In which no one is eaten by a giant ravenous muskellunge

Emily’s celebrating her eleventy-first blog post with a contest, and the more comments she gets, the more prizes she’ll award! Leave your comment with a link to your favorite blog post by December 7.

Lucia’s having a contest – identify which Barbara Walker stitch patterns she used for her charity knitathon blanket squares. Contest is open until someone identifies all the squares or until December 4.

Do you think Chaos and Mayhem were studying up on superpowers? The book you can barely see underneath May is Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman; it’s next on my reading list.

“Neener, neener, May – I’m going to have a better superpower than you – I’m going to be able to remove the bungee cords from the closet doors AND get the food container open!” -Chaos

“Hmph.” -Mayhem

You may or may not remember how easily amused I am by signage and its unintended messages. This first picture was from a walk I took a few weeks ago. Embiggen, and pay particular attention to the yellow sign and its location… πŸ™‚

I took a rather chilly walk around Lake of the Isles Wednesday. The warming house was already out! I guess the Park & Recreation Board believes in being very prepared, since the ice probably won’t be safe until late December or early January. Maybe this year the ice will sturdy enough so I can skate around the islands.

You’d have to be completely crazy to go out on the ice right now even without this warning sign, since there wasn’t any ice on Sunday. Also, based on the signage, if you are crazy enough to go out and fall through the ice, there’s a high probability that you will be eaten by a giant, sure-to-be-ravenous muskellunge. It’d serve you right, eh? πŸ˜‰

For those of you following along at home, here’s my annotated guide to Lake of the Isles:

As I was breaking down the case from my beloved gluten-free New Grist beer, I noticed that it, too, was annotated…

In which what was foreshadowed comes to pass

Remember when Mayhem showed those bibs who was boss? Probably all of you could see what was coming after that… (This post is also my entry in Hannah’s contest.)

“Hmph.” -Mayhem

“That sure didn’t work out like I’d hoped.” -Mayhem

“And obviously I’m no Chaoudini.” -Mayhem

“What are all of you looking at?! Geez, help a girl out, here. Make yourselves useful!” -Mayhem

Look! Over there!

Maybe you can tell that I’m attempting to distract you from the whole lotta nothin’ goin’ on ’round here? πŸ˜‰ My Crazy Boo Monkey Socks have been about five rounds away from being done since Saturday. I’ve worked on my cardi a bit, but back and forth stockinette is not my favorite thing in the world.

Instead of knitting and reading, I’ve been goofing around on my laptop a lot, working on some mixes and chattin’ with the Fraro (did you see her gorgeous yarn over at the Loopy Ewe?!). And I’ve been cleaning a bit for a special houseguest who will be here Thursday and Friday night. πŸ™‚

Oh, and I actually watched a movie the other night – Matrix Reloaded. I was thinking “mmm, good sex scene!” and “butt kicking bestest car chase ever!” and forgot all the flying. Way too much flying. On the plus side, not as bad as Matrix Revolutions *runs brainbleach cycle*.

Talk about discouraging – from the June 2007 issue of Minnesota Monthly (I tried to wade through some stacks of magazines over the weekend):

Minnesota Dating Is Not-So-Nice – Still don’t have a date for that dinner party? You’re not alone (well, only literally): In 2004, the Twin Cities made the list of 10 worst cities to hook up in, as determined by Sperling’s BestPlaces. Recently, the online dating service OkCupid.com determined that Minnesota has the nation’s loneliest women and shyest men. The knock has always been low turnover: Fewer people (in search of companionship) move into and out of here than such larger cities as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.

Well. See, Van, my plot to knock hot bicycling boys off their bikes isn’t unreasonable – takes care of that shyness thing straight off.

Here’s another shot of Mayhem in midair capturing that mouse. I’m not sure if leaving the picture uncropped helps with the perspective or not… That black smudge at the top is my ghostly thumb after the mouse has been snatched from my hand. πŸ™‚

“I triumph!” -Mayhem

Obscured ghost paws

Ruth’s hosting a Secret Santa Fiber Swap on swap-bot. Sign-ups close December 15.

Don’t forget to play along in my Superpower Blogiversary Contest before 6 pm CST, Tuesday, December 4!

Reading Update
Obsession, Deceit, and Really Dark Chocolate by Kyra Davis. Mystery writer Sophie Katz and her black cat, Mr. Katz, are back in the third book in this series. I really like these, and am already looking forward to the next book!
I’m the Vampire, That’s Why by Michele Bardsley. Since I’d already read the sequel (Don’t Talk Back To Your Vampire) and enjoyed it, what the heck? πŸ˜‰
Cupid, Inc. by Michele Bardsley. What if Eros and Psyche opened not a dating service, but a fantasy service? This is pretty much chock full of sex vignettes, loosely held together by a bit of plot.
Just One Sip by Katie McAlister, Jennifer Ashley, and Minda Webber. Three novellas by paranormal romance authors – at least one of the stories was really cheesy. McAlister’s story is sort of a follow-up to her novel Sex, Lies and Vampires.
Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich. Like most of Evanovich’s non-Stephanie Plum novels, this is just an ok romance, set in coastal Maine.
Rising Moon: A Nightcreature Novel, Book 6 by Lori Handeland. Blatantly inspired by the Dark-Hunter novels, this was still an acceptable read for a paranormal romance.

Anyone have theories as to what triggered this paranormal romance outbreak that started a few years ago? Do you think it was the success of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels?

Life Update
I realized as I was walking around Lake of the Isles on Sunday (sunny and nearly 50F) that I physically and mentally feel better than I have for nearly two years, even though I’m not in the sort of shape I’m used to being in. Woo-hoo, surgery! Woo-hoo, rediscovered exercise plan!

I had a really good Thanksgiving, hanging out with my SIL’s family. Her parents stuffed one of the turkeys with gf cornbread stuffing, and my dad and stepmom brought me crustless pumpkin pie. Really, I got kinda sniffly about all of that. Until you have dietary restrictions and people go out of their way to include you, that may sound sort of strange to you… (I know Brigitte understands!) Anyway, “only” about 25 people showed up, out of the possible 40+… One of those people, my SIL’s aunt, turned out to an intelligent and dedicated knitter who (of course) had her knitting with her, so we hung out chatting and knitting and scaring the muggles.

MrsPao and Pao sent me a fun box of birthday goodies.

*sniff sniff sniff* -Mayhem

“Doo de doo de doo…” -Chaos

Hmm. Let’s try that again, shall we?

“New mice! New mice! New mice! Mom, put down the camera and free these mice for me.” -Mayhem

Much better. Yummy dark chocolate, a cute black kitty card (how did they know?!), my absolute most beloved favoritest dark chocolate rice cakes (tragically unavailable in the US), the aforementioned catnip mice, some stunning purple yarn that I think is silk (shiny! purple! shiny!), and a V.I. Warshawski novel (cool British printing; known as Blood Shot in the US). Thank you two!

Ok, this isn’t the greatest shot of May, but notice the ghost kitty arms as she leaps for the new mouse?? (Embiggen for best effect.) I was holding the mouse about three feet off the floor, if that helps you envision the difficulties of this photo…

“Ooof!” -Mayhem

Hey baby, what’s your superpower? The SoC second blogiversary contest

My second blogiversary was November 22. It’s very hard to believe I’ve been at this for two years – especially when I look back at those first painful posts. I continue to be amazed by the myriad ways blogging has enriched my life; when I started blogging, it never occurred to me that the impacts of blogging would extend beyond the blogosphere into “reality.” Many thanks to all of you who read Stumbling Over Chaos and who have become such an integral part of my life.

To celebrate all of that, leave me a comment telling me what your superpower would be if you suddenly had one. Your superpower can be grandiose or mundane, simple or complicated, subject to change or immutable. To play, leave your superpower comments on this post by Tuesday, December 4, 6 pm CST. Somewhere between one and three winners will be chosen by random number – knitterly persons will receive knitterly prizes and non-knitterly persons will receive… non-knitterly prizes. πŸ™‚

Over the weekend, while walking around Lake of the Isles, I decided that my superpower would be to have an invisible bubble surrounding me. Within that bubble, I would be able to control the weather. Think how fabulous that would be! I wouldn’t need to be alternately frozen and sweltering walking around Lake of the Isles at this time of year. I could go biking in shorts and a tank top in January! Humidity control. Permanent umbrella. Windbreak. Ahhhh…

“Do you like my superhero look? My superpower would totally be to open the closet and get the MGWT out.” -Mayhem

P.S. Comcast folks – I am unable to reply to your comments because of some sort of spam blocking… Sorry!

Cat scratcher fever

Cathy’s celebrating her November birthday with a contest. Share your favorite poem or quotation with her and you could win some yarn – there’s a twist to this one, so make sure you read the details as it’s a fun twist! Leave your comments by noon CST, November 27.

Have you heard about the One Laptop One Child program? The New York Times has a particularly nice overview article about it. Between now and November 26, there’s a cool program called Give One, Get One – for a $399 donation, you give a laptop to a child in a developing country, receive one of the same children’s laptops (and they are very, very cool), and get a $200 tax deduction on top of it. This is the technology that could make all those cyberpunk novels come true.

A few weeks ago, Jeanne finally guilted me into getting a new cardboard scratcher for Chaos. Ok, it was definitely past time to do so (um, he’d had the old one for nearly four years and had worn out both sides of it), and I’d been meaning to, but… Anyway, you can definitely see the difference between the two:

I hung on to the old scratcher for a few days, just to make sure that the new scratcher was acceptable – last thing I wanted was a feline meltdown about not having the right scratcher. It turned out to be no problem whatsoever.

“New scratcher. Mmmmmm…” -Chaos

“New scratcher. Mine. All mine!” -Chaos

“Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine.” -Chaos

“I totally don’t get it. Are you ok, big kitty?” -Mayhem

“Happy happy mine mine.” -Chaos

“Back off, Mayhem, unless you want to lose that paw. This is my scratcher. Mine.” -Chaos

“Mine… zzzzzzzzzzzzz…” -Chaos

“I really don’t get it.” -Mayhem

“…zzzzzzzminezzzzzzzzz…” -Chaos

“Hmph. Well, who wants to scratch on cardboard anyway?!” -Mayhem

Mundane Monday

Valerie made it back to the East Coast from the Midwest and has written about our lunch at 318.

Jennifer’s having a contest to come up with themes for FiberFlix. Leave her a comment with your theme idea by midnight PST, November 20, and you could win some sock yarn.

You may remember the Biteberry Yarn Contest, won by Anne of Paper Tiger Knits. Anne has suffered through all of the ends in that poor skein of yarn and has finished her cats paw lace socks!

Wayward Elf of Zurich has a nice post up about work and science, including some links to recent research. Make sure you check out the article about how praise affects kids, even if you don’t have kids – it’s an article that definitely has me thinking.

Reading Update
The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse by Keith Hartman. Don’t judge this book by the silly title – it’s a surprisingly good detective story, set in the not-too-distant future. I think Hartman does an excellent job of projecting societal trends (primarily group polarization by interests), then highlighting how breaking down that polarization is critical if society is to survive. But I probably wouldn’t even have checked this book out if it hadn’t had a glowing review by Charles de Lint
Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie. This light romance, set at a small radio station, is another of Crusie’s rereleased Harlequin titles.

Life Update
Thanks for all of your birthday wishes! I had a very lowkey and pleasant birthday hanging out with my family. I got some Sugar’n’Cream cotton to keep up my bib production, a cute basket, a few decks of cards (I just had Ranma 1/2 cards, which were impossible to use), a Caribou card, a pound of Caribou Obsidian (if you’re keeping track, you realize I will not be buying coffee for quite a while!), a 2008 black cat calendar, 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders (it has some really cute patterns), and a Barnes & Noble gift card. Thank you, family!

I got nothin’ else today. I got sucked into adding projects to Ravelry. I’ve been a member since April, but have only been adding new projects to it… until yesterday. Where did the weekend go?! Heck, where did the year go?! How can it be Thanksgiving in just a few days?!

Anyway, perhaps this cute picture will distract you… πŸ˜‰

“I do not understand this ‘time’ of which you speak, Mom, but I’m worried about it! I hope it had its collar on before it went away so that it isn’t gone forever.” -Mayhem

Yarn and books and cats, oh my!

TGIF… *yawn* If you suffer through this epic post, there’s a special treat at the end – one of the funniest birthday cards I’ve ever received (and it features a kitty and yarn)!

It amazes me how long it takes a package to travel between Minnesota and Ontario… and it isn’t just anticipation. But this package from Brigitte and friends was definitely worth the wait. πŸ™‚ From the top, a cute wooden black kitty and Crazy Cat Lady Magnetic Sculpture from Lorraine – thank you! That sculpture is already on my desk at work. Below that is a lovely skein of Colinette Jitterbug (Velvet Bilberry) and a Knit Happens magnet from Rachel H – many, many thanks, Rachel!

The rest of the package was from Brigitte, who is possibly my long lost sibling. We need to talk to our parents some more about the possible details. πŸ˜‰ From the upper left, a gorgeous skein of Lisa Souza sock yarn in Black Purple, a black kitty Webkinz (with a kinked tail, even!), three books I haven’t read before, a black cat “snow” globe, some very tasty “Kick Ass” coffee from Kicking Horse, Halloween pencils, catnip toys, two tiny black kitty beads, and a book of ChocoCat stickers. Thank you, Brigitte!

Actually, the catnip toys were from Atticus, Mae, and Gandalf for Chaos and May:

The kitties had to check out the nip right away.

“Big kitty! These are from that hottie, Gandalf! Oh! This is too cool!” -Mayhem

“Now, now, Mayhem, these are also from Atticus and the other Mae, not just from Gandalf.” -Chaos

“Whatever. Mmmm… Gandalf….” -Mayhem

Marsha was my Coffee Swap III partner and she sent some great goodies. Gluten-free snickerdoodles, a coffee mug with coffee beans all over the side and coffee-colored yarn in it, Regia Strato (you know how I love stripes), a funny magnet (not pictured, whoops), and enough espresso roast coffee from Porto Rico in NYC to keep me awake for quite a while. Thanks, Marsh!

“I don’t care what anyone says – I have a waist, dammit!” -Chaos

Wednesday night, Jeanne and Deb had a little knitterly birthday party for me (I turn 41 tomorrow – eeep!). Jeanne made our favorite extraordinarily simple flourless chocolate cake and there were presents! New Pathways for Sock Knitters and the 2008 SnB calendar from Jeanne, and The Knitter’s Book of Yarn and two skeins of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in my beloved Black Purl colorway (please use your imagination to picture some black, purple, and grey yarn in the picture) from Deb. Aw, you guys. *sniff* Thank you! (Jeanne has a very, um, interesting picture of me from Wednesday night…)

“Hmm, I detect essence of Pudd, Kreature, Bugman, and Greta.” -Mayhem

“Wait, that can’t be right – I’m sure I smell Tig and Holly. How can this be?!” -Chaos

Mayhem apparently can’t resist napping on everything I put on the floor.

“A cat nappin’ on a Cat. Zzzzz…” -Mayhem

And if you’ve made it this far, here’s the wonderful card Deb gave me – you definitely want to embiggen this one! I can picture Mayhem in the role of the cat and Chaos in the role of the dog…

On the inside, it says “Hope you get all that you wish for” and has this very cute picture:

Thanks again to everyone! Have a great weekend, all.

*yawn*

I survived my first day back at work! I was pretty tired by the end of the day – but I must admit that it was one of those mornings when I woke up feeling tired. I’m blaming the aggressive kitty snuggling I was subjected to overnight! And curses, does work ever cut into reading blogs or what? Dang. I’m already way behind in bloglines. Woe.

Back before I had Mayhem, RheLynn of KnitOwl made me a wonderful mini-Chaos. She just sent me an adorable mini-Mayhem, too. Aw, thank you so much, RheLynn!

“It is very cute. But I am the real Mayhem! Me! And I am still the cutest!” -Mayhem

I finally sewed buttons on to the last of the bibs I knitted. Whew!

For some reason, Mayhem felt the need to show those bibs who was the boss.

“Ha! Take that, you wicked bibs!” -Mayhem