Ms Crafty: where craftiness rules supreme...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Don't mess with my cats

Elwood and Mabel soak up the rays in veritable harmony. Ignoring one another seems to be working for them. I mean, cause if you don't see it, it isn't there...right?

Keeping that in mind, I guess I'm going to have to start wearing blinders when I enter and exit the house. Why? Because my neighbors are a bit on the nutty side.

One neighbor has two cats who are completely vicious. Before Elwood even came into the picture, these cats were constantly trying to attack Mabel through the glass...making a huge racket. Once, one of them got into our house (long story) and Mabel was completely traumatized, although she did manage to draw blood when provoked--way to go, kitty!

Now that Elwood has entered the picture, he has taken to going outside. He loves it. He likes to just chill on our itsy bitsy "deck" or sleep in the dirt behind some flowering bush. But, in the past week the neighbors cats have been getting insanely aggressive with him--and it's pissing me off.

I mean, the neighbors cats are monsters. They even growl and hiss at me when I come outside. They end up chasing Elwood out of the yard--the cats and the neighbors as well. I think one of the crazies sprayed him with the hose.

Cut to this afternoon. I heard a ruckus in the backyard and went tearing downstairs. One of the terror cats had poor Elwood cornered and was hissing and spitting up a storm. I stepped out to call him and try to get between crazycat and himself (so he could come inside). Instead crazy neighbor #2 (not the owner of the terrorcats, but a really old lady who lives in the basement next door) stepped out...which startled both cats and sent them both flying over the fence.

Then she says "It's the mosquitoes." Huh? I'm sorry, what did you say? "The mosquitoes. They get under their skin and make them crazy. That's why I spray them with bug repellent."

Lady, that bug repellent is going to disappear from the yard faster than you can spit out another bouquet of crazy. And, if I catch either one of you loonies near my cats I'm going to turn the hose on you. Seriously. Don't mess with my kittybabies.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Still sleepy

I went to bed at a decent hour (for me, anyway) last night around 11. I read for about 15 minutes until I could feel myself drifting off to sleep. I carefully tucked away the New Yorker, flipped the bedside lamp off, and proceeded to jerk in and out of a completely unrestful and highly restless sleep.

I swear I woke up more exhausted than when my bedtime odyssey began. Any bedtime tips for someone so-exhausted-she-might-be-starting-to-hallucinate? No, seriously.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How do you solve a problem like Elwood?

Mabel tries to cure her depression by sleeping in the sun for a bit.

Things have been good for a while with the cats. In retrospect it seems obvious that it was merely a honeymoon period of sorts. During that glorious time, as long as we kept the cats on different levels of the house (and they actually seemed to keep to their separate levels without much help from us) everything was fine. Good times.

Now, to backtrack a bit, Mabel has been a bit upset ever since Elwood arrived. And, now that she no longer has access to the cat scratching post squirreled away downstairs she has taken to exercising her claws on our lovely rugs. It's a problem. So, last night we did the seemingly intelligent thing and bought her a cardboard cat scratching thingy (that's the technical term) from Trader Joe's. The kind filled to the brim with catnip.

We took it out of the box, set it down and she immediately draped herself all over it. She was having a great time. She wasn't clawing it like a normal kitty--it was more like she was trying to ingest it-- but she was obviously enjoying it. We left her in the kitchen enjoying her spoils, and went to catch up on a bit of Tivo.

An hour or so later, Mabel came running in and that's when I noticed a faint rustling noise. Upon investigation, we discovered that Elwood had sneaked upstairs and pissed all over her new precious.

I put him outside, but the damage had been done. Toy ruined. Surprise, surprise, cardboard just doesn't hold up to cat urine.

A bit later I hear another strange rustling noise in the kitchen, and sneak in to discover Mabel up on the counter desperately pawing at the bag of extra catnip which came with said scratcher (huzzah for Trader Joe's--they really go all out with the catnip) trying to get a fix. I guess I should knit up some quick cat toys--nothing large enough to be peed on though...

Any ideas? Catnip free house? How do we solve the scratching problem sans a literal pissing contest?

These cats are making me crazy, and these pretzels are making me thirsty!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh Boise

So, I am participating in my first knitalong. I'm a little nervous about it--I don't have too much free time to devote to knitting these days. Thus, I'm a bit nervous about tomorrow's knit night. I mean, what if I have way less knitting completed than everyone else? I mean, what does that say about me and my knitting abilities?

I should also mention that so far this is my first moderately successful go at knitting lace.

I've completed a whopping 4.5 repeats of the 12 row pattern. I find I have to count my stitches after each right side row to make sure I've got all 94 of 'em.

I love the green color of the yarn. Sadly, my nighttime photos don't really do justice to the color of the yarn.

Pattern detail.

I wonder if I can blog stalk other knitalong folks to see how much they have done? Can you say competitive--even with a hobby as zen as knitting...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

First Big Cold of Season has Struck

I've been down with a severely annoying cold since late afternoon on Friday. I guess the stress of the new job, the 12-hour workdays, and the working weekends have finally caught up with me. Sigh. I just don't have time to be sick...

The worst part? I'm too sick to knit. I'm working on a lace pattern shawl out of this luscious cashmere (Boise by Karabella) and you really have to concentrate to get through the pattern row by row.

If only Mabel and I could swap bodies, a la the Parent Trap--with a nice song and dance...and some tap shoes... I really think she'd be good at client relations...and I could sure use an 18 hour nap or two...although I don't think I'd really want her playing around with my yarn stash...

[Note: Please pardon the excessive use of ellipses. Methinks the cold medicine doth wreak havoc with my grammatical prowess.]

Friday, September 08, 2006

It's finally cold enough for some serious knitting

This is a pic of a little kids' sweater I knit up for a friend's store. I still have to weave in the ends (I really hate that part, sigh).

It's pretty cute--I'd wear it if it was a bit bigger. It's the Polly pattern from Rowan and was a joy to knit. Maybe I'll make one for each of my nieces! Or, maybe I'll work on some fingerless gloves for my freezing fingers. Or, maybe I'll finish something else from my grab bag of unfinished schtuff.

I grabbed these yarns last night and will be trying to create a wrap of two strands of mohair, complemented by the occasional bit of novelty yarn.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend with half spent knitting, and merely half working. That's a step up from last weekend which was 90% work, 10% housework.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cabled and ribbed for her pleasure

Get your mind out of the gutter!

I'm talking about a sock...for my mom.

I dug it up this past weekend out of the "it's time to finish something" pile. The plan was to finish a sweet pair of handknit socks for my mom by xmas. One sock down, one to go.

[Note: I humbly apologize for the shoddy lighting--I didn't get a chance to take any pics while the sun was still out today. And, our living room only contains low mood lighting--just enough to knit by without going blind.]

Monday, September 04, 2006

He's Alive

We've had quite a trying time with the temporary addition of another cat to our household. The newbie, Elwood, a member of the notorious Sharks, has been as yet unable to bridge the great divide between himself and Ms. Mabel, a lifetime member of the Jets.

These two either cannot or simply will not get along. They simply refuse. Whether it's merely ideological differences, or simply a case of horrible stink we'll never know. What we have learned so far is this--we must keep these two separated at all times. Separate but mostly equal.

It hasn't been easy, but I think we have managed to achieve a delicate balance where neither cat a) comes into contact with the other, b) hates us both, or c) hates one of us all of the time.

Once we started tossing Elwood outside, things really improved. Of course, the 12 hours after putting him out for the first time were completely nerve-wracking. After keeping me up ALL NIGHT howling and carrying on (fyi, it is impossible to sleep through "the covers game" when it is being played by a 30lb cat) I decided I had taken far more than a reasonably sane person would. So, I picked him up, strained my back, and put him outside.

He didn't come back for 12 hours. You wouldn't believe the stress--I was so scared that he wouldn't come back. Griff kept walking around the block calling for him to no avail...

My mind quickly wandered to worst-case-scenarios, like how do you tell a good friend who is halfway around the world that you lost her cat? Luckily, I didn't have to find out.

Around 11:30pm, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a yowling from the backyard. Elwood was back.

Since that 12 hour adventure Elwood has gone outside almost daily for an hour or two at a time. The funny thing is that he seems to appreciate inside more now than he ever did before.

The best part? Now when it's time for me to hit the sack, Mr. Woo just curls up in my armpit and goes to sleep purring.

The biggest drawback? Now Mabel hates me. She knows that Elwood sleeps with me and simply will not forgive that nightly betrayal. Sorry, Ms. Bunny Tummy. You'll have to survive until December.

[Note to KB: We tried to take pics of Elwood with this week's New Yorker, but they all came out looking pretty goofy--too goofy to post. Rest assured that he's alive and well, and awfully happy to have free run of the bedroom and backyard.]