Monday, December 30, 2013

Yarn-Themed Christmas

I no longer have 28 miles of yarn. Because I had a yarn-themed Christmas.

Or maybe I should say I had a bit of a knitting-themed Christmas because it wasn't all yarn. I got two much desired knitting books (The Knitted Slipper Book and Scottish Knits)(and used a Christmas gift card to pick up three more: Knit to Flatter, The Sock Knitter's Workshop, and the visually insane Op-Art Socks). Each book has at least one pattern that I want to cast on for right now but I am making Dan more socks, so I will have to wait a tad.

I will also have to wait until I finish a bit of lacework that I have decided I simply must do. Because I have something pretty that needs covering to keep kitties out: my brand new knitting bowl!

Yarn Bowl

It's fab and I love it and it is amazing how much easier it makes knitting. It even works well to move my yarn around lap- and arm-rest-kitties. I only used it for a day before we went of to St. Louis and I missed it while we were gone - that is the kind of difference it makes. Delightful.

Of course, there was yarn in my knitting-themed Christmas. I met a new yarn store in St. Louis (Knitorious. It's awesome. If you are in STL, you should go there. Even if you don't like yarn) which was delightfully dangerous. And since yarn stores are like potato chips, I was not able to stop at just one. I ended up with yarn goodness from the in-laws and from Dan for Christmas (and a little from myself, too). Okay, maybe it was more than a little.

Alpacas d'Auxvasse Alpaca Sock Yarn Austermann Step Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Dyeabolical Ela Rae Lace Merino Mimi Lotus Yarns Mink Grignasco Knits Kid Seta Grignasco Knits MerinoSilk Imperial Yarn Native Twist Splatter Dash 014 Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled KFI Luxury Silk Madeline Tosh Tosh Sock Manos Del Uruguay Alegria Splatter Dash 002 Trekking XXL

So yeah. Now I have 31.7 miles.

Eh. I'm okay with that.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Last week, Dan & I were in the Midwest, visiting his family for Christmas. It was a good trip, but I'm not going to lie: I'm happy to be home with the kitties. I missed them a lot. (Poor Emmett is still so new he squeaks and we were worried about how he'd take us up and disappearing. (The answer is: freak out, hide from the pet sitters and be scared of us when we came back before (eventually) deciding to be a massive love Emmett. He woke me up at absurd o'clock this morning purring incredibly loudly, tromping all over my head and shoving his head violently (and repeatedly) into my hand).) The kitties are happy that we are back, too. (Gidget has stuck to my side since we've gotten home like she's afraid I'm going to leave again. She is currently using my wrist is a pillow. Not helpful while typing.)i

Anyway, while it turned out nice, the trip didn't start out all that great. This was what we ran into in Oklahoma:


Oklahoma is not normally that white and ice-covered. (Though it is normally that boring.) Of course, after the ice and snow started, the roadtrip became even less stellar as we (Dan) got a speeding ticket. 69 in a 55. Oops.

But then things got better because were got to where we were going (without additional snow or speeding tickets) and got to visit with family and do Christmas-y type things. (There might have been a yarn-buying trip or two in there, too, which I'll get to in a later post.) Aside from normal family-visiting-type things, we did have a bit of touristy fun. We went to the Missouri Botanical Garden's Garden Glow.

Garden Glow
Garden Glow
Garden Glow
Garden Glow
Garden Glow

It was massively crowded and quite chilly, but very pretty. And I enjoyed it even more because it resulted in a picture of Dan and me that looks like it was shot on a bad 70s background.

Garden Glow

That picture amuses me greatly.

And speaking of amusing, we ran across this somewhere in Oklahoma.


Hot Mama Pickle-in-a-Pouch. And even more amusingly, the part of the pouch that is covered by the box? It says "Sassy Pickle". Yep. Just what everyone needs when dealing with the boringness of Oklahoma. A Sassy Hot Mama pickle. Yum.

Dan Socks

Dan now has a second pair of knit socks! These were his (slightly belated) Christmas gift.

Not Argyle Socks

They are the first pair of socks I've made without a pattern, so I'm quite pleased with how they came out. If I were to do them again, I'd probably change the chart up a bit to make the pattern pop more, but overall I'm happy. Especially since Dan likes them and that's kind of the point, isn't it?

And, lucky him, I'm working on another pair of socks right now that will also go to him. (Birthday present maybe?)

(And yes, I still have a sweater to finish. I just need to put on buttons and sew the button band flat. It's on my list!)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Emmy & Ollie

Emmett and Olive are becoming quite the little friends. Most of the time their interaction is play-fighting, but recently Olive has started licking on the other kitties, particularly Emmett. Of course, their grooming sessions seems to devolve into roughhousing, too, but I think they enjoy it. And they are really cute.

Olive & EmmettOlive & Emmett
Olive & Emmett
Olive & Emmett
Olive & Emmett

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I Might Have a Problem

Out of curiosity, tonight I figured out how much yarn I have. And the answer?

28.1 miles.

I'm not sure if that's good or bad. 28 miles. I mean, that's more than a marathon's worth of yarn. But it's actually on the low end for a lot of what I've seen on Ravelry. (I've seen as little as 5 miles and as many as 120 miles but around 60 seems normal.) But yeah. More than a marathon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Vet Visit

Crazy big vet visit today - 5 kitties went! It was originally supposed to be four, but things happened.

Here's the news on everyone:
Cocoa: Healthy but about a pound overweight (she's 14lbs).
Chloe: Some mild dental disease so she needs a cleaning but the lump in her neck that we saw the vet for turned out to be a sebaceous cyst so yay!
Emmett: Just had a booster shot but he managed to climb up behind the moving exam table (the one they use for big dogs) and wedge himself between it and the wall. He's special.
Happy: Even with the supplement she's been taking, her potassium levels are still low. They are going to see if there is anything else they can really do or if this is just how her renal disease will go.
Gidget: She wasn't originally supposed to go to the vet today, but when she hopped up on the counter for brushing this morning, I saw that her back end had exploded. This has happened to Happy before so as much as it freaks me out (cause it looks icky) I kind of feel that this is old hat. She's been cleaned out and gotten an antibiotic and is now in the cone of shame. Other than looking silly or icky (depending on which end you are viewing from) she's in good spirits.

As for the two that didn't go:
Bitty: She's not 100% on board with the new kitties yet, but then she talks smack under normal circumstances so it's not that different from normal. She's not overly thrilled when Olive tries to chase her, though. Still a lovey, grumpy girl (that has a meow like she smokes three packs a day).
Olive: Still a tiny bit people shy, she's making great strides. She even cuddled with Dan in his chair for almost half of The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers (which is a really long movie) so I'm a bit jealous of that but hope it's the start of the cuddle-Olive.

And there we go. Kitty updates! Hopefully we won't have any more vet trips for a while. Our kitties are worth it, but dang are they expensive!

Friday, November 29, 2013

RIP Little Octopus

Like all kitties, Emmett has a favorite toy. Or should I say had? Because apparently, he destroys the things he loves.

Dead Octopus

Of course, it didn't help that the octopus happened to be Olive's favorite toy, too. While Emmett would carry it around everywhere and pull at the little top tuft, Olive liked to try to pull the legs off and then groom the top puff. So it wasn't exactly in pristine condition when Emmett got his mitts on it.

But yeah, we're gonna need another octopus. Hopefully we'll be able to find one, but while we search I've trimmed the puff down so it is just legs now. Not near as cute, but Emmett is tossing it around as I type (and ouch! just slammed his head into a cabinet while playing with it - he's pretty clumsy for a cat) so hopefully we have some time before the octopus is totally unusable.

I think the next step of destruction will be when we start finding legs scattered through the house.

Monday, November 25, 2013

He's a Keeper!

Just a little kitty update. Emmett is officially a Zimmermann now!


He and Olive have been getting along so we decided, yes, he is perfect Olive-entertainment and thus gets to stay. Because when they play together, it means that Olive is not harassing Gidget (and the other kitties, too, but she bothered Gidget the most), which means Gidget is not grumpy before bed (because Olive loves playing right before bedtime) so Gidget is back to cuddling at night. This makes me happy.

Added bonus: Olive has seemed to even out mood-wise thanks to the added Emmett. She's still a bit people-shy (we attribute that to a physically-not-nice former owner) so having the new kitty excitement split between her and Emmett seems to have eliminated the times where she would hide under the couch.

Camped Out

Also, her manic periods seem to be gone, too, likely because she has a willing partner in playtime to tire her out. She isn't quite as lap-cuddle-friendly as our more established kitties are, but she's showing some signs of growing in to it.

There has been one little kink in our plan for a calmer house, though: Emmett's bedtime cuddling. Which sounds great - because kitty cuddles are awesome - except for the fact that if anyone touches Emmett during the night in any way that might be considered a pet, he starts purring. And he is loud. Seriously. He wakes me up purring and I sleep with earplugs in. And once the purring starts going, he starts tromping around the bed, sticking his little nose under hands to demand pets. It's magnificently cute, though I might encourage it more if it didn't happen at 3am.


Regardless, Emmett gets to stay, Olive has a friend and we now have seven cats again. Honestly, things with these seven are calmer than when we had just six!

Friday, November 22, 2013


I seamed my sweater!

Sweater! (Ish)

I still have to do the hem, button band and something to do for the cuffs, but it looks much more sweater-like than it has before today. And it even fits! Yay! I do hope I can block out the waist shaping just a tad as it is a bit extreme. Right now it would look great when buttoned but pokes out a little when open. But I'm not too worried about it. I think this will turn out great!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Knitting Updates

I have officially stalled on all of my knitting. I have three projects going and I just haven't been working on any of them. I've been tired lately so I tend to just want to curl up and read instead of knitting (or doing housework). But I'm determined to get more sleep so hopefully that will help.

One of my outstanding projects, I have no reason to have incomplete. It's just a freaking dishcloth. I frogged an old dishcloth because it wasn't square and that bothered me the more I washed it (since I couldn't stretch it square as easily). I'm using that yarn to make another on-the-bias dishcloth since I really like those. It's a project that should only take a few hours of actual knitting. But when it just sits there for ages? It takes much longer.

My second project is my tentacles must-be-seamed sweater. Since I blocked it, it no longer looks like something that will one day be a striped octopus. Instead, it looks impending-sweater-ish. But it's just been sitting there, ready to be put together. Staring at me. Making me feel guilty. For weeks. Sigh.

But today I actually pulled myself away from random reading in order to knit! Or, in this case, seam. Yes, today I started putting the sweater together. Currently, I have the shoulder seams done connecting the front and back pieces and one arm seamed at the shoulder and on one side. It's taking a lot longer than I anticipated but it's looking pretty good! Hopefully I can get the seaming done in the next day or two (maybe even today if there is a hockey game tonight) and then work on the hems and button band.

My last neglected knitting project is a pair of socks for Dan.

Sock In Training

Well, currently it is really just "sock for Dan" as I only have one started. It's getting pretty close to done so that's exciting. I have a little over an inch of the leg done so I need at least another four in pattern and then ribbing. And then a whole other sock.

So yeah, as exciting as my progress on that is, even finishing the sock will only get me half way through the project. Of course, I won't get to that point until I actually work on the current sock, but details, details! Dan totally deserves another pair of hand knit socks so I'm gonna get them done! I'm thinking they might be his Christmas present - much longer than a pair of socks should actually take but at least they won't take as long as my sweater. (Please don't let those be famous last words!)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Test Driving a Playmate

Please meet our newest insanity:


This is Emmett, a 7-month old kitty that Dan & I (tentatively) adopted through the vet yesterday. The idea is that he will be a playmate for Olive so she stops harassing the heck out of our other (slower, less energetic, geriatric) kitties. We ended up doing the same thing way back when we first got married - we had gotten 6-month old Nibby who harassed the dickens out of then 10-year-old Ashes. A few months later we brought Chloe home and the two of them ended up pretty inseparable, leaving Ashes alone to nap in the sun. We hope the same thing will happen here.

But, just in case it doesn't, we have Emmett for a two week trial run. Since this is a bit faster than our normal acclimation schedule, we've moved things up and Emmett is currently out-and-abouting (supervised) in the general pop. Well, theoretically. He takes forays outside of his room but currently is hiding in the litter cabinet, watching the world go by. Most of the kitties are either avoiding him or stalking him when they see him wandering around. Except for Olive. Olive likes to stalk him at all times and will stare at him while smack talking in chatters and hisses. She's swatted lightly at him a couple of times, too, but not in an aggressive way. (Though I had them both playing with a ribbon earlier and a couple of times she forgot she was supposed to hiss at him.) I think she's just trying to work out who is dominant. Emmett seems happy to be the one to back down so as soon as Olive clues in to this, I think they will settle the hierarchy without any real fussing.

Hopefully this works out because Emmett is a complete doll. He's amazingly soft (an admin at the vet's office referred to his "mink coat") and has the loudest purr motor I think I've ever heard. He's lovey and sweet and apparently learned at the vet that if you are squatting down and he reaches up to pat your chest, you will pick him up. Total doll.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tentacle Sweater

I've been working on my latest sweater since June and I am finally done. Sort of.


Yeah, that's the sweater. Not really done but at least the only thing left to knit is the button band and hem (which I'm probably going to do at the bottom and on the sleeves). Of course, I have to seam all the pieces together, too, since it looks a bit like I made tentacles instead of a sweater. But considering how boring this has been to knit (since knitting just creates pieces, not something wearable), I'm pleased as punch to be so close to complete.

By the way, those sleeves? Knitting both sleeves at the same time, each stripe took about an hour an a half. There are thirteen stripes. So yes, that means the sleeves took me over 18 hours to knit. Thank goodness I didn't track the back or front panels. (Nor will I keep track of how long it taste to seam and finish. Nope. Not gonna do it.)

Also, it looks like I'm going to have a decent amount of yarn left. I'm starting to think I need to make some stash busting socks to make my way through all leftovers I have from my various projects. Maybe after I (start and) finish Dan's socks, which is my next planned project.

Honestly, after this? I'm looking forward to socks!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Crazy Talk

Well, it is officially fall. Our heat kicked on for the first time a few night ago and, even though the high is near 80°F today, I'm going to say that the cold has officially begun.

I think we've sort of stagnated in getting our house all fixed up. The few remaining boxes are still remaining, our garage is still a jumbled & unorganized mess, we have paint picked out for at least two rooms that we just haven't gotten around to buying (much less actually using), and the third bedroom looks like we are in the beginning stages of an audition for Hoarders. But we've been so busy lately. This weekend was the first weekend in six or more weeks that we didn't go anywhere. Crazy!

That's not to say we weren't at least a little busy, though. We did some major renovation of the front bed - dug up the flowers and bushes we didn't want (or that were dead), pulled all the weeds, turned over the dirt and, drumroll please, planted the irises! Finally! I have irises from our old house (that I'll need to tag & mark next spring so I know which type they are), some hopefully bronze ones from my parents' old house, some purple ones from someone in our new neighborhood and four special ones that I bought from Clark Gardens last spring. Hopefully they all do great in the front bed and next year I'll be able to mark them, dig them up, separate them by color and plant them in the back yard.

Speaking of back yards, ours is in semi-bloom right now. We have some lovely fall wildflowers, most of which I have no idea what they are. Besides pretty, that is. I took a decent number of pictures this morning and uploaded about 20 of them. Don't worry, I won't post all of them on my blog, but they are on my Flickr page (link in the sidebar 'cause I'm lazy), just in case you end up bored and need to kill time on the internet. Here are my favorites, though.


Yep, all that is in our back yard! I'm still kind of floored with how large our yard is. And that it has wildflowers! (Speaking of which, drop me a line if you know what the flowers are! I'm looking at you, Pop!)

In other backyard news, we had our first meeting with a pool company! Whee! We have another one set up for tomorrow and have one more company we want to talk to, but so far they haven't called us back. So we might end up talking to a different company because I'm totally not going to chase someone down and beg them to take my money, you know? But yeah, pool planning is happening! We should get the first company's plan (and price estimate!) Friday. We already know one thing: we will spend a big chunk of change on the fence. Like, not quite pool-sized but, depending on the choices we make, big enough that it could be in wading pool territory. For real. It's crazy. Or maybe it's not so crazy and I'm just not used to spending the big bucks. I think there is still a big part of me that is that college student who thought that having three grand in the bank was amazing.

Now, that college girl couldn't even buy a fence!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Two Things

I learned two things today:

1) Never put jalapeƱo seeds down the garbage disposal (unless you want to napalm your sinuses the about two nanoseconds after you turn the disposal on) and

2) Gidget is a shameless rule breaker.

Bad Kitty

(Kitties are not allowed on the table. However the first time I saw her up there, I yelled at her to get down and she just flicked her ears at me. Agog at (and somewhat admiring of) her boldness, I took a picture to show Dan the blatant rule-breaking, then removed her from the table.

The second time, I removed her and put her in a more kitty-appropriate window-gazing spot.

The third time, I was finally loud enough that I might have gotten through to her - she actually got down off the table quite rapidly.

Of course, those three times were within 15 minutes and I was in the kitchen - about ten feet away - each time she got up there. No shame. None. At least the other kitties wait until I'm in a different part of the house before getting on the table or counters.)