February 2006

Sedated in the 80s

Mama Tulip, EE, and some other bloggers are doing a “Blast from the Past” this week, so I thought I’d dig out a few of my ancient and amusing pictures. This should help you understand why 80s fashion should not ever return!

1982, with one “Patches” at a friend’s house. Badly permed hair and short shorts. Ewww!

1986, at a holiday party. I am so drunk in this picture. I was a cashier in a liquor store – boy, do liquor store employees know how to party or what… Anyway, note the big hair, dangly single earring, and gorgeous sweater dress.

1987. Would you buy a used car from this woman?!

1989. If you weren’t a bride in the 80s, count your blessings. If you were, you can commiserate. Big asymmetrical permmed hair. Whoa. There’s a reason I don’t wear makeup anymore – I got it all out of my system in the 80s…

Personal history

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In which I find a scary book

This book would be funnier if this wasn’t on the first page:

“You know you’re spoiling your cat when… your cat is on the Internet.”
Oh oh.
“Don’t believe it, Mom! And definitely don’t read any more of that book! Here, I’ll just eat the book and solve the problem.”

Those Cats

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Strawberry fields forever

Blame Jeanne… I’m not sure I would ever have thought of putting a hat on Chaos if it wasn’t for Jeanne’s cats in preemie hats pictures… Yes, I did wash the strawberry hat after this photo shoot – the new dad is allergic to cats (poor thing).

“Are you sure this hat is flattering, Mom?! I’m not sure that red is my color.”

“Really? Chicks will dig me in this hat? Oh, ok then.”

“Hmm, let me try a little ‘come hither’ look.”

“Oh no! I can’t be seen with fur out of place!! Let me just touch up this spot…”

“…so… sleepy…”

Those Cats

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25 Things About the Cat Chaotic

Wow – I’m overwhelmed. Thank you all so much for your kind words about my Hourglass Sweater!

Not much going on here today – I’m working on a knitting project that’s a gift for someone who may or may not read my blog, so I’m erring on the side of caution and waiting a while to post about it.

Yesterday Mama Tulip posted her list of 100 things, which reminded me that I love those lists and that I want to do one for myself, too. But it’s going to take me a bit of time to work on that, so instead I shall give you 25 Things About the Cat Chaotic.

1. Chaos and his brother Diablo were born on September 28, 2003, to an unwed teenage mother (Riley).

2. Although I instantly named him Chaos, my brother named him “Hoho” and calls him that to this day.

3. Because Diablo was so evidently a boy and Chaos didn’t look like that at all, we thought he was a girl for the first ten weeks of his life. This doesn’t appear to have left scars on his psyshe.

4. Chaos weighs about 15 pounds. Even the vet agrees that this is a good weight for him.

5. He has a “jungle pouch” that he was born with, but is not a fat cat – he’s a muscley house panther sort of creature.

6. Chaos was diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder (FLUTD) in August 2005. This is controlled with a special diet.

7. He loves to play fetch.

8. The only acceptable fetch toys are sparkly mice (most famously SRM, who is still missing) and the little plastic pull tabs from the top of Silk Soymilk cartons.

9. Chaos forms attachments to blankets and articles of clothing, most memorably my green sweatpants. Just a few days ago I had to rescue a wool blanket that he was dragging around before it got too many fang holes in it. (Do you know how heavy a wool blanket is?!)

10. Of his kittenhood stages, the messiest was his Jackson Pollock Phase. This consisted of him finding my mug of mocha everytime I left the room, sticking his paw into it, becoming disgusted at the goop on his paw and shaking off said goop onto all surrounding surfaces, then repeating until I returned to the room. Remember that monstrous mirror in my living room? Very hard to remove mocha from. Also hard to remove mocha from my laptop, the carpet, the cupboards…

11. The second messiest stage was his Raccoon Phase. All toys and “found” objects were dropped into his water dish to see what happened, then fished out with much splashing.

12. Additionally, when he had a self-waterer, he would put his little kitty arms around it and flip it over to watch the water run out onto the floor. He no longer has a self-waterer.

13. Chaos is a binge eater. Whatever amount of food he gets, he will eat it all in just a few minutes. If it’s too much food, he’ll hork it back up.

14. Because of this, he gets fed three small meals everyday.

15. He starts to whine and become very pesky about 1.5 hours before feeding time. In an attempt to get him to quit bothering me, I tried an automatic feeder. In less than a week, he had figured the feeder out and could extricate the entire day’s worth of food. He no longer has an automatic feeder.

16. Chaos likes to hop back and forth over the head of anyone sitting on the floor. I have needed more glasses adjustments due to Chaos colliding with the side of my head than for any other reason in my life.

17. He is able to open my folding closet doors. Said closet doors are all secured with bungee cords, since he has not developed anti-bungee technology yet.

18. In the morning, prior to being fed, Chaos purrs louder than any other cat I have ever heard. I can hear him through my bedroom door.

19. Chaos likes to hang out in several places you wouldn’t catch most cats dead in: on top of his litter box and in his cat carrier.

20. He does not approve of crazy living room dancing and will jump around trying to nip my hands should I start dancing.

21. One of his periodic interests is trying to eat the couch. He bites it and tries to rip holes in it with his teeth.

22. Chaos never uses his claws on the furniture – just on his scratching post and cardboard scratcher.

23. He likes having his claws trimmed because he knows he’ll get a treat.

24. His “treat” is Fish Flavored PetroMalt, which he would get anyway to prevent hairballs.

25. Chaos loves tuna, but does not get to have it very often. He loves tuna so much that he will start whining and begging when I get out any sort of can or the can opener or even open the drawer in which I store the can opener.

Those Cats

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In which I achieve both Olympic Gold and Stashalong Failure

Sorry to send so many of you off to get your eyes checked – I was really excited to have finished (including some steam blocking) and wanted to share but didn’t have time to goof around with the timer and all. Thanks for all your kinds words!

Here’s the sweater in action. (Ignore my red eyes. Me fixing red-eye results in eyes that look like bottomless pits. Trust me that the red-eye is better.)

Besides providing evidence of Chaos’ evil nature (the glow! the glow!), it should also give you a better idea of what a big cat he is. (He’s not fat, either.) This monster can handily fish things off the counter when he stands on his hind legs. But I digress. Back to the sweater…

It’s not easy to take a good photo of a black sweater that’s 50% silk – very reflective. What you can see in the picture below is that there were definite color differences between the skeins. It’s much less pronounced when I’m wearing it (and not being photographed). I didn’t knit from two skeins at once because that’s just such a drag to do when knitting in the round.

Pattern: Hourglass Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

Yarn: Brooks Fiber Farm Four Play (50 silk/50 wool)

Modifications: As part of my training, I gathered advice from others who had knit the sweater (let us pause and give thanks for Google). Based on my research, I added some short rows to the back of the neck and am very pleased with the results – no sweater strangulation. I also decreased the size of the neck opening. I’m not a fan of bell sleeves, so I completely redid the sleeves. Finally, since I hate sewing (and with tips from Jeanne), I picked up and knitted in the hems and the neck – which meant that this sweater required very little finishing.

Thoughts on the Result: I love this sweater! I already wore it to work today. Circular swatch notwithstanding, my gauge on the body was a little loose while my gauge on the sleeves was a little tight (my average gauge was perfect!). My sweater fits more loosely than many other Hourglass Sweaters I’ve seen, but I think it’s still very flattering.

Thoughts on the Knitting Olympic Experience: If I planned and prepped for all my major projects like I did for this one, I’m sure I’d have a lot more knitting success stories. I was also very surprised at how quickly I knit this. Had I truly applied myself, I would’ve been done last weekend. Because I apparently don’t have a good grasp of my knitting speed and skill, I didn’t select a sufficiently challenging project. That said, I think I’d rather be in the “pleasantly surprised” boat than in the “oh oh, I think we’re sinking!” boat.

If you’re wondering what those blobs are at the bottom of the picture… That’s my leftover yarn. I originally had five skeins. I purchased two extra skeins, just in case… and I so didn’t need them. Of the seven skeins, I have three full skeins remaining (plus that little bit on the right). So, just to finish off my Stashalong aspirations in fine fashion, I headed over and joined the Rockin’ Socks Club. Sorry, Kim

“Dang it, you really messed up my fur during that photoshoot! It’ll take me hours to get it just right. I can understand how yarn led you astray. Happens to me all the time.”

Those Cats

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