“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo…”

– Simon & Garfunkel, At the Zoo

On Saturday, I went to the Minnesota Zoo with some friends and their kids. Right away, I ran into Catherine of Yogurt & Granola – knitbloggers are everywhere!

Here are some of the better animal photos I got, starting with a very active red panda.

This tiger never got close enough for a really good picture, alas.

The zoo has lots of native Minnesota animals, such as coyotes.

That coyote was getting ready to pounce on another coyote – doesn’t he just look like he’s up to no good?!

I interrupted this otter in the midst of cleaning its tummy.

Not a lot of open water yet for the swans.

The bald eagle was definitely keeping its eye on everyone, possibly trying to decide who was a tasty morsel…

Back at home, the local wildlife looked unconcerned.

“I’m pretty sure I could take that eagle. Besides, I’m in my Box of Invincibility.” -Chaos

Kitty… yarn?

Recently, I won a contest over at knit’n lit and Jenn sent me a fun purple prize pack: a type of Opal I haven’t tried before and some KnitPicks alpaca that has “scarf” written all over it. Thanks, Jenn! How ever did you guess that I like purple? 😉

“May! May! You’re missing the yarn!” -Chaos

To celebrate his 2000th post, FuriousBall sent a cd of his very own music to each interested commentor. Thanks, FB – it was very soothing to listen to while I did my taxes the other night…

“May! May! You’re missing the cd!” -Chaos

And Elspeth sent me some goodies just because. Aw, thanks, E!! Hidden by Chaos’s head is a mix cd. Clockwise from there is a cute “meow” card, a scissors with a sheep on it, a very cool sheepy tote bag, a gorgeous skein of yarn (more on that in a minute), two black cat notebooks (the one on the right says “Black cat with cool face, but actually goofy” and the one on the left says “Stella’s story: Her name is Stella. She is very popular with the boys, though very stylish and selfish”), two sheepy chip clips, some flavored coffee, a tiny ram notebook, and some cards with which Chaos is trying abscond.

“May! May! You’re missing the lots of stuff! Hmm. I don’t know where that Mayhem’s gotten herself off to, but at least I don’t have to share this nifty ribbon.” -Chaos

“Mmm… ribbon, let me lick you…” -Chaos

“What did I miss?! What did I miss?! Ewwww, big kitty, get a room!” -Mayhem

A more detailed shot of the yarn label – can you see the misspelling? E noted that cat hair isn’t intentionally spun into this yarn, but apparently is just natively in the spinning environment. Hee hee – maybe I should get “guaranteed cat hair” labels for everything I knit!

Have a great weekend, everyone! (And rest assured that I took the ribbon away from Chaos before things got too out of hand…)

Can’t blog – taxes ate my brain…

Lynne’s having a “one year since first flying to the US” contest – explain three differences between the two pictured socks and you will be entered in a drawing for some yummy sock yarn and stitchmarkers. Contest closes 6 pm PDT, March 30.

Mim’s having a signs of spring contest. Post pictures of your favorite signs of spring, then let her know about it before 5 pm MDT, April 1, when she’ll randomly select someone to win a “yarn-y prize.”

It’s birthday month at Knittymama’s and she’s having a “best of 2008 so far” contest to celebrate. Leave her a comment with a link to the best knitting pattern/article/blog post/etc you’ve seen so far this year. On April 15, she’ll randomly select a winner to receive an adorable mini project bag or needle roll.


I actually had something to blog, but after finishing my taxes, my brain is utter mush. “Thanks” to Maryse for triggering this “must do taxes now!” thing. 😉 So let’s look at this nice picture of Chaos breathing deep the calming waves of Feliway feline pheromones, shall we? (See the little misty shadows on the left? That’s the stuff.)

“Ahhhhhhhh…” -Chaos

“Like, I feel totally mellow, dudes. You should try this stuff.” -Chaos

Incoherency

The first two people to guess where Kristi’s photos were taken will get 8×10 prints of that location. Get your guesses in by Thursday or Friday of this week.

Holly’s been participating in the 52 Pair Plunge (knit a pair of socks each week from April 1, 2007, to April 1, 2008). This experience has inspired her to revamp the poem “The Charge of Light Brigade” into “The Charge of the Sock Brigade.” Help her add verses to her poem and if your verse is particularly good, you could win some sock yarn!

  • Yesterday morning was rough. First, I dreamed about one of my coworkers in a way that left me feeling a titch uncomfortable around him in the office yesterday. D’oh! Second, between hitting snooze the first time and actually crawling out of bed a while later, I completely convinced myself that it was Friday morning. Double d’oh! I was so sad when I realized how very wrong I was…
  • After years of searching for US00/1.75mm circular needles for sock knitting, suddenly there are two choices: Hiya Hiya (strangely not mentioned on their own website, but available from retailers) and Addi Lace. Many thanks to Bethany for alerting me to this development!
  • Does it surprise you to learn that, with all the vampire and shapeshifter sorts of books I read, I’m not a fan of horror? Well, except for H.P. Lovecraft, but he’s too darn scary to read very often.
  • Have I mentioned that I will most likely be spending several weeks in the UK this September? My stepmom will be teaching at Alnwick Castle (the castle in Harry Potter) and I will have the chance to stay in the castle with she and my dad! I’m also hoping to spend some time with the Paos.
  • My ASL I class is done for the quarter. Of the eight sessions, I was sick for one and the instructor had to cancel the last class due to a family emergency. I’ve signed up for ASL I again next quarter, as I really don’t feel ready to move on to ASL II. If the instructor disagrees, ASL II is two days after ASL I, so I can change classes.
  • I have been knitting – expect a major bib photoshoot sometime soon, as a plague of babies is about to descend upon my office. Although, since Mayhem knocked a beer over onto my bib-in-progress last night, it looks like I have some bib washing ahead of me, too. I’m guessing it’s poor form to give baby gifts that smell like beer…

“I can’t believe you told about that, Mom. I’m so ashamed… now everyone will think I’m clumsy!” -Mayhem

Um, sweetie? I have some bad news for you – you are clumsy… I’m sure if Chaos ever stops biting your whiskers off, you’ll be much more graceful. (P.S. Probably you should stop nursing from him, too.)

Murality

Every time I post pictures of murals in my neighborhood, people comment that Minneapolis sure seems to have a lot of murals. Interestingly, I’m not sure I’ve posted pictures of many murals from outside my walking neighborhood… and not even all of those! Plus, they keep changing. Remember that Mountain Dew mural? This is what it looks like now:

Sure glad I got pictures of it before they changed it!

Intermedia Arts is always doing something interesting with its facade.

Penn Cycle has a mural in a narrow alley, which is hard capture due to the angle.

This is the Dunn Brothers Coffee offering:

It’s hard to tell if this is a mural or graffiti in the Planet Soccer parking lot, isn’t it?

“Hey, Mom, you wouldn’t mind if the big kitty and I painted a mural on that boring white wall in the living room, right?!” -Mayhem

Monday, Monday

Jane’s celebrating her blogiversary with a contest – leave a comment before 3/25 to participate.

Cosmo is home!

Reading Update
Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires, Book One by Rachel Caine. For some reason, I kept thinking about the bit in the movie The Lost Boys when Grandpa says, “One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach, all the damn vampires.” Yup. That’s the situation in Morganville.
New Moon and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. More vampire novels! 🙂 Although I really wish Bella wasn’t so passive, the second and third books of the Twilight Saga totally sucked me in. I spent the last 45 minutes of Eclipse trying to read while crying. *sniff* I’m glad to see that the next book (Breaking Dawn) will be out at the beginning of August.
Dream Chaser (A Dream-Hunter Novel) by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Not exactly a Dark-Hunter novel, but since Acheron is in it…

Snow Update
It snowed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Good thing it snowed lightly, or we’d be totally buried! This picture from Friday morning could’ve been taken either Saturday or Sunday, too.

Check out the cute snow bunny that Limedragon saw!

But hey, at least the first day of spring (last Thursday) was pretty sunny, right?! (Help me out here, folks…)

“Mmmm… sunbeams…” -Mayhem

Random entropy

Check out this amazing knitted music video!

AmberMoggie is celebrating her 500th post – leave a comment about your favorite yarn and you could win yarn, needles, and stitchmarkers. Winner will be selected March 24.

Chappysmom has a nice post about the Match It for Pratchett campaign to support Alzheimer’s research.

Ruth is having another contest. She comes up with really creative contest ideas that I have a hard time summarizing, so I’ll just send you over to her place for the details. :) The contest is open until May 10. (This was moved over from yesterday’s post – so you are experiencing deja vu.)

When I went to bed Wednesday night, there were four kiwi fruit on the counter. When I got up Thursday morning, there were three. Hmm. Fortunately, the fourth kiwi was found in the living room behind my knitting bag, unmolested.

Last night I met and knitted with ikisti, a very cool knitblogger who lives all of eight blocks away from me. Eerily, she lives in the same apartment building I did before I bought my condo. *insert Twilight Zone music here*

Remember my Keen World post from last Friday, with the picture of all my Keens carefully arranged in a circle? Keep that circle in mind as you look at the pictures below. In the first picture, the red Xs indicate shoes that were removed from the circle and worn during the past week. The green X indicates a pair of sandals removed to be washed when Chaos horked in them. (Why, yes, that would be the only pair I hadn’t worn yet.)

“Still waiting to learn the point of this game…” -Mayhem

“Maybe I’ll just have a little nap while I wait…” -Mayhem

Not quite a week later, this is what remains of the circle. What a remarkable demonstration of entropy in action!

…or possibly just Chaos and Mayhem in action…

A book review: The Happy Tabby

Recently I was asked to review The Happy Tabby: Develop a Great Relationship with Your Adopted Cat or Kitten by Susan C. Daffron. This is a well-written book on the basics of kitten and cat care, focusing on the special needs of rescued animals. Daffron writes in an extremely friendly and comfortable style that made this book enjoyable to read. However, had I not been approached to do the review, I’m not sure I would’ve pulled this book from the shelf – calling it The Happy Tabby (although logical as explained by Daffron in the book) seems to distance it from its subject of selecting and understanding a (rescued) cat of any sort, not just tabbies.

The book begins by asking some basic questions that anyone who is thinking about getting a cat should consider, starting with whether cats are the right pet for you. Daffron then provides an overview of the different sorts of rescue organizations and shelters so you know what to expect and of what to beware.

Beyond the information for those just getting started with their own cat(s), I think this book is particularly useful for those of us who puzzle over why our cats do certain things – things that obviously make sense in their furry little brains! I’d especially love to ask Susan Daffron what might be going on in May’s furry little brain as she presents herself to be petted, then proceeds to wag and lash her tail throughout the petting session as if she’s the most annoyed cat ever – but she sticks around to be petted…

I also think this book would be helpful for people experiencing feline behavior problems. As Daffron notes regarding changing feline behavior, “The trick is that you have to make them think that the change was their idea the whole time.” It’s also informative about what vaccinations cats usually receive and why, as well as what health issues they may be prone to throughout their lives.

Brief tales of Daffron’s own cats add a pleasant personal touch to the book. Sometimes the asides were directly related to the particular topic or section of the book, but when they weren’t, I spent some time trying to make connections that didn’t seem to be there.

Additionally, the book provides excellent information on how to acclimate your cat to claw trimming, although I would add that only giving your cats treats after claw trimming really changes their attitude toward the whole process. Sometimes Chaos even purrs while I’m trimming his claws. (I know he’s thinking “TreatTreatTreatTreatTreatTreatTreatTreat!”) However, I’m not sure I’ll ever be brave enough to attempt to bathe him, even with the tips in this book! (I mean, look at yesterday’s picture – would you try to bathe that cat?!)

“Those poor unadopted kitties. I’m glad Mom adopted me! Even if she does have lots of unreasonable rules about not napping on the kitchen table and stuff like that.” -Mayhem

So apparently cats don’t react well to being told “No ducklings for you!”

“I’ll get you, Mom, and your little dog Toto, too!” -Chaos

But… I don’t even have a little dog Toto!


Kmkat is having a captioning contest featuring a picture of Chaos (and 9/10ths of me!). Leave your captions by midnight CDT, March 21, for your chance to win “something fibery and something chocolatey.”

Knitnana is having a contest/vote to select a closure for the new KnitPicks Options case she’s designed (which is the prize in the contest). More details on her blog; the contest closes midnight EDT, March 21.

The Purling Dervish is looking at a possible career change – leave her a comment (by 4 pm PDT, March 22) suggesting a possible new career for her (you can be as off-the-wall as you’d like) and you could win assorted fibery goodies.

Wendy’s giving away a skein of Wollmeise to someone who’s Wollmeiseless. Contest closes 4 pm EDT, March 20.

Let’s pretend it didn’t snow yesterday, shall we? And that it’s definitely not snowing right now…

I went for a lovely walk around Lake of the Isles last Thursday evening – it was sunny and +50F!

Can you see the pickup truck on the ice?! Intellectually, I know the ice was still pretty thick – but with water pooling on top of the ice, driving around on the lake sure didn’t seem like a smart thing to do.

There were some guys fishing and hanging out on the lake, too.

Apparently nobody read the signs first… (Thanks to Brigitte for mentioning this story about one of these handy dandy red boards being used to save some people who fell through the ice on Lake Harriet on Sunday!)

Although, considering how bad the potholes were on Lake of the Isles Parkway, maybe the lake was the best choice! 🙂

“Wait, go back to that last picture a minute – is that a duckling crossing sign? Can you bring us back some ducklings next time you go to the lake, Mom? May and I will take good care of them, promise.” -Chaos