Category Archives: Those Cats

Christmas cheer

Pink Rocket got me back for the tag last week. So… I tag Jeanne, Ana, “me” from Bermuda, mama_tulip, and Carrie K (this just seems a bit long for comments, Kellie!).

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Silk Nog! Yum. I only get to buy one carton, tho.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? When I was a kid, Santa just left them under the tree. It’s been a long time since there were kids in our family – it will be interesting to see what my brother and sister-in-law do eventually.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? So, um, I don’t decorate… but I like both. There’s a classiness to all-white that appeals, and there’s a cheeriness to colored that also appeals.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? I used to when I was a wild twenty-something looking to steal kisses!

5. When do you put your decorations up? I don’t have any decorations. Well, that’s not quite true. I have a purple sequined ball that has a sun on it that’s just so darn nifty I leave it up all year. And Chaos got a Christmas stocking from my sister-in-law last year that I also leave up all year.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Cornbread stuffing.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? I’m always the one who can’t wait anymore, so I pass out the packages and then we go around and each open one gift per round. I love watching everyone open their gifts. We’ve been doing this since I was a kid.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I can’t remember, so apparently I wasn’t crushed!

9. Do you open presents of Christmas morning or Christmas eve? Christmas Eve

10. What kind of cookies does Santa get set out for him? He would get a sampling of everything we had on hand – candy cane cookies, spritz cookies, sugar kuchen, candy, and so forth. My dad loves sweets! 🙂

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? It’s lovely to look at out the window and fun for the occasional snow angel or snowshoeing, but misery to drive in with my rear-wheel drive car.

12. Can you ice skate? Hello? I’m from Minnesota. Like, duh. That said, I really need to have a hockey stick in my hand for good balance.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Last year my brother and sister-in-law made Casa de Chaos for us, which has provided much entertainment for both Chaos and I.

14. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream, followed closely by candy cane cookies and these amzing chocolate-covered coconut balls that my grandma used to make

15. What is your favorite holiday tradition? See #7 above

16. What tops your tree? No tree = no top

17. Which do you prefer Giving or Receiving? Both are pretty fun, but I’d have to say giving outweighs receiving.

18. What is your favorite Christmas Song? I Believe in Father Christmas by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, followed closely by the speed-metal version of The Little Drummer Boy by the Hoodoo Gurus, and that great David Bowie and Bing Crosby duet
Edited 12/14/05: D’oh! I can’t believe I forgot The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams! One of the best holiday songs ever..

19. Do you have a wreath on your front door? No, but my neighbor down the hall does, so I carried Chaos out to look at it.

20. What do you want most for Christmas this year? A decent digital camera! But that wasn’t on my Christmas list. It’d be great if my brother built a shelf add-on for my computer desk.

“What the hell are you doing, Mom?”

Dratted hat

Last night I finished knitting the hat for Maranda’s baby and happily tossed it into my knitting bag with nary a care in the world. When I woke up this morning, I had one of those sinking feelings. You know what I’m talking about – the sense that something is very wrong in your knitting world. In a flash, I knew what it was: the baby hat was monstrously large.

I dragged out to my knitting bag, pulled out the hat, checked the gauge, realized it was the first time I’d checked the gauge for the project (always a bad sign after the project is complete), and determined that the hat was about 2″ too large. Instead of the one-year old size, I had the six-year old size. Um, whoops. Note to self – less chardonnay when knitting baby hats.

I played mental gymnastics for a while, trying to figure out how I could still use the hat “as is” (sew a big dart that could be taken out when the kid is 6?), but eventually realized there was nothing to do but rip it back a few increases.

Fortunately Chaos did not help with this step, because while I’m obviously pretty good at tangling yarn, he’s a master. I’ve now reknitted the hat and it’s a lot closer to the right size. I figured it was a good sign when it didn’t fit on Hat Head:

Notice Chaos with the poofy tail. Apparently I haven’t had Hat Head out of the closet for quite a while.

Aside
As you might have noticed by now, Chaos is a little deficient in the tail department – probably by about 4″. His tail ends in a dramatic kink, as if the rest were broken off. I know that’s not the case, since he was born tail-deficient (and we thought he was a girl for 8 weeks, but that’s another story entirely). At least Chaos has a much longer tail than his brother Diablo!


I really enjoyed the favorite knitting spot tag, so I’ve taken another picture of my spot – this time from my perspective as I’m knitting.

Why, yes, that is a paper bag from the liquor store lying by Casa de Chaos. 🙂

Hat, cat, and vodka

Last night I actually got a tiny amount of knitting done on the hat for Maranda’s as yet unborn baby (due on 12/24). I’m very serious about the “tiny” part:

I would’ve gotten more done, but I sat down with everything I needed… except double points. Before I could get up, Chaos was in my lap, purring. Well, ok, I can take a hint – so I just read for a while.

The little red dot near the bottom of the picture is the nose from one of our new fleet of sparkly mice. Chaos has innumerable mice made from real fur, but prefers the fake fur sparkly mice by far. He’ll skid and flip and fly through the air playing fetch with sparkly mice (sorry, my crappy camera’s shutter speed doesn’t do that sort of action), but won’t even get off his butt if I throw real fur mice.

Here’s new red sparkly mouse (with ripped off tail peeking into the corner of the picture), good ol’ sparkly purple mouse (you can’t tell that his face is missing, but you can tell that he’s rather dented), and a blur on the right indicating an incoming cat paw. Sparkly brown mouse is missing in action, so was unable to be part of the picture.

Ok, here’s a weird thing about me: I am freaky about the smell of colognes and perfumes – and don’t even get me started on the smell of dryer sheets. Part of it isn’t so freaky, I suppose, since I’m allergic to a lot of cologne and perfume. The other part of it is… most cologne and perfume just smells like chemicals to me. Icky. I’ll take a nice clean person smell any day.

So what this is all leading up to is… there was a knock on my door at 7:30 am this morning. Now on most days, I would’ve been sitting at my happy little desk in my happy little cubicle since 6:30 am. But on Wednesdays I get to work from home, so I was sitting in my sweats at my computer in my bedroom. At the door is my poor half-frozen neighbor Ron from down the hall. Seems that when he’d started his car and hopped out to scrape the windows, the dastardly car locked itself up, leaving Ron out in the very cold weather with no keys or gloves. Another neighbor let him in the building, and he showed up at my door to use my cell phone (which is all I have, phonewise). No problem. So he used my phone to call work and the car lockout place a few times, and after about 45 minutes of trying to play with Chaos while Chaos hissed at him, he was on his merry way.

I picked up my phone and it smelled like… cologne. Ewwww. So I windexed it and let it dry, then had to take a call from work. Afterwards, I could smell the cologne from the phone on my face. Double ewwww. Obviously the windex didn’t do the trick. So I dug deep into my closet for my special bottle of smell remover:

The phone smells fine now. No, no, it has nothing to do with imbibing the scent remover so that I don’t care about the cologne smell anymore. Look at it. Have you ever heard of the brand? Would you put that stuff in your body?!

Chaos: A photographic journey

Haven’t done any knitting in the past few days, so here are a few pictures of Chaos to provide a better idea of how bizarre he really is.

Why, yes, that is a paper bag from the liquor store on his head. No, no, I’m not torturing him. It all started when I dropped one of those bags on the floor when he was a kitten, and he got his head stuck in it. I rescued him… and he did it again. And again. And again. Now I leave a bag out at all times, and he’ll wander up to it, pop his head in, and proceed to walk around (with his special “I have a bag on my head” walk) and climb onto things. Which seems dangerous to me, but hey.

This shot also provides a lovely view of his jungle pouch. Ok, yeah, so he got a little heavy last year… but he did have a jungle pouch when he was born. It was much cuter then.

Chaos loves books. Please note that this is not a public library approved use of your library books.

“Hey baby, wanna get lucky?”

Some WIPs…

Beyond the active WIPs (works in progress) that I’ve already mentioned (Koigu Falling Leaves socks, blue and tan baby pullover, sock yarn baby sweater), I have a few others hanging around the house… I’m not exactly sure how many, just that they’re around somewhere (probably with the exact needles I need right now) and I have a vague sense of guilt that they’re not done. So I decided to start tracking them down.

We begin with a tote bag I never use because it’s stuffed full of WIPs that I’d rather not think about.

Below is a poorly conceived tank top. I actually like the swirling (from not alternating skeins of variegated yarn – let that be a lesson to you), but it ended up too short. I picked up around the bottom and added a spiral lace border. All I need to do is crochet around the neck and armholes, but… I don’t want to finish it because I don’t want to wear it. I’ve decided it looks silly with the lace border at the bottom. And I think I’d rather have this heavy cotton yarn (Brushstrokes cotton) as a cardigan than as a tank anyway. So really, I should just rip it out and be done with it, right? Oh well. Back in the bag it went.

Obviously, a petal washcloth. Completed, except for weaving in the ends. However, this was to be the first of four petal washcloths for my family for last Christmas. Not quite so finished looking when you consider it as part of a set of four, is it?

As I was dragging WIPs out to photograph them, I realized several things. The first is that I have a lot of projects in black. No surprise, as I wear a lot of black. Why knit hot pink when I won’t wear it?

The second is that black projects do not photograph well with my crappy digital camera. Hmm, would I wear hot pink, taking its photographic qualities into consideration? Nope, probably not.

The third is that my black cat, chosen over the white kitten because I wear a lot of black, doesn’t photograph well either. I suppose I could take him back to my brother’s house and switch him out for his snowy white brother, Diablo, but my brother has vowed that my evil cat shall never again enter his house.

The fourth is that Chaos is, well, not exactly evil, but definitely very, very busy and sometimes naughty. Knitting projects being photographed have a magnetic effect on him.

But I digress… The picture below is Door County Cable in black Cotton Fleece. The body was knit in the round up to the armpits. When I started to go back and forth, I got really confused and put the project away in a snit. Two years later, I might not find the directions as confusing… or I might still. Best not to find out.

This is a pair of black Fortissima socks for my dad, promised for his birthday two years ago… or was that three? The problem here is obvious, there being only one sock…

Yet another black project. This is a tank top knit in fingering weight (#25 from Sandnes Book 0404 in Fortissima cotton), but the cat playing with the needles on the project is more interesting than the cat-free pictures of the project itself. The tank was going quite well until I lost my mind while picking up stitches for the armhole edging, picked up far fewer than I needed, and turned the armhole into a tourniquet. This project and I are on hiatus. It’s winter. I don’t need a tank top for months.

Here’s a mobius cat bed for Chaos. Since it still has a hole in the bottom (and is definitely not felted yet), he found the row counter much more interesting. I put this project aside one hot and humid day this summer – it filled my entire lap with its way too warm self, and lured Chaos in for a nap. Sounds perfect, now that it’s cold out! But… I had forgotten that this project existed. Whoops. As soon as I get some of this baby knitting done, I’ll be back to this (if I remember I put it back in the WIP bag, that is).

If you’re wondering why the cat bed isn’t black, it’s because I was planning ahead… this time. I’ve already knit Chaos a black felted cat bed, and as you can see below (Chaos at six months), it’s quite difficult to get a good picture of a black cat in a felted black cat bed. Check out the claw action from the happy paws. He loved his felted cat bed, and still tries to squoosh into it sometimes. If he’s ever successful, he’ll have to be surgically removed. Hence the need for the giant mobius cat bed, so this one can be passed on to someone with a smaller cat.

A picture is worth…

After yesterday’s babble-on, I thought I would take a few pictures of what I’m working on these days. As usual, when Chaos is involved, things didn’t go quite as planned. Please forgive the blurriness of some of the pictures – things were happening pretty quickly!
The sweater that I’m knitting for a friend’s baby. It’s the basic pullover (one-year size) from Top Down for Toddlers, knitted out of tan and royal blue Cotton Fleece. I’m a big fan of no-sew knitting.

“Cool, a sweater on the table!”


“Where did the sweater go?!”


“There it is…”


“And now it’s mine.”

Alarming thoughts

My brother stopped by earlier for final sizing of the replacement cutting board he’s making for me and he thinks that Chaos has grown taller during the past month. How is this possible?!? The cat is two years and two months old – shouldn’t he be long done with the growing thing?!? Is it just that he’s slimmer now, so he looks taller? Or is that simply wishful thinking?

Personally, I think that this cat is plenty big – he’s 15 lbs, and the vet says that’s a good weight for him. He’s tall enough to fish things off of the countertop when I cook. When he’s sprawled on my lap (winter only), he stretches from groin to mid-shin (not including his kinked and slightly short tail). Who needs an afghan when you’ve got a catghan?

Speaking of winter, here’s the view that greeted me from my living room window this morning:

I missed getting a picture of Chaos looking out the window at the snow. So I wrote a haiku instead.

Silhouette in black
Pointy ears twitching, watching
Dreams stalking snowflakes

Turkey and Falling Leaves

Thanksgiving was interesting this year. My dad and stepmom are in the UK (staying in the castle used for the Harry Potter castle exteriors – how cool is that?) this semester, so there was plenty of advance warning that it wouldn’t be the regular Thanksgiving at their house. Now that my brother Matt is married and part of an extremely large family of friendly, happy, and slightly tipsy inlaws, I simply invited myself along.

There was precedence for this, as two years ago my stepmom went to Jamaica for Thanksgiving with one of her daughters and my dad stayed behind, convinced that he would be unable to get any suitable food (bland, as in no vegetables, spices, or parsley). So he and I joined this extravaganza then. (I should take this moment to point out that you would’ve been fine, Dad – true, they were in Jamaica, but they were staying in some hotel that was part of an American chain – there would’ve been plenty of Dad-appropriate food. Probably more than during your recent visit to Morocco… but I digress.)

Today there were probably 40 people wandering around the inlaws’ house. When you consider that my nonwork time is primarily spent hanging out with Chaos, such a crowd was pretty mindboggling for me. But I persevered (with only minimal nervous eye rolling), and there turned out to be another knitter in the crowd – yay! So we talked knitting a bit. And I realized that I’ve now been knitting for slightly over five years.

Anyway, after much food was consumed (there were 38 pounds of turkey to start with, but not a heckuva lot left but bones in the end – and I can assure you that I didn’t eat anywhere close to a pound of turkey), a group of us settled in the living room. Many fell asleep, but I pulled out my sock project (which is always in my backpack of a purse, waiting for such interludes) and got the heel turned while listening to the occasionally cacophonic chatter. It was a pleasant afternoon, although I was cursing myself for not bringing along the baby sweater for my coworker whose baby is due very, very soon.

As you might be able to tell, I was having a bit of trouble trying to photograph my sock, and gave up trying to get a good picture in the interest of saving my Addis. I’m using the lace pattern from Falling Leaves (Fall 05 issue of Knitty) in a pleasantly autumnal shade of Koigu (which might be color P615 according to my KnitAble record, but it sure doesn’t look like the pictures of P615 I found through Google).

Attempting to relax

Sitting down to recuperate a bit from making cornbread stuffing to take to my brother’s in-laws tomorrow. It made me realize how very little cooking I’ve done in recent memory. Or in not-so-recent memory for that matter. I blame it on microwave popcorn; specifically, Orville Redenbacher’s SmartPop! Kettle Korn. The stuff should have a warning label: “This product is extremely addictive. Once you’ve had it, you will abandon normal dinner food and spend your evenings eating SmartPop! Kettle Korn and swilling chardonnay. Hee hee.” If I’d been forewarned, would I still have purchased that first box?

Recuperating turns out to not be particularly relaxing, as I did the old yardstick under appliances and bookshelves sweep earlier to retrieve cat toys. This means that Chaos is in “fetch mode.” “Fetch mode” requires two conditions. The first is the availability of one of several favorite fetch toys – tonight it’s been “sparkly purple mouse” and a plastic doohickey that once sealed a carton of Silk soymilk.

(Let me assure you that, blurry and spit-ridden as sparkly purple mouse is, he is much more photogenic than the plastic doohickey.)

The second condition is for me to be sitting down at my desk or, um, well, in my bathroom. Enough said about that.

Anyway, Chaos is so devoted to playing fetch these days that my shoulder has a perpetual faint achiness. It’s gotten to the point that I’m pretty happy when a treasured fetch toy is misplaced under a piece of furniture. I’ve known where sparkly purple mouse was lost since last Wednesday afternoon, and only retrieved him this eveninig. I’m pleased to report that he’s lost again. But don’t you think that Jeanne’s knitted Noro rug (thanks again, Jeanne!) shows off both Chaos and sparkly purple mouse to their best advantage?