This was a great week! The weather has been nice and sunny and the Mother of Cats has been sitting out on her deck listening to her audiobook while she knits. Hannah and I have been watching all the stuff in the yard through the windows.
Happy Caturday, everyone!
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
I’ve been reading the best book ever while knitting outside and watching the wildlife in the back yard. One of the main characters is an octopus, and I just fell in love with him right away. I seriously, seriously recommend this book!
Years ago, another biology teacher told me about an octopus that would break out of his tank to go snack on crayfish from another tank in the lab. Yep. They gave been known to do this. Very smart, able to squish through very small openings, octopuses are kind of the stuff of legend. In this book, the octopus is also a wanderer with an incredible memory who becomes a pivotal character in the lives of the people who know him. I wanted the book to go on and now I am on the hunt for another easy to listen to books to keep me company while knitting outside with the wildlife.
The week started out fine. The weather was really warm and nice, and the nice days made the Mother of Cats feel pretty good with her breathing and joints and stuff. She went outside and worked in the gardens almost every single day and got lots of dead leaves and weeds moved away. All of her flowers and bushes that she planted last fall are green and growing again and she was really happy. She was even happy about the seeds on the weeds!
And guess what? There are tiny baby bunnies in the backyard!! The Mother of Cats has been putting pulled dandelion leaves near the opening under the deck where the babies live, and they are eating them! We even see the babies sometimes as they race past the back window, but we never see our bunny anymore… The Mother of Cats is a little concerned because one of the neighbors has been trapping bunnies and releasing them out in the wilderness, and one bunny got a broken leg somehow from the trap. The neighbor has a huge backyard garden (AKA the bunny smorgasbord), and the Mother of Cats does understand, but she is sad at the thought of our bunny being lost in the wilderness, and chased by coyotes, and… it is just sad.
The Mother of Cats is depressed about the whole thing, so we have been spending extra time entertaining her because… it is MOTH SEASON!!! The moths get into the house where they are the best toys ever!!! and we spend hours hunting them until, finally, the CoalBear manages to catch them. The Mother of Cats helps us hunt the moths (well, we do call her constantly for help), and would you believe that if she gets them, she puts them back outside? Like, WHY???? Luckily the CoalBear (AKA Mateo) is able to practically fly up and down walls chasing the moths and he usually gets them before she can. See, entertainment! I get to play with the moths every time the CoalBear brings them down onto the floor and this is the best, best cat toy in the world.
Then this new distraction arrived…
All of a sudden, the Mother of Cats was worried about the plants and the tree outside and didn’t care about bunnies and moths anymore. She spend part of the day yesterday covering up every single shrub and rose in the gardens but couldn’t do too much to protect the tree out front.
So today we are kind of having a sad Caturday. The moths are gone (They don’t like snow? What light weights they are!), there isn’t a bunny in sight, and we are both hiding in the closet because some really scary people came to make lots of noises taking the tree’s broken parts away. Why did this have to happen on Caturday?!!!
Well, that’s it. It’s time to come out of the closet and remind the Mother of Cats that on a day like this we require cookies! Extra cookies!! And lots of pets and attention and maybe even a new toy since the moths have disappeared.
Notes from the Mother of Cats:
Poor tree. The branches on the top of the tree came down too, but the tree service cleaned everything up and assures me that the tree will make it. The days before the snowstorm were very warm and windy, setting off fire weather alerts. Now we get a week of cold and rain. Colorado.
The hat is for the Kaiser infusion centers and the yarn is from Hue Loco (colorway is Big Yikes). The pattern is Barley Light by Tin Can Knits.
It’s the bunny circle of life. My backyard bunny was a single baby stranded in my yard when the next-door neighbor had the bunnies in her yard removed. Now the offspring are with me, munching on my dandelions, and hopefully will safely remain to entertain my kitties and warm my heart in the months to come.
Miller moths are the guys getting into the house. They cling onto the outside of doors, and when an unsuspecting homeowner opens the door, they just zoom into the house where they cause endless hours of cat entertainment. Night, however, is when they really shine as they are attracted to the lights and almost always end up in my bedroom late at night where the cats zoom across me, the furniture, through the air, and basically put on an entire circus act of astonishing aerial contortions pursuing the moths. I worry about a cat hitting the ceiling fan…
April went by in a blur for me. I entered the month feeling pretty sick. I had just had an appointment with my pulmonologist, and he had referred me to a surgeon for a lung biopsy. Well, not what I was looking for, but necessary to definitively diagnose what type of interstitial lung disease I had. There are several types, and the treatment plans for each are different. The surgery was set for May 2nd, an entire month away. Annoyed, upset by the wait, pretty darn sick, it was hard to wait all through April.
April rose to the challenge. Never was there such an ill-behaved month. For some bizarre reason my Amazon account reset to Spanish. Do you know how hard it is track orders and make changes to your account settings in a language that you don’t read well? Then email in Italian began arriving. Someone tried to hack into my PayPal account, setting off a flurry of new password and security settings on my part. Then my Facebook feed was flooded with pictures of… owls.
Umm… the universe wants me to learn a new language? Maybe the next BioGeek post should be about owls? This is really strange. April was getting off to a rocky start…
I kept struggling with my health as the month advanced, taking care of essential items in preparation for months of difficulty ahead if I was moved into a 6-month course of chemo. I filed my taxes. I took Matao in for his vaccinations. I filed the paperwork to be excused from jury duty. I got the last vaccine I needed (shingles) before the surgery. A neighbor installed the new outdoor lighting that I had purchased before Christmas, and another neighbor will arrange with her grandkids to take care of my lawn. I ordered more oxygen cannulas, and in keeping with April craziness, 4 cases of tubing arrived instead. I made arrangements to be tested for a portable oxygen unit… first appointment is in June. April, you are killing me here! One of the side windows of the car shattered without warning. I continued to get sicker. I was sick and tired of April, too!
As the month wore on, I began to sleep a lot. Like 10-12 hours a night. I had to use oxygen during the daytime. I was losing weight. I wrote my doctors an email towards the middle of the month telling them that I felt that I was declining, and that I was worried it was taking too long to begin treatment. I was scheduled for a series of additional tests and had appointments with the pulmonologist and the cardiologist. Oh, good, April. Now I have to drive all over town without portable oxygen.
How to respond to a worsening situation that I have no control over? I bought happy new shoes in an outrageous color.
And then I cast on new socks that would do the shoes proud.
The results from the heart, lung, and kidney testing came back and they all showed that… I was getting worse. My doctors conferenced back and forth, debated different treatment modifications, and came to the consensus opinion that I should have the biopsy done May 2nd. I got that email late on Friday before the surgery. Checking the physician notes attached to my last appointment I found the full text of all the test results and the email chain of discussion between my doctors. I felt very lucky: what a great team! How good I feel that the decisions about drugs and treatment is being arrived at through this interdisciplinary collaboration by my doctors, who have chosen to make this all visible to me. Knowing that, however, did not change the fact that the upcoming surgery is now a little risky.
So, I cleaned the house, did laundry, paid the bills, and got in groceries. I planted flowers in the front tubs and along the walk. I also cast on some baby booties for my next-door neighbor who just brought home a new little one. This pattern, extremely versatile, is our family recipe passed down through three generations over almost three quarters of a century. It is the same as this one posted on Ravelry.
And just like that, the month was done. I had made 2 hats, 4 PICC line covers, 2 pairs of socks, and used up 3.38 skeins of yarn. I read 6 books. I did work on a sweater, but since I’m now in the colorwork portion of the knitting I put it on hiatus to await better days.
Goodbye April, you crazy, bad-boy of a month! I want you to stand in the corner and think about what you have done!! I expect a whole new attitude when I see you next year.
The days are still warm, dry and sunny, but the nights are finally getting a little cooler. I spend my afternoons in the swinging garden chair on the deck, reading and knitting in the strange silence that has now descended on the garden: no more crickets, cicadas, migrating geese, or even the pit bull next door. All are now gone, and the only sounds I hear are the squirrels racing through the trees and the occasional drifting fall of leaves. The maple tree out back, usually a blaze of red color by now, is slowly turning a golden brown with a few flashes of red. Seriously? This is how you are going to finish up the year? Figures.
The ground is covered with dead leaves as these sorry examples of autumn glory drift off the tree. We never had a freeze, and I think that these brown leaves coming down are the result.
Over the last weekend I noticed lots of digging in the yard from the bunny, and then one night the flood lights revealed that there were two bunnies in my yard! My little guy was not all alone any more! Now my bunny, all grown up, is gone.
Next week we will finally get colder weather and perhaps some rain. There will be snow in our mountains and all of my leaves will be gone off the tree.
I am now down to only one knitting project left, the second Snark-O-Meter that I am rapidly finishing off with lots of cat help.
Yesterday I cleaned out my little project bags, sorted yarn in the stash, and organized myself for a prolonged sweater knitting campaign. I’m tempted to start the Stephen West MKAL (Shawlography), but as I sorted I realized that I had the yarn to make several sweaters all stocked up and waiting to go. It isn’t all that cold yet, but eventually sweater weather will get here and it is time for me to switch over to sweaters and to start working my way through the stash again.
I also, through great serendipity, located a community knitting group last week that makes hats for patients going through chemo at the infusion center where I used to go to my (old, kicked to the curb) rheumatologist’s office. I know that center, located between oncology and rheumatology, as I used to sit in that waiting room every rheumatologist appointment. Why is the infusion center next to rheumatology? Because, little known fact, many rheumatology patients (along with other people struggling with autoimmune disease), receive chemo and infusions of biologic drugs. I know, only too well, what a struggle it is to control Reynaud’s Phenomenon while hooked up to an IV in air conditioning. I’m joining the knitting group and will be knitting as many little fingerless mitts and arm warmers as I can for drop off to the center along with the chemo hats.
There. Knitting plans for the rest of the year all worked out. 🙂
This is ridiculous, but all of my mental energy is focused on planting all the potted plants into the gardens (Where should I put them? This is a big decision.) and making an indoor home for the jade plants that have been outdoors all summer.
I recently discovered that jade plants are poisonous for cats. Oh, no. I have had jade plants in the house for years with my cats, and never had an issue, but now that I know I’m worried about a cat/plant interaction. I have an indoor garden shelf system established to keep the plants indoors over the winter, but this pot won’t fit now. I’ve decided to use chicken wire to keep the cats away from the shelf with the smaller jades, but this one plant is going to be challenging. Ugh. I can move shelves to create more space, or I can build a cage to put over the plant, or… these are the days when I miss the greenhouse I had in my biology classroom.
So you probably have already guessed that I am really enjoying this book. It is the tale of a ridiculous comedy written by an ancient Greek author that is preserved over time and that connects people separated by centuries who are caught up in the jaws of history. Sounds improbable when I write it down, but this works and it is really good! I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but the story moves right along at a perfect pace, going back and forth between the characters and the Greek tale in a way that links them together and brings meaning to their lives and the Greek comedy in an unforeseen manner that eerily connects to my life also. Owls are a recurring element of the stories in the book: as I read in the night it is to the sound of booming “who-who’s” from the Great Horned owls in my neighborhood. (Bunnies: make good choices tonight!!) I read on in this book that is essentially about the power and of legacy of books as I consider which of my books to leave in one of the community Little Free Libraries next week. The power of books, the legacy of lives, the preservation of who we are: a big message contained in a book that immerses you in a powerful story.
Have a good week, everyone.
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.
The heat is hanging on and the cats and I are totally over it at this point. Yesterday we set a new heat record in my state: 99 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is a sullen red ball in the sky and the sky is slate white with smoke from the west. The heat is unrelenting, there has been almost no rain, and fire season is still going on, and on, and on… Should summer be ending soon?
“Not yet!”, say the plants and wildlife in the yard. The cats have been busy chasing late season houseflies and the trees are abuzz with pulsing cicada sounds. There seems to be wildlife everywhere all of a sudden as the lawn and garden recover from the intense sun (but not the heat) of July and August. I even had to chase a little garter snake out of my garage yesterday! Summer is being especially tenacious, but I am seeing some hints of fall as flocks of geese fly over my house and the first leaves on the trees are turning.
The baby bunny is now hanging out in the front yard entertaining the cats as they watch from the front door. Do you see all of that debris on the sidewalk and street in the picture of the bunny? That is the mess being left by the squirrels as they harvest the Russian olives off of my neighbor’s tree. There is a really cute squirrel with an exceptionally fluffy tail digging holes under my trees to stash food for later… not nice, little squirrel!! Speaking of fluffy tails, look at what is happening to Mateo’s tail!! This kitten is getting a lot fluffier than I thought he would…
Everything that is pink is just flourishing at the moment.
My Autumn Joy Stonecrop is just covered with bees and other plants in containers on the deck have decided that they want to bloom too. Even the roses by my driveway have decided to get a last bloom in. For some crazy reason it is all of the pink plants… even the hydrangea is putting out some new blooms with pink edges. It makes me happy to see all that color coming back even if it will be drowned out by all the fall colors in the trees and shrubs in a week or two.
I had several quiet days following my right heart catherization procedure last week (okay, I also slept a couple of days afterwards) and I ripped right through the next clue on the Snark-O-Meter. If you haven’t been keeping up with all of the snark, the Snark-O-Meter is the latest MKAL shawl by Sharon from Security (Casapinka) and I am having a blast this time.
It is getting too big to show off the fun stitches in this project in one picture so I settled for shots of each clue. The top left is clues 1 and 2, the bottom left shows clue 3, and the picture on the right is clue 4. Look at all of those great and interesting stitches and use of color!! I’m going to get a ton of use out of this shawl.
Since I finished the shawl in just a couple of days after the clue was released, and because Sharon is taking a week off to let people catch up on their knitting, and since I was admiring all things pink in the garden, I pulled out my new Rock It Tee that is being knit in a pinky/rusty colorway called Cinnasizzle. The actual yarn isn’t quite as hot pink as it appears in the pictures, but it is full of clay, pink, and rust colors that are just too fun to ignore. I’ve been binge watching Billions on Amazon Prime and knitting like crazy this last week with a nebulous thought that if I really apply myself I can get this sweater done before Sharon releases the next Snark-O-Meter clue in another week. Ha! This is clearly impossible, but that never stopped me before! To try is all. I’m below the armholes now and it is just knitting in the round for the next 15 inches or so…
I’m still waiting for my cardiologist to contact me with the next steps in the ongoing Blue-Lipped Zebra project. Things are really slammed right now in the health field as there are lots of Covid-19 patients and Covid long-haulers who need help, and my cardiologist is pretty overwhelmed with the case load at the moment. (How do I know? My pulmonologist, who is also slammed, told me. I feel so bad for them.) It is a little hard to be patient and to wait my turn, especially since some of those people who are bumping me back in the health-care line are the unvaccinated.
Last week I was mocked in public by someone for wearing a mask. Umm… retired high school teacher here. I called him out on it and he immediately stopped.
But still, it’s a little shocking that it even happened.
This is the 20th anniversary of 9/11. What a sad, horrible day that led to unpredictable outcomes that were far beyond my imagination at that time. How sad it is to reflect on all that has happened, and continues to happen, in America.
I plan to knit my way though the reflection, waiting, and sadness this week. You all be safe out there!
Have a great week everyone.
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.
The end of August, and things are still hot here. The lawn struggles in the heat and the cats go to ground in the coolest parts of the house during the day. The smoke is gone, however, and I’ve been going out in the evenings to water and do some yard work almost every day. Someday, soon, autumn will come, but so far it doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry…
Covid-19 has exploded in the US over the last few weeks, mostly the Delta strain of the virus. I have always been careful since there was some concern that the vaccine wouldn’t give me good protection because of one of the drugs that I take to control my systemic sclerosis; now I rarely leave the house and when I do walk into a store I am double masked. Since I am hanging out at home I’ve been on a “one little thing” cleaning campaign that is really rewarding in small ways. Each day I target one little project: wash the upstairs windows, clean out a drawer, weed out a flower bed, or sort and dispose of old stuff in the garage. I still have bins of teaching materials from my days in the classroom stored away… well, I used to. It was hard, but most of that is now gone. Every week my trash cans are stuffed full and things are nicer in the house. The Covid situation is bad outside my little home, but I am soothed by the gradual improvements that are happening in all of my drawers and rooms as the clutter and dirt disappears.
Every cloud has a silver lining, people!
When the new fence was installed I was pretty sure that the bunny would find his way out of the yard as there were a couple of new gaps under the gates. I can see a new bunny-shaped gap under the new boards that sure looks like there has been some squeeze under the fence action; happy days little guy. The cats will miss you but it is good to move on to greener pastures (and not eating my lawn!!) as you grow up.
I am deep in the world of the Sharon from Security (Casapinka) MKAL Snark-O-Meter. I knitted like crazy for several days to get my shawl through the first two clues.
I am through the first two clues (clue number 3 arrived this morning) and I am really happy with how things are going. My problem is that once I finished the clues I had some free time on my hands, so…
I cast on and started another shawl. I messed up the color sequence on this second one, so it has some major Sharon Snax going, but I love it anyway. Now my dilemma is whether to continue with shawl number 2 until I have caught up with the first one, or to charge ahead on the black and red version so I can see what the colors will look like. There is a change in needle size involved so I may keep going on #2 until I get to the lace section at the top that I can switch the needles between the two shawls.
I also feel like I need to knit a little cat, too. I’m cleaning a lot of shelves and I want some more knitted critters to fill in the gaps. 🙂
It has been a long time coming, but now that I’m cleaning things up I decided to finish up a small quilting project that has been ignored for years. This quilt has been on the wall by my indoor garden but I was lazy and didn’t hand quilt the lettering in the blocks.
There are several blocks on this quilt with different gardening themed images; each has a cute phrase that needs to be quilted to make it stand out right. Then maybe I will add some more quilting to the outer panels of the quilt. Ugh. I am doing a little bit every day as an extension of the “one little thing” campaign. Hopefully it will be done and back up on the wall before the cold weather arrives and I bring in the plants from outside for their winter indoors.
Have a great week everyone.
Read a little, knit a little, and garden like your heart can’t live without it.
Here we are, deep in a pandemic, isolated, bored, longing for good food and lost outings, and worrying about those we love. Hard days, huh. How about some happy things that I encountered this week? A little sunshine in the middle of the week, so to speak.
It’s actually a day here with little sunshine. In a few hours the clouds will finish closing in and rain will start, changing to snow before morning. Tomorrow and Friday it will continue to snow and carry on outside. I will get to wear my new sweater! That flower outside evidently is able to handle snow, and the bunny is hopefully tanked up on grass and will do okay in the icky weather. By the end of the week I should have that quilt done and I’ll be casting about for new projects to work on. In spite of everything, there are happy things and sunshine in the week.