The story of the cat formerly known as “Hoho”

A few days ago, Kirsten suggested telling the story of Chaos and how he came to live here.

Well, it all started back in the summer of 2003, when my brother, Matt, and his wife, Jess, spent a week in northern Minnesota (known as “up Nord”) at the Life of Riley Resort. The resort was overrun with cats. The owners of the resort encouraged guests to take home any cat that struck their fancy. Matt and Jess were adopted by a young female cat and they decided to bring her home to the Twin Cities. After a five hour drive filled with non-stop yowling, she was theirs.

They named her Riley. During the first week they had her home, they thought she might be gaining a little weight, but they weren’t too worried. During the second week, they started to wonder if they needed to put her on scheduled feedings instead of letting her free feed. During the third week, their roommate finally said, “Sheesh, you guys! Your cat is pregnant!”


So meet Riley:

Time passed. Matt and Jess knew it was nearly time for the kittens to be born when they went out of town on Friday evening and they fully expected to return home to kittens. When they got home, Riley was still pregnant, but pretty distraught. She immediately rushed off to her “den” and within minutes, the two kittens were born. Apparently she’d been waiting all weekend, legs crossed, wishing they would hurry up and get home!

My brother named this kitten “Hoho,” because that’s exactly what he looked like when he was born (although I believe he was squirmier than your typical Hostess bakery product).

This kitten was named “Diablo” for obvious reasons – check out that horn action on his forehead!

They were a happy little family…

Things were pretty exciting at Matt and Jess’s house as the kittens grew.

I visited several times every week to bond with my little black kitten. Although my brother has never acknowledged the name change, I quickly decided that “Hoho” needed to be called “Chaos.”

The plan was for me to bring home Chaos/Hoho sometime in early December. One Friday evening, I received a phone call from Matt, suggesting that if I wanted a live kitten, I should pick him up within the next hour or so.

Whoa. Ok. Off I went to get Chaos and hear the rest of the story… Apparently, the last straw was Chaos teaching Riley and Diablo how to climb the Christmas tree.

He says he didn’t do it.

You can see a few more kitten pictures and some pictures of grown-up Diablo here. Really, I will post about my knitting again very soon. I promise. Trust me.

The All-Seeing Eye of Chaos

Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments about both my Chaotic Black Purl Jaywalkers and my Crazy Chaotic Cat!

I’m still tossing around ideas for the Knitting Olympics and I’ll put together a list of possibilities in the very near future. Last night I cast on a new pair of… Jaywalkers. Yup. With that crazy, bright, unphotographable Anne I used for the Not-So-Red Scarf. Since I only have about an inch of sock, I’ll spare you that picture and leave you instead with….

The All-Seeing Eye of Chaos.

Oh oh

If you haven’t stopped by Yarn Harlot today, head on over and find out about the Knitting Olympics. What the heck – it sounds crazy but entertaining, so I signed on. I’m not sure what I’m going to knit yet – I have to do some stash excavation first. Any suggestions? Here are the rules from Steph’s site:

1. The project must be a challenge for you to complete in 16 days.

2. There are no rules about what a challenge would be….Use your own conscience.

3. While this is intended to be somewhat difficult (like the Olympics) it is not intended to ruin your life. Don’t set yourself up for failure. (Olympic athletes may cry, but they do not whine pitifully, sob and threaten members of their family with pointed sticks because they haven’t slept in five days.) This is intended to (like the Olympics) require some measure of sacrifice, and be difficult, but it should be possible to attain.

4. No casting on before the flame is lit.

5. Finish before the flame goes out.

6. You may swatch before the games. (I consider this “training.”)

Thanks for all the, um, creative suggestions for where sparkly red mouse (SRM) might be. Wherever he is, I don’t think he’s lonely, since I assume sparkly neon lime green mouse (SNLGM) is with him.

If I find either of them in the fridge/freezer/stove, I’m moving out – the cat can obviously take care of himself at that point! I have a strong suspicion that they’re hanging out under the stove, way in back behind the power cord where the yardstick can’t get to. I am awfully tired of pulling out the stove, though. I have resorted to pulling the tails off the other sparkly mice in an attempt to increase their appeal… Nope. He knows that a tailless sparkly brown, orange, or purple mouse is not the same as SRM or SNLGM.

Eileen -You should worry if you’ve started channeling Chaos! ;p
Tink – Hopefully you will recover from your exertion. Good job! Under the stove is the last place I will look.
MrsPao – I did check in my tote bag and, alas, no mouse. Chaos often does send mice to work with me, so it was a very good guess.

Added 5:25 pm: Well, poop. SRM was not under the stove or the fridge. (I’m sure my next door neighbor wonders why I move my appliances so much!). SNLGM was under the stove with SOM (oooh-la-la!) and Chaos is happily playing with SNLGM… for now. Until he starts looking for SRM again. Heck, I’ve even tried ripping the tail off another SRM (SRM the 2nd or 3rd), but he knows the difference.

Hmm, I’m posting from work, without access to most of my photos… Let’s see, hmm, I guess it will have to be baby pictures. Here’s Chaos at one week:

Here we are when he was about 10 days old:

Four score

Tagged by Lynda. I don’t think I’ve done this one before, but they’re starting to blur…

Four Jobs You’ve Had
1. Motel maid (two days)
2. Medic (91-A), US Army Reserve and Minnesota National Guard
3. Timber marker and fire fighter, US Forest Service
4. Senior systems analyst for a small regional telecommunications company (current)

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
1. The Matrix (original)
2. Amelie
3. The Fifth Element
4. As Good As It Gets

Four Places You’ve Lived
1. Orlando, Florida
2. Hill City, South Dakota
3. Itasca State Park, Minnesota
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota (current)

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch
Um, I don’t watch any TV shows and haven’t for several years – so this will be TV shows I used to watch.
1. The X-Files
2. Ally McBeal
3. Star Trek Deep Space Nine
4. The Simpsons

I’m adding this one to offset the TV-centric question above – Four of Your Favorite Books
1. To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (or Bellwether by Connie Willis)
2. Someplace to be Flying by Charles de Lint
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Four Places You’ve Been On Vacation
1. Seattle/Olympic Peninsula/Vancouver, British Columbia
2. Sante Fe and Taos, New Mexico
3. Hill City, South Dakota (the Black Hills)
4. Glacier National Park, Montana

Four Websites You Visit Daily
1. Bloglines (you can see how out-of-hand this is by looking at the bottom of my sidebar)
2. Google
3+. Well, #1 covers lots more sites…

Four of Your Favorite Foods
1. Chipotle chicken bowl
2. Chiang Mai garlic pepper stirfry
3. My own gluten-free pizza
4. Tum Rup Thai green curry stirfry

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
1. On my bicycle in Spain
2. On a warm, sunny beach in Mexico
3. Taos and Sante Fe
4. At a cozy knitting retreat

Four Bloggers You Are Tagging
1. Jeanne (I keep trying…)
2. Mama_Tulip
3. “me” from Bermuda
4. RheLynn

And for today’s gratuitous cat picture, here’s Chaos with his beloved sparkly red mouse (please leave a comment if you know where sparkly red mouse has gone – things are very sad around here right now) on one of my favorite knitted items ever:

Apparently, there can be no blobless pictures

I finished the not-so-red scarf this morning. I decided to take a few pre-blocking pictures and got out an old black velvet dress for a backdrop. Unfortunately, by the time I had the scarf laid out on the black velvet, I had company. (I intended to do a completely cat-free post today. Really, I did.)

“Hmm, what’s this on the living room floor?”
“Looks like sparkly red mouse’s larger, less red, less mousey relative.”
“Oh, very cushy.”
“You may proceed.”

The picture below is of the scarf after I soaked it in Orvus and water, scrunched it dry in a towel, and stretched it out on my blocking board. The blocking board is 48″ long and I had to curve the scarf to get it on there. Why is the image such a funny shape? Um, because until I was resizing the picture, I didn’t realize how messy my bedroom was… Whoops.

Here’s the scarf after blocking, back on the black velvet. It became amazingly drapey and the colors spiraled appealingly. I’m very happy with it! It’s just too bad the I could never get a good photo of the color, because it goes from scarlet to red to hot pink to fuschia to rusty orange to scarlet…

“Let me tell you what I think of this scarf. Back when I was a kitten…”

A cat’s love of knitting is a terrible force

No particular focus to this post, so settle in for a ramble…

There have been a few questions about how I manage to do any knitting at all with the Cat Chaotic around. Well, when I’m actually knitting, he’s usually lying calmly on my lap – unless he feels I am jabbing his ass a wee bit too much with my needles. Then things get a bit, um, lively. Or unless he thinks it’s time for him to be fed, at which point he begins to leap back and forth over me, occasionally springing off my stomach. (Ufffffffff…)

But it’s knitting photography that really gets him excited. I’m sure there are lots of reasons he finds it appealing – needles dangling and wiggling, yarn strands hither and thither… And best of all, I’m distracted with the camera so he doesn’t get in as much trouble as he would otherwise.

He also has a weakness for my Chibi. (For the non-knitters, this is a little hard plastic case that holds needles for sewing up yarn.) This is what a cat can do to an unattended Chibi (click to zoom in and get the full effect):

front view
back view

Two years, not terribly long after I brought Chaos home, I made him an eggroll from‘s Feline Dim Sum pattern. He loved that catnip-stuffed toy. Played with it all the time. See below for the results:

I swear it didn’t look like that when I knitted it! You might not be able to tell from the picture, but it’s also somewhat felted from all the bunny kicking, biting, and generous application of cat spit to which it was subjected.

Chaos supplements his prescription diet with… tissue paper.

“Mmmmm… tissue paper. Hey, don’t knock until you’ve tried it.”

An update and a fickle tangent

I’ve been making good progress on the Chaotic Black Purl Jaywalkers. Yup, lookie there – it’s the black blob again! I must have a camera setting screwed up or something.

Of course, being as fickle as any other knitter, when I read Norma’s post about knitting red scarves for “’emancipated’ foster children who are in college,” I remembered that one of my knitting resolutions for this year was to do more knitting for the community and immediately scrounged through my stash for suitable yarn. I discovered that I had no red yarn. Hmm. I’m in Stashalong, so romping out to a yarn store wasn’t really an option. I considered dyeing some yarn with Wilton’s cake dye, but I’ve never been able to get the reds to set. Norma gave me a tip on resolving that problem, so I was digging through my stash for yarn to dye when I discovered a lovely skein of Anne in reds and pinks, with some orange and rust bits tossed in for fun.Since using stash yarn “as is” seemed much better than filling my condo with fumes from wet wool and hot vinegar, I found an easy garter lace scarf in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts and got started.

The scarf will be much more lacy and open after it’s blocked. Deadline to drop scarves off for this project is January 31 at any Einstein Brothers Bagels. (For the curious, I’m doing surprisingly well knitting with a color that’s so far off of the Chris acceptable color chart, which includes deep greens, purples, and black.)

“Things are gonna change around here, you betcha. This photography crap is making me very cranky.”

And we had a little party…

Jeanne came over to my place this evening for some flourless chocolate cake, Rex Goliath 47-Pound Rooster Pinot Noir, and a present to celebrate her birthday.

Strangely, we took no photos during our eating, drinking, and knitting. But I do have a few pictures from earlier today. I was working at my computer when I heard a little tearing sound.

“Chaos, what are you doing to Jeanne’s present?”



“I don’t know how that happened. Who could’ve done that?”


“I’m looking and looking, but I just can’t figure out where the culprit went.”

Hmm. I have my suspicions…

Anyway, to make up for the lack of party pictures, here’s a recipe for the world’s simplest flourless chocolate cake, which is gluten-free and can also be dairy-free:

One Bowl Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 c butter or margarine
3/4 c sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c unsweetened cocoa

Grease a 7- or 8-inch springform pan or round pan. Line bottom with a circle of wax or parchment paper and grease paper.

Break chocolate into pieces and put with butter or margarine into a microwave-safe bowl that will be big enough to ultimately hold all the ingedients. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave until chocolate and butter are melted, being careful not to burn them!

Remove from microwave. Stir until chocolate and butter are well mixed. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs and mix well. Sift cocoa onto mix and stir until just mixed.

Pour into greased pan. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate.

Dark Chocolate Glaze
4 oz bittersweet chocolate OR sweet dark chocolate or 1/2 c double chocolate chips
3 T butter or margarine
1 T milk, soymilk, or almond milk
1 T light corn syrup
1/4 t vanilla

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt broken chocolate with butter. Stir until smooth. Stir in milk, corn syrup, and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly. When glaze is cool, pour onto center of cooled cake. Use spatula to smooth glaze and coat sides. Chill about 10 minutes to set glaze.


Art journaling, reading, knitting, and cat parenting. It's a wild life.