game now, some of my answers will be things like "move to France," or "quit work," but others will be more along the lines of "learn to decorate cookies like a pro," or "finish a sweater already, this is getting ridiculous." The object of the game is to identify the things I could really truly do now, if I really wanted to, and then do them.

It turns out not to be so easy, for me anyway, but I keep trying.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


My mittens are all done except for the thumbs, which I'm working on, and since I got a request for the pattern, I've put it in the sidebar. It's a little rough around the edges, but at least it's up.

I always feel sort of funny about picking names for my patterns — especially if I'm submitting one for publication, I feel pressed to come up with something creative, trendy, too-too-ever-so. In reaction against that I considered calling these Chicken Pox, but I was informed at knitting group this morning that there wasn't enough contrast between the two pinks to really resemble chicken pox, and they looked more like raspberries. So Raspberry Mittens it is. I'm about to put the pattern up on Ravelry too.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Sky

Yet another sunrise as seen from my driveway. I don't know about you, but I never get tired of them.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

According to the computer clock, if I want to continue the daily-posting thing I have nine minutes to get this in under the wire. Here's to slipping in through a loophole, even if no one will see it until tomorrow.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

B is for Books

It's been suggested to me that I have so many knitting books that I should subcategorize them into stitch dictionaries, technique books, pattern books, and so forth. But I don't have that many of them, I can easily find whichever one I'm looking for, and I like some of the juxtapositions that result from shelving them alphabetically by author. June Hiatt's much-sought-after classic, for example, snuggles up to Creative Hands, a Greystone publication, which contains many, ahem, vintage '60s-era patterns. My good friend Roxie stands shoulder to shoulder with fellow creative genius Sally Melville, and — this one is my favorite — Stitchy McYarnpants keeps company with McCall's Big Book of Knit & Crochet for Home and Family.

(20/20 hindsight department: sometime in the '80s I found a large stack of The Principles of Knitting in the remainder section at New England Mobile Book Fair, and bought a copy for I think it was $12.95. Had I but known, I would have cleaned them right out, and I could now, if not exactly retire, at least buy myself a lot of cashmere.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Campaign Poster


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pigeon Religion

Note: This post has nothing to do with knitting, or family, or cats, or the alphabet; it's just a random riff on some interesting stuff I discovered recently. Since as best I can tell I've never taken a digital photo of a pigeon, even by accident, ducks are the best I can do.

In 1948 B.F. Skinner published a paper called ‘Superstition’ in the Pigeon, which described how hungry pigeons reacted when food was offered for five seconds and then taken away for 15 seconds.

Six of the eight pigeons tested developed ritualistic behaviors like turning or thrusting their heads into the upper part of the cage. Each pigeon would do whatever it had been doing when the food appeared, hoping to make it come back; if the food came back fast enough, when it was again taken away the pigeon would do it again, and so on. Once the feedback loop was set up, the time interval could be increased, up to a point.

Of course Skinner (like me) was less interested in pigeon behavior than in human behavior. He comments:
The experiment might be said to demonstrate a sort of superstition. The bird behaves as if there were a causal relation between its behavior and the presentation of food, although such a relation is lacking. There are many analogies in human behavior. Rituals for changing one’s luck at cards are good examples. A few accidental connections between a ritual and favorable consequences suffice to set up and maintain the behavior in spite of many unreinforced instances.... These behaviors have, of course, no real effect upon one’s luck... just as in the present case the food would appear as often if the pigeon did nothing–or, more strictly speaking, did something else.

The difference between pigeons and people seems to be that if it performs the ritual repeatedly and nothing happens, a pigeon will give up sooner than a person would. I don't conclude from this that pigeons are smarter than people. Quite the opposite: the pigeon is just repeating learned behavior, but the person tries to figure out why the behavior works, or why it worked before but doesn't work now. This is a good thing: it's called science, and is the reason we have blogs and pigeons don't.

Of course it's also how we trick ourselves into thinking things are related when they're not, and persisting in those thoughts even with little or nothing to go on. As Susan so nicely put it:
I think the primary human drive is towards meaning. People search for it constantly, whether they acknowledge it or not, and if they are not lucky enough to discern it, will manufacture it out of whole cloth.

Thus the same event is heralded as evidence for all kinds of mutually contradictory theology: 9/11 variously proved, depending on what and whom you read, that God was testing us, protecting us, or ignoring or punishing us because we had ignored or displeased God first.

I don't necessarily subscribe to any of those, and it seems to me vain, in several senses, to infer God's will from the unfolding of human events. A candidate who proclaims that God wants him to be president when his poll numbers are soaring is taking his political life in his hands, and not because he'll unnerve us secular types (although he will): what will he say when his numbers plummet?

As for me, I'm not sure what it all means, though, being human, I keep trying to figure it out. Maybe we're the descendants of space travelers, or the product of chloranthrobiogenesis. What I do know is that I have the day off tomorrow, which means I can knit.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not That You Asked (Recently)

I'm not the first to discover that this business of posting every day can leave a person casting about fairly desperately for ideas. And one can do the here's-a-nice-picture-no-words-needed thing only so often.

It was in this frame of mind that I recalled being tagged with the (some number of) Weird Things About Me meme, at least twice, I believe. It was months and months ago, and even the people who tagged me have probably forgotten the whole thing, but I'm running with it anyway. I've seen this as anywhere from five to eight things: since I waited so long, I'm going with the eight.

  • My toes are really short. My second toe is much shorter than my big toe, and the others are all about the same length. I can, however, crack them without using my hands.
  • I've been married to the same guy for 26 years, and still would rather have dinner with him than with any other guy I know.
  • I don't like Car Talk (the radio show, I mean: you can talk about your car as much as you want). They used to give good advice, maybe still do, but since they got famous they spend way too much time cracking jokes that aren't half as funny as they think they are.
  • My favorite piece of music is the third movement of Mozart's third Prussian quartet.
  • I talk in my sleep. Or so Grant claims. The first thing he ever reported my saying to him was, "Pounds."
    "Pounds?" he replied, thinking me awake if rather bizarre.
    "Pounds of weight. Possible to make either actual or classical marathon."
    (Classical marathon was the college radio station's switch to an all-classical format during reading period.)
  • I write much faster than I talk. Especially in group conversations I have trouble getting all the words lined up right and flowing from brain to mouth.
  • I take my control issues out on my knitting. I tend to knit quite tightly and to disdain self-striping yarn (I alone will decide when to change colors).
  • One of our cats runs from practically everyone else but, if no one else is around, will climb into my lap and purr shamelessly. We have no idea why.
Now that I've gotten that off my chest, here's a nice picture.

See you tomorrow. (I'll think of something.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Saturday, January 19, 2008

A is for Armoire

There used to be a pile of boxes in a corner of our bedroom. Several of them were nice anonymous white boxes, but careful examination would have shown that they had come from a certain Canadian company. Now and then the pile would get a little taller, a phenomenon that I hoped no one but me noticed.

A couple of years ago, after Grant had pointedly remarked for the third time that week on the boxes' esthetic qualities, or lack thereof, I finally hit on an idea. "If you don't like looking at the boxes," I said, "why don't we buy a nice armoire?"

Grant looked at me.

And looked at me some more.

"You want to buy furniture just to put yarn in?"
"Well, not just for yarn. I could keep clothes in it too."

Handsome, don't you think?

Two of the drawers do contain clothes, but the main storage space looks like this. (Those are knitting magazines and pattern leaflets on the center right. Most of them are of fairly recent vintage, but there are some I inherited from my grandmother that a knitting historian might like to get her hands on.)

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking, "That's her whole stash, and she claims to have a lot of yarn? Piker."

I said we got the armoire to store my stash. I didn't say it could hold my whole stash. (The astute among you will note that the pictured boxes are not white.) As I make my way through the alphabet, further revelations may occur.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

I think this might be cheating.

But when you and your camera and a cute really cute ridiculously adorable baby are in the same room together, how can you resist?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Don't Ask Me Why

Cara's contest last week asked entrants to answer the question "What's your favorite color and WHY?"

You all know my answer to the first part, right? Actually, since I seem to have a few new readers lately, or at least new commenters (and you are most welcome: please stay as long as you like), a few visual aids may be in order.

Does that help?

But after shouting, "Purple, of course!" I came up against the second part of the question: why do I like purple? Here are some of the answers that leapt to mind:
  • Because everyone does.

  • Because it's such a nice color.

  • Because some of my favorite flowers are purple.
I immediately realized that none of these is exactly a reason; the first one is demonstrably false (although I can't understand why), and the other two are just ways of reiterating "I like purple." Here's what I wrote in my contest entry:

My favorite color is purple, especially a dark, deep, saturated purple. I like it because it's, well, purple. It's right in between my other two favorite colors, red and blue. It goes well with green, my next favorite color.

It's lucky for me that Cara picks winners at random, because that way at least I have the same chance as the other 689 entrants; if she gave rhetoric or style points I'd be SOL.

So why do I like purple? It's sort of like asking why I like green beans, or cats. I can give you a bunch of reasons why I like cats, for example: they're soft and warm, they're just about the size of a human baby, they don't bark, they generally entertain themselves. Here again, though, while these are cat traits, they're not really reasons: all of you cat people are nodding in agreement and maybe coming up with a few of your own, but all of you dog people and no-pets-for-me people are dismissing them as specious or irrelevant, or maybe even as reasons you don't like cats. We could do the same thing with green beans, or purple, or mustard yellow, a color I dislike but that I'm sure has plenty of defenders.

As my husband the Latinist would say, de gustibus non est disputandum.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

#$&@%!!! Wonderland

Winter is my least favorite season. I hate being cold all the time, and not getting enough light, and having to shovel, and being yelled at by the cats, who are convinced that I control the weather. I wish.

It sure is pretty, though.

Only 64 days until spring.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dawn of a New Era

Important note before I get started on today's topic: thank you, everyone, for your very kind condolences on Ed's passing, and for your birthday wishes for Grant. I'm pleased to say that his semicentennial hasn't changed him noticeably; he's still the most infuriating husband I've ever had. I like to tell him this, as it is incontestably true; of course he is likely to retort with equal veracity that he's also the least infuriating husband I've ever had.

Today's topic is, believe it or not, sports. Yes, this is a knitting blog (no, really, it is), but I have no knitting to show you, and I have a problem.

When I was a kid I always rooted for the underdog and for the local pro sports teams, the Patriots and the Red Sox. In those halcyon days there was no conflict there. The Red Sox were like the boyfriend who always says "I'll call you," who brings you flowers and takes you dancing just when you'd almost managed to move on, who gets you flying so high through the brilliant, exhilarating blue that you can't get a deep breath... only to dump you, spectacularly and publicly, leaving you groping under a dim street light for the smithereens that used to be your heart.

No one who did not suffer through at least 30 of those roller-coaster years can truly fathom the abnormal psychology of the lifelong Red Sox fan. Grant, who considers himself a dyed-in-the-wool baseball aficionado, cannot understand my refusal to watch the close games, my constant dampening of expectations as the season progresses. For him a great baseball game is won by a score of 1-0, or perhaps 2-1 or 3-2, in the bottom of the 11th inning, after gritty and sometimes brilliant effort by both teams. The winner is less important than the quality of play. This attitude is foreign to me: as far as I'm concerned any game the Yankees win is by definition a bad one, especially if they beat the Sox, and all the more so if it drags on into nail-biting extra innings.

And the Patriots? The Patriots, better known as the Patsies, perennial denizens of last place throughout my childhood, did not even hold out false hope. Right from every season's beginning we knew that an early win, or two or three, portended not a championship at long last but at best a rise to mediocrity. Joke from the good old days:

Q: The Patriots got a touchdown? How did that happen?
A: The other team misread the clock, thought the game was over and left the field. Three plays later the Patriots scored.

How times have changed. The Red Sox are the reigning World Series champions (again!), the Patriots have the world's biggest target painted on their back, and I... have a problem. The Chargers, this weekend's victim, er, opponent, have never won a Super Bowl. The Packers, of course, are another story. Another elderly joke:

Vince Lombardi gets in bed with his wife one night. "My God, your feet are cold," she says.
"Honey," he sighs in exasperation, "how many times do I have to tell you? When we're alone you can just call me Vince."

But that was then, and this is now. The Packers are the only nonprofit, community-owned major-league pro sports team in the US. The Giants, who haven't won it all since 1991, are the oldest team in the NFL. Besides, how could you root against the perpetually overshadowed and second-guessed Eli Manning? To say nothing of the ageless and undeniably hot Brett Favre? (Not that I couldn't find room under my bed for Tom Brady's shoes, if you must know.)

This is not going to be easy.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Word Warrior

Since today's post is a bit rantish, I will first show you a gratuitous rooster picture.

Nice, no? OK, moving right along...

I have an alter ego, occasionally referred to by my colleagues as the Grammar Nazi; I prefer to call him Conan, the Grammarian. While recognizing that language is essentially fluid, Conan is somewhat of a fuddy-duddy; he may be related to my grandmother, who, I am told, was wont to murmur after consulting the dictionary, "They keep changing the first pronunciation to the second pronunication, but I will continue to use the correct first pronunciation."

Generally I try to keep Conan quiet, preferably comatose, since otherwise his constant squawking gives me no peace while I'm trying to read the paper. Now and then, however, especially when feeling a bit cabin-feverish at the end of a snow day, he gets the floor. Today he would like to talk about the verbs lie and lay.

Lie, meaning to recline, is intransitive: I lie, am lying, lay, have lain down to sleep.

Lay, meaning to place or put, is transitive: Conan lays, is laying, laid, has laid it on the line.

No doubt the confusion stems from the fact that lay is a past tense of lie. These days lay gets used as its own past tense and as the present tense of lie; I haven't heard anyone outside my immediate family say lain in I don't know how long.

So, my friends, I beg you, for Conan's sanity: if you want to say lay, but can't answer the question "lay what?", you probably want lie. If you want to say lie, to mention that you're lying something down, you want lay.

If you're still here, you may at this point be wondering about "Now I lay me down to sleep..." — but not to worry. Lay what? Lay me. No lie.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ballet Girl

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Sky: Past and Yet to Come

As the days get longer at an ever so stately pace, here's something to look forward to.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Eye Candy Friday

All right, so I know ECF was created so we could show nice pix that didn't necessarily involve sky, saving the sky ones for Saturday. But I don't have anything earthbound that really excites me, and you can't have too many sky pictures, can you?

Maybe you can, but I can't.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Grant has now had two birthdays since I started blogging. The first one was not much to write home about: what can you say about 49, after all? I suppose if you think seven is lucky, you could call 49 luck squared, and I plan to take exactly that approach next month.

Today's event, on the other hand, is definitely a big deal.

To my favorite chauffeur,

and the world's greatest dad,

who makes a splash wherever he goes...

Happy birthday, honey!

...oh. Let me try that again.

Happy birthday, honey!

I love you.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Let's Talk About Knitting

...maybe that will take my mind off this infernal word game that I can't seem to stop playing. It's so bad that I completely spaced knitting group this morning. Sorry, guys, you can give me 30 lashes with a wet skein.

I started these mittens last summer as airplane knitting — a very simple stranded pattern that wouldn't overtax my jet-lagged brain. I am still behind on my, um, I'm calling it winter knitting, but it's in time-out at the moment while I muster the strength to tink several rows. So I pulled the mittens out earlier this week and, having finally untangled the yarn and sworn to myself never again to do two stranded mittens (or socks) on two circs, I've warmed again to their spotted simplicity.

I've been asked for the pattern, and it will be forthcoming, but first I have to play more get some sleep. (It's a humbling experience, I tell you true. The game is basically online Boggle, with a somewhat different scoring system. I used to think I was pretty good at Boggle, but most of the time I'm happy with half the top score.)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ed (1987-2007)

My former boss called me on a wet April afternoon, to tell me that a friend of a friend had found a kitten in the middle of the road, soaked and shivering, and couldn't keep it because her daughters were deathly allergic. She couldn't take it, she said, because she had eight cats already (this being a not-so-subtle allusion to my having thrust one upon her not that long ago), and it was my turn.

We had just lost our beloved Heidi, who used to walk up and down the bed purring and yowling when Grant got home from work, demanding that he lie down so she could nuzzle his chin, and we didn't feel ready for another cat. Besides, we might be moving soon. Still, I said, we could at least take this poor critter until we could find someone who really wanted it.

The kitten was tiny, orange and fuzzy, with weird bare patches on his back, but, after all, he'd had a hard life so far. I walked into our kitchen cupping him in one hand at waist level, and Grant greeted us with "What the hell is that?"
"It's a kitten," I said, "what does it look like?"
"You're not keeping it."
"No, no, I had to take it for now, but we'll find it a good home."

We went into the living room to watch TV, and the kitten followed us and scaled the sofa kitten-fashion, using his claws as crampons. "Sir Edmund Fuzzball," said Grant.

That, of course, was the beginning of the end. Next thing I knew Grant suggested taking him to the vet; we couldn't foist a kitten on someone else without making sure he had a clean bill of health, after all. The bald spots turned out to be ringworm, nicely complemented by fleas and ear mites. The vet told us the parasites should be easy to get rid of: all we needed to do was bathe him and apply ointment daily for a month. To add insult to injury, our other cat, Calcutta, already being endlessly chased around our apartment by this miniature yellow demon, would need weekly bathing as a precaution.

I can't remember how many baths it took for us to realize that Ed had wormed himself (as it were) into the household on a permanent basis, but it wasn't too many. He moved with us to our first house that summer, and he grew big and handsome, regaining the fur lost to ringworm and then some.

He was the sweetest cat we ever knew, snuggly and purry and drapey.

His patience was legendary (unless you happened to be a dog or Fluffy, the one cat he could never abide). With humans of all shapes and sizes, he would tolerate more than we had any right to expect of a cat.

Grant called him the world's oldest kitten. He remained game for kitty toys, including the ones he commandeered himself from the Christmas tree, right up until his sight failed.

And, of course, he discharged all his feline rights and responsibilities, such as providing knitting assistance whenever possible.

Now and then he displayed a talent for camouflage.

He died in his sleep not long before Christmas, some three months before he would have turned 21. Ave atque vale, Ed. May the sun always be warm and the catnip sweet, wherever you may roam.


From what I read I was in good company when I took a hiatus from blogland over the holidays. With the turn of the year, however, I set myself a goal of daily posting (but didn't join the 365 group because I've fallen short so many times before). So far, so good, but that's only half of belonging to the knitblogging community, and, it might be argued, the less important half at that. Where would we be without Manise, for example, or Rachel H., or blogless Sharon?

Admittedly, this isn't as bad as it looks, because I subscribe to some political blogs that post many times daily; blow off TPM for a couple of days and you'll accumulate quite a backlog of unread feeds.

This really isn't quite so damning as you might think, either, as I've been dropping in here and there without going through Bloglines. Still, I've got some readin' and commentin' to do.

Some of the blame for this goes to my stepmother (I used to call her the not-so-wicked one, but I'm rethinking that), who was kind enough to send me a link to this site. Sandy? If you value whatever free time you have left post-Ravelry, ignore that link.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Impressionist Photography

Miss B got a new camera for Christmas. It's maybe three inches square, and I have no idea how many megapixels it can cram into its tiny body. Not many, is my guess.

It is, however, infinitely better than no camera at all, which is what I cleverly took with me to this afternoon's St. Distaff's Day spinning bee at the Westford Museum.

Here Julia tries to tame Cece's antique and recalcitrant wheel. Nice sock.

I think this one is positively Monetesque. From left to right, the legs of Lynne, Julie, me and Julia. The lack of faces is not Miss B's fault: I asked her for a picture of Cece's wheel, and the camera's limitations are such that you can have either wheels or faces, but not both.

Anyhow, we had a great time. The company was excellent, and I made noticeable progress on the Eternal Bobbin, which might have something to do with having gotten in significant spinning time twice in one week. What a concept.