Fee, fi, FOs, fum…

Scout’s having a contest! Caption the picture before Friday and the caption that makes her laugh hardest will win something from her shop.

Bloglines is wonky again – it took 23 hours for my RSS feed from yesterday to update. Grrrr. And I’m sure the only reason I almost (well, within 40 posts) caught up in bloglines yesterday was because it wasn’t updating.

May is doing great!! Her incision is less than 1/2″ long and she doesn’t have any stitches – looks like they used surgical glue maybe?! Chaos is getting over himself and isn’t hissing at her (much) now.

You may not remember, but this is, ostensibly and occasionally, a knitting blog. (I’ll pause to let you recover.) That said, I’ve actually knitted a few things (besides bibs!) recently.

I finished my luridly striping socks over the weekend – 63g of Kona fingering went a bit further than I expected, especially considering my size 11 feet.

“I know that if I look directly at those socks, I’ll probably go blind.” -M

The extra yarn is to the left – I knit each sock toe-up from opposite ends of the ball to make sure I used as much yarn as possible. Interestingly, while one sock had a pink toe and the other a black toe, due to quite a bit of variation in my warping board technique (my stripes weren’t consistent), both socks ended at the exact same spot in the colorway. (Please note that this picture was taken before May’s surgery, when she had a furry tummy…)

Several weeks ago, I knitted a narrow arrowhead lace scarf that I hoped to use at work, when I wear my hair up and my neck gets chilly. I knit this with my not-Rhinebeck La Lana Phat Silk. Unfortunately, my picky neck found this merino-silk blend too scratchy. Right now Jeanne is testing it around her own neck. I was so annoyed, I didn’t take a final picture of this after blocking/ironing (the ironing really made the silk shine).

“Could you work this into a cat bed for me maybe? With a little cashmere, too? I don’t have any fur on my tummy anymore and it’s chilly!” -M

WTF Wednesday: The British edition

Anne is having an essay contest – leave an entry by December 15 about why you or someone you know deserves a brand-new Denise interchangeable needle set. (Syd! She has ferrets!)

Thanks for all the well wishes for Mayhem!! She’s doing great – a little sleepy, but in good spirits… except that Chaos keeps hissing and growling at her. Guess she still smells too much like the vet…

“I’ll get you, big kitty, and your little dog Toto, too! Meanie.” -M

“Meanie?? Moi?! As if!” *hissssssssssssssssss* -C

Moving right along… A local grocery store has your basic “ethnic” food aisle. (Although I could make an argument for Thai and Indian being Asian…)

But here’s the sign on the other side of the aisle:

Ethnic British?! Hmm. I searched the store, but no other European countries were distinguished in this fashion, which is a shame, because I’d love to examine ethnic Andorran food. Here’s what the British section contained:

Do you think that’s a good representation of British cuisine? What distinctive British foods are missing?

Oh yeah – Acephalous is tracking the speed at which a meme can spread across the blogosphere for a paper at the MLA. Include a link to his post, explain the experiment, ping Technorati, and you’ve participated.

Abundance abounds

Please think good thoughts for little Mayhem today, as she’s going to the vet for her “surgery.” Thank you! I have assured her that she will still be all girl, but I’m not sure she believes me…

My Knitters’ Coffee Swap package arrived last week! My pal was Professor KnitWit, who sent me a very fun box of goodies. Gluten-free cookies (if you like gingersnaps, these are great), some lovely latte-colored alpaca, espresso-roasted coffee from The Sensuous Bean in NYC (let’s just pause to admire that name – and you haven’t even tasted the coffee, which is nice), and some delicious dark chocolate. Thank you, Professor! 🙂

If you’re curious about what I sent, you can find the details here. Here are the songs that were on the Coffee Mix cd:

Greg Brown – Good Morning Coffee
Mississippi John Hurt – Coffee Blues
The Galactic Heroes – Coffee and Pastries
John Gorka – St. Caffeine
The Jayhawks – Five Cups of Coffee
Claude Gray – I’ll Have Another Cup of Coffee, Then I’ll Go
The Mountain Goats – Woke Up New (ok, ok, this is the only song without a coffee theme in the title – here’s the excerpt that got it included: “The first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it. But I drank it all, just cause you hate it when I let things go to waste.”)
Jars of Clay – Coffee Song
Ink Spots – Java Jive
Marlene Dietrich – You’re the Cream in My Coffee
Tom T. Hall – Don’t Forget the Coffee, Billy Joe
The Andrews Sisters – Proper Cup of Coffee
Lefty Frizzell – Cigarettes and Coffee Blues
Mandy Patinkin – Coffee in a Cardboard Cup
Gordon Lightfoot – Second Cup of Coffee
Brook Benton – Another Cup of Coffee
Guy Clark – Instant Coffee Blues
The Andrews Sisters – Coffee in Brazil
The Peanuts – Coffee Rhumba
The Boswell Sisters – Coffee in the Morning and Kisses in the Night
Peggy Lee – Black Coffee
Emmett Miller – You’re the Cream in My Coffee
John Mccutcheon – Cup of Coffee
Greg Brown – Smell of Coffee
Bob Dylan – One More Cup of Coffee
Ella Mae Morse – Forty Cups of Coffee

Many thanks also to KnittyMama for creating and coordinating this swap. I had a blast putting the package together and am looking forward to another coffee swap. And if there’s another Knitters’ Chocolate Swap, please, someone tell me about it!!

I also won a contest over at For My Next Project – I was Kat’s 1000th commenter. She sent some nifty cat toys (May adores Black Slinky Mouse), some stunning laceweight alpaca silk, and a tasty maple candy. Thanks, Kat!

Just a Knit Wit sent me a birthday package! She sent me some of her lovely stitchmarkers, birthday buttons, cat and yarn stamps, cute post its (including one shaped like a “C” that didn’t make it into this picture), a skein of Silk Garden, and a wonderful cabled Silk Garden hat! Thank you, Kelly!! (No, the kitten wasn’t part of the package.)

My Knit Sock Kit Swap pattern, Elspeth, also sent me a birthday/coffee package – I was curious about the famous Peet’s Coffee, so she sent me some, along with some Peet’s chocolate (with coffee in it), black Bernat sock yarn (which I haven’t seen before – the color’s perfect!), and a lovely sock pattern. Thank you, Elspeth! (Even Chaos had to check it out.)

Bibalicious!

Heh, it appears that there are others out there who have Vexing cats as well… And check out the comments from the Whiskers post for links to stranger uses of whiskers than putting them into a sake cup…

I have a whole bunch of wonderful mail to blog about – hopefully I will have my pictures organized by tomorrow. Really, I will. Most likely, at least! 😉

Reading Update
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Wow. This epic and intense book is, at one level, about searching for the reality of Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. But it’s so much more – including a multi-generational love story and a glimpse into the history of a complicated region (Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey). I don’t want to say too much about the book, because I think part of enjoying such a book is having it unfold, without a lot of preconceptions.
Sins and Needles by Monica Ferris. The latest of these knitting/needlecraft mysteries is pretty much on par with the rest of the series. Not great, but not so bad that I didn’t finish the book. And these are set in the Twin Cities metro area…
The Good, the Bad, and the Undead, Every Which Way But Dead, and A Fistful of Charms by Kim Harrison. These are the other books about Cincinnati witch Rachel Morgan. There are pixies! Vampires! Demons! Werewolves! A troll! And more… I definitely enjoyed this series and will be keeping an eye out for more books.

Knitting Update
So, um, I’ve knitted a few bibs for some recent and impending babies… I’m not sure that May has the build to be a bib model.

“You’ll notice that, if I actually needed to wear a bib, this one wouldn’t cover the strategic areas.” -M

“And as a skirt?! I’d be arrested for indecent exposure!” -M

So I hauled out asked my usual bib model to do the honors. (Please ignore May’s tail as she sashays through the shot, gloating about her bibless state.)

“The shame, the shame… Oh, woe is me!” -C

“I wouldn’t suggest trying this again, missy. You’ve had your warning!” -C

So, back to the petite model…

“Are you done yet?! I want to play with my mouse!” -M

“Well, you may not be done, but I am. Remember what I said about this as a skirt!” -M

W is for…

Winners! Congratulations to Michaele, Cyn, and V – the random number generator loves ya! (I’m emailing the three of you in order of number selected so you can pick your yarn, so look for emails soon, Cyn and V, after I hear back from Michaele.) Many, many thanks to everyone who left birthday wishes and advice for my contest – your words of friendship, humor, and wisdom were wonderful to read.

W is also for Whiskers! Behold the Whisker Vase, which is actually a sake cup I got in Sante Fe a few years ago. Supposedly finding a cat whisker is good luck…

“Those are, of course, all my lovely whiskers, since someone bit off all of May’s whiskers. Must’ve been Mom!”

Tuesday, but it’s Wednesday, really…

…since I only work 3 days this week! So tomorrow is actually Friday…

Valerie is having a contest to celebrate her one year knitting anniversary. If you leave her a comment before midnight, Sunday, November 26, about how you came to be knitting or about the person who taught you to knit, you could win a skein of Fleece Artist sock yarn.

Don’t forget that you have until 7 pm CST, Wednesday, November 22, to leave some words of wisdom for me as I embark on a new decade of my life! (This would be a real-time deadline, not a Chris interpretive time deadline…)

Reading Update
Smoke and Shadows, Smoke and Mirrors, and Smoke and Ashes by Tanya Huff. These three books take up where the Blood series left off, sort of… Wizardry, vampires, and other things that go bump in the night, but in Vancouver instead of Toronto. In one of my favorite bits, the main character muses how peculiarly Canadian it was that he was taking public transportation on his way to save the world…
The Dead Cat Bounce by Sarah Graves. I think this is the first book from the Home Repair is Homicide mystery series… Having read the series utterly out of order, it was interesting to go back to this one and see how things began.
Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. This is the first book in a mystery series featuring Cincinnati witch Rachel Morgan, her roommate (the “living” vampire Ivy), a family of pixies, and more… I already have the rest of the books on hold at the library!

Knitting Update
I’m in the midst of the gusset increases on my second black and hot pink stripey sock. The first sock is done to just above the heel and I’m knitting the second sock from the other end of the ball. Why, you might ask? Well, I apparently had some sort of mathematical meltdown when I was winding off yarn to dye and let’s just say that it’s going to be very exciting to see how tall these end up. I’m hoping for short ankle socks at this point!

Feline Update
Chaos has been, well, chaotic lately. More on that tomorrow. Here he was in an unguarded moment last night:

“If you’d named me Meditative Trance, you’d have a leg to stand on here, Mom.”

Mayhem could not be reached for comment, since she was hiding.

“I am an invisible jungle kitten, hiding in the foliage!”

Birthday recap

Wow. You guys rock!! I am completely overwhelmed by all the wonderful adivce and birthday wishes I’ve been receiving in my contest! You still have plenty of time to enter if you haven’t already.

Some fun birthday things – I got two flourless chocolate birthday cakes! Must be living right. 😉 Jeanne made the first, using our traditional recipe. My dad picked up the second at Whole Foods:

Many thanks to both of you! Mmmmm….

Last week, I mentioned my early knitting birthday party (for which Jeanne made the tasty cake) and promised pictures.. From Deb, enough ArtYarns for two pairs of cushy socks and Knitting for Peace (so wonderfully inscribed from her that I almost started to cry!):

“This is nice yarn, Mom, but please don’t knit me any socks. I don’t think that would make me feel more peaceful.” – M.

Jeanne gave me a very funny card (“Pictured here is 12-year old champion diver, Cleo Jones. Despite her age, Cleo has never abandoned her dream of ‘going for the gold.'”), a cute sheep bookmark, some yarn she dyed to make narrow black and purple stripes (be still my heart!!), and, um, some bedraggled gag yarn. This yarn goes back and forth between us…

“Shit.” – C.

Jeanne also made me these fabulous personalized magnets using pictures of Chaos and May from my blog!! (Sorry, these were very difficult to photograph.) I love magnets… someday I’ll do a little photoshoot of the front of my fridge.

And all the way from the UK, Mrs Pao and Pao sent another funny card (“Louis couldn’t wait to be an air hostess” – remember the sock monkey dress?!), elusive black Regia Silk (she had to get it directly from Germany!), and tasty treats (I can neither confirm nor deny that amazingly delicious rice crackers covered with dark chocolate were also included).

“Mom, how come my cat food isn’t this colorful and fun?” – M.

Mrs Pao also included presents for Chaos and May! On the right is “buzzy mouse” – you pull his tail and he buzzes around on the floor while his tail contracts back. On the left is “snacky mouse” – you stick a few cat treats into it to distract the cats when they’re getting pesky.

“She must be talking about you, May, because I am the very feline of upstanding behavior and am never ‘pesky.'” – C.

My heartfelt thanks to my friends and family and everyone who helped make my 40th birthday fun and memorable.

Lordy, lordy, look who’s 40…

Yikes, it’s me!!! 🙂

Well, ok, such an event requires a contest – a contest that encompasses Chaos’ third birthday (since he was sick at the time), my 40th birthday, and my first blogiversary on November 22… Leave me a comment with the most useful piece of information/advice you’ve ever received. The information you wished you’d known when. The information that you think we’d all be better off knowing.

Leave your comment by 7 pm CST Wednesday, November 22, and I will use the magical random number generator to select the winners. There will be at least three prizes and possibly more: knitterly prizes for knitters and other prizes for non-knitters. Knitterly prizes will include the autumnal skein of laceweight I dyed at Deb’s on my vacation and skeins of Socks that Rock from the 2006 Rockin’ Socks Club.

“You guys can so do this – you have opposable thumbs!”

In which there are acrobatics

Kristin is having a first knitting anniversary contest. Leave her a comment about how you learned to knit by noon CST, Wednesday, November 22.

Danielle is having an unusual vegetable contest (yup, you read that right). You have until Wednesday, November 29, to complete your unusual vegetable mission!

Lucia (Rhymes with Fuscia) is having a contest – answer her question and support your answer and you could win some sock yarn.

Last night I went over to Jeanne’s house to knit and was surprised to find Deb there – and presents! An offer from Jeanne to knit the fingers and thumbs of a pair of gloves for me (my dislike of knitting thumbs, particularly the 10 “thumbs” required for gloves, is well known)! Flourless chocolate cake! Candles! Pinot noir! Cats! And even a tricky package from MrsPao and Pao, all the way from the UK! I will share more details (and pictures) of the wonderful things next week, after I’ve had time to actually take some pictures. My heartfelt thanks to all of them for starting my birthday two days early! 🙂

Work has definitely calmed down. Whew! Also, on Monday, the locksmith (who was cute!) replaced the lock guts and no kitties missed their feeding time. I was glad to find out that it wouldn’t have helped if I’d put graphite in the lock, which I’d been meaning to do for weeks…

Ok, I know you’re all waiting for the acrobatics… I’ve mentioned that May fetches and catches toys. Yesterday, for the first time, I got pictures of some of those feline acrobatics. Go, May!!