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…

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…”

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.

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.”

B is for…


(Yeah, ok, so I did D yesterday. Yes, I know that B doesn’t follow D. But since I started the ABC-Along with C, I’m playing catch-up. Onward!)

I’ve been a reader since I was 5 or 6 years old. We didn’t get to watch a lot of tv, but we were always encouraged to read. In fact, back in my days of internet dating, one of my major requirements was for being a reader over being a tv watcher. The bookshelf above is only one of several in my tiny condo. Plus all the books stored in boxes under the bed. Plus the big stack of library books…

So Amy had perfect timing with this book meme yesterday.

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won’t, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you’ve never even heard of.

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby – F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story – George Orwell
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
1984 – George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
(The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini)
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons – Dan Brown
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
(The Secret History – Donna Tartt)
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
(Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement – Ian McEwan
(The Shadow Of The Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Dune – Frank Herbert

B is also for Bad Black Cat. Saturday my friend Jan drove up from St. Peter. We went out for Thai at Ruam Mit Thai in downtown St. Paul and then saw a great show by Christine Lavin and Claudia Schmidt at the Fitzgerald Theater. (We did have our knitting backstage passes, but Christine was too frazzled from bad travel experiences to knit.) Jan slept on my futon couch and headed home bright and early Sunday morning.However, I had not cleared this visit with the Cat Chaotic and he was peeved.

“I don’t know where you get off having your friends over without asking me first.”

So peeved, in fact, that he is trying to eat the couch to punish me. My couch is not usually covered in Army camo – just when it needs to be protected from sharp pointy cat teeth. Please send wine (for me, not him – he’s too young to drink).

D is for…

Disjointed, which is what today’s entry will be.

D is also for Diablo II! At the beginning of every winter, I get sucked back into Diablo II for at least a few weeks. My character is a level 78 Amazon named Chrystabel… and it would be best not to ask how many hours of my life have been lost getting her to level 78. Let’s just say I could’ve knit several Alice Starmore sweaters or become fluent in Spanish. At the very least, I should obviously have knit poor Chrystabel a sweater and some leggings – like most female video game characters designed by men for men, she’s a bit nekkid:

Tangent: Chaos is not a big fan of Diablo II because I do not make an adequate lap while playing. He much prefers knitting.

And D is for… Diablo, brother of Chaos.

Tangent: Note that Diablo had Very Large Feet as a kitten. They both did. Not surprisingly, they both became Very Large Cats.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall – who’s the fairest cat of all?”

Olympic Knitting Tangent Update: I am in the home stretch on my sweater – I probably have less than 20 rounds left to knit. I should finish things up tomorrow. Thursday at the latest. I’ll post a picture then.

And the winners are…

Danielle and Peevish!! I know, I know, I said there would be one winner. But there were just so many more great captions than I expected to receive… Thanks to everyone who participated – your very funny captions definitely improved my crabby, crampy weekend!

To select the winners, I numbered the captions and used this random number generator to generate two random numbers. Danielle and Peevish, if you could please drop me an email with your mailing addresses and some of the colors and types of knitting you love…

Oh, it seems Chaos would like a word with you all:

“How could you guys say such things about me?! I am stunned, and, well, shocked at the
things some of you were suggesting! Please send tuna to help ease my pain.”

In which I don’t spin

These are the people I spent my afternoon with:

If you’re astute, you’ll notice that they have spinning stuff. You might be thinking, “Chris, you don’t spin. Why did you spend your afternoon with some obviously lunatic spinners?”

A good question. Yesterday I realized that June of Two Sheep lives in Minnesota, only an hour south of Minneapolis. I mentioned in her comments where I lived, and June invited me to a monthly gathering of spinners at Creative Fibers, which is only about 10 minutes from my home. I wanted to meet an actual blogger who I hadn’t already known before I started blogging, so I headed over to Creative Fibers, Olympic knitting in hand.

Here’s June, prepping some cotton for spinning – check out the gorgeous sweater she’s wearing:

I spent an enjoyable afternoon listening to incomprehensible fiber talk, admiring lovely yarn being spun, laughing a great deal, and getting quite a bit done on my Olympic sweater (a very few more details on my sweater progress over at the Team Midwest blog).

Update: It turns out that I met a second blogger yesterday: Kerry of Furballs!

Chaos continues to be fascinated with my decoupage forms… Moments after this picture was taken, Boobzilla was knocked to the floor and much wrestling ensued. So much for redirecting his attentions

“Mom, I think they make this stuff out of catnip!”

Thanks for all the fabulous captions, which have provided many smiles and giggles these past few days. Remember, even if you couldn’t think of a funny caption before, you have until 6 pm CST on Monday!