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Category: cats

A Stone, A Tree, A Memory

When I was fourteen, I went to live with my father in Scotland for a month.  He had been stationed there for some time, but this was my first trip to Europe.  I was beyond excited to finally go to a country that I had romanticized since birth.

Being a moody fourteen year old that was prone to poetry and rambling walks, I often rose while the mist was still burning off of the lanes of the tiny village where we lived.  I would walk down to the river, through a graveyard littered with historical signs boasting about the medieval round tower on the church.  At the river, I had ducks for friends.

I was only visiting.  I didn’t know a soul in town.  And it was a small enough place that a month wasn’t nearly enough time to get to know anyone new.  And so I would walk and visit with the ducks and watch the other people, as they walked their dogs and played with their children.  It was lonely, but it was a very peaceful loneliness.

I have been thinking about that place a lot and wishing to visit it again, even though I suspect that it would not at all be the same to return there with the knowledge of an adult.  But metaphorically, my heart is there because, unbelievably, I put my other cat to sleep two weeks ago.

No, not the one I just blogged about at the end of March.  The one that survived her, my beloved, wonderful tabby Nevyn, who has been my constant friend for the last 20 years.  Nevyn of the sweet and fearless personality, who was once held for ransom (I paid!) and prone to wandering into the arms of strangers and making them fall in love with him.

So here I am again, writing a post that I have no heart to write, because I don’t really know how to be an adult without him there in my life.  I have never had to do it before.  We have been together that long.  Now, I dread walking into my house, particularly when no one is home.  For the first time, the house has no life on the floorboards, no soft feet pattering around behind me.

An 18 year old lover.

No one cares about you like your cat does.

It has been hard.  Perhaps it has been harder than it should be.  It’s been two weeks since I took him to be put to sleep because it’s taken this long to be able to look at the pain of losing my cats with any kind of insight or eloquence.  There’s a distance needed before words can form.  I’m not sure I’m there yet, but it’s a little closer today than it was yesterday.

Although it is brutal to lose two animals so close together, it is comforting to know that they weren’t without each other for very long.  They had been together for 18 years and I am certain that Nevyn felt all of the grief that I did when Morghan died.  His illness – kidney disease – began to progress more rapidly.  Suddenly, the cat that everyone exclaimed over as being unbelievably young for his age became an old man.  He spent more and more time napping on the couch and lost most of his interest in going outside.  He absolutely refused to stay upstairs, which is where Morghan had slept until her final illness made moving her closer to the litter box a necessity.  When I carried him up the stairs, he immediately ran back down them, in a burst of energy that was becoming rarer and rarer.

Nevyn Sleeping on Morghan, February 2017

I’ll never know if taking him to be put to sleep was what he wanted.  I’m told that it was the right decision by everyone who saw him in those last few days, but I can’t help but agonize over it.  The vet told me he might have had a few more weeks, if we tried to keep him going.  I know they would have been lonely.

But I miss them both terribly.  I know that there will be other pets in my life down the road, but right now it feels like I’ll never love again the way that I loved these two.  In some ways, it is like a first heartbreak, before experience makes you put your guard up the next time you fall in love.  You can never again not know how much loss hurts.  They weren’t the first cats that I’ve lost to time, but they are the first cats that I raised myself.  I paid the bill when Morghan was spayed.  I took them every year for shots and check-ups.  I worried for them when they were sick and I held them when they needed to be held.   And now they’re somewhere else, in a place where I cannot hold them any more.  I cannot protect them, which was my job for so long.  It feels like failure.

The Remembering Tree

All I can do for them now is remember them.  I brought them both home and put them in our front yard, wrapped in blankets and lying side by side under the Japanese maple, just as they were always doing for all of those years that we were all together.

Now they return to the earth.  And, somehow, the rest of us go on, drinking coffee and walking to the train, sitting in the office and doing what we always did for all of those years.  Squirrels run up and down their tree, looking for lost nuts in the mulch that covers their graves.  Songbirds — cardinals and robins and sparrows and starlings – fill the air in the garden over their bodies.  And I walk past the final resting place of my kids each morning as I emerge again out into the world.

 

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Cancer Sucks: A Goodbye

I had a dream the other night about a woman who was coming after my family.  She was long haired and thin and she kept knocking on the door to our house, which kept opening, over and over and over.  I tried relentlessly, but I was powerless to stop her as she walked in and she would touched my family, wrapping her long fingernails around the face of a child that I was supposed to protect.  I was so afraid of her, because I knew that that this woman was a murderer — and try as hard as I might, I could not keep her out of my house.

I woke up, in the guest bedroom, terrified and shaking.  It took me a moment to remember where I was, as I’ve only slept there once or twice.  Each time was so that I could sleep with my younger cat, who has been very, very sick.

And that was when I realized that the woman in the dream was cancer, coming after my family again, so relentlessly.  It has been less than a year since I lost my young uncle and my brother-in-law to different forms of cancer.  And last week, on St. Patrick’s Day, our vet told me that my cat Morghan had it too.

It could be cancer or a polyp, he said.  And since she’s 18 years old, he said, we’re not going to do surgery to remove the tumor in her bladder.

No, I agreed.  We all know that I’ve been lucky to have her in my life this long.

So you have two choices, he said, you can manage her pain or we can talk about euthanasia.

Ah.

My beautiful Morghan.

I opted for pain management, though I know I will spend many hours wondering if that was selfish.  When I picked her up from her day of examinations, the vet who met me asked me if I had any questions as he explained the regimen of pills.  I know she’s terminal, I said.  I know that.  But how do I know when it’s time…?

Oh, you’ll know when, he said.

This last week has been a hard one, as I woke every morning to check on Morghan and see if the tumor had done terrible things to her in the night.  It hadn’t, and since she was still active enough to chase me around the house just waiting for me to sit down, I tried to convince myself that she would be okay, for a while at least.  Then she stopped eating. When I took her back for her check-up a week later, she had lost a full pound, which she didn’t have to lose in the first place.  When the vet tech weighed her in at six pounds, I cried again, because I had told myself that if she’d lost weight, then I’d really know that it was time.  I took her and her anti-nausea medicine home with me, but I still could not get her to eat.

When had come.

Eighteen years is a long time to share your life with someone.  I have no one in my life who has been there as long and as constantly, as steadily there for me as my two cats.  The wonderful thing about a pet is that there’s no judgement; no matter how terrible your day was or what terrible mistakes you made, your cat just loves you.  She has been there for my entire adult life, ever since I took her home as an 18-year-old to my first apartment.  She fit in my hand that day, a tiny little creature that had been dumped in a parking lot, weeks before she should have been separated from her mother.  I taught her how to bathe, to some extent, and spent hours and hours detangling her fur and picking out knots.  She was never very good at being a cat — she never caught a thing in her life — but she was a wonderful companion and friend.  She came with me when I moved around and then, finally, to New York. I cried in her fur at every terrible break-up I went through.  No matter what the problem was, coming home to pick her up comforted me, because I clearly mattered so much to her.  Her quiet purr, broken and nearly silent at the best of times, was always there.

I have never had to put a cat to sleep before.  I’ve dreaded the idea of having to make that decision for years now, hoping that Morghan would pass the way my fifteen year old cat Mushu did right after Hurricane Sandy.  My Beloved discovered Mushu outside, looking  as surprised as a cat can.  We presumed it was a heart attack and buried her under a pear tree in the yard, comforted knowing that her last moments were brief and out of doors.  Selfishly, I appreciated that I did not have to choose when, that that decision had been made for me.

But not for Morghan.  I said goodbye to Morghan in the car outside of the veterinary office.  I had let her roam free in the car on the drive over, which she took full advantage of, peering out the window and making me wonder if I was making up how sick she was.  But then I held her bony body, which had once been three times the size that she was on Saturday, and I could no longer deny that it was time.  I thanked her and kissed her and cried some more, in the quiet space of the car.  Then we went inside, where the staff were quick to usher us into a room.

Still, Morghan shook in fear, the tremors running down her thin shoulders.  I put her in my lap so that she could put her face in my elbow, which has always calmed her down.  Don’t be afraid, I said, petting her thick fur and desperately wishing that I believed in some sort of afterlife.  Please, love, just don’t be afraid.

When the vet gave Morghan the anaesthesia that knocked her unconscious, I was holding her against my body.  I felt her muscles relax as she crumpled against me, falling down onto the soft yellow blanket that I had insisted on.  I gently caught her and laid her down, pulling her tail out from under her and settling her legs into a more comfortable position.

Don’t be afraid, I said.  Please, don’t be afraid.

As the vet released a vial of bubble gum pink barbiturates into Morghan’s leg, I put my hands on her, holding as much of her as I could.  She did not twitch or shudder and, after a moment, the vet put her stethoscope up to Morghan’s thin chest and told me that she was gone.  My sweet girl had gone completely still, but her body was still warm and it didn’t seem like it could be true.  I tried to close her eyes, but I couldn’t, and that’s when I knew.

Morghan and Mushu, a lifetime ago

I brought her body home, keeping a hand on the box she was in for the entire drive.  I left her body in the car while we put Baba to bed for the night, and then my Beloved dug a hole in the front yard underneath the Japanese maple tree that made me fall in love with this house we bought.  We put her in it, placing her carefully, since when my last cat passes, it will become a double grave.

And so I carry on, holding my sweet girl in my heart, since I can no longer hold her in my hand.  When I walk to and from my door, I look at her grave and I am comforted that she is home.

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Gunshot Confessions

In 1992, my mother really liked Denzel Washington.

Like, really really liked him.  She liked him enough that when a movie studio was recruiting for extras for a scene in The Pelican Brief, she signed herself right up.  To our great amusement, she was assigned to be in a crowd protesting gun control.

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I can’t quite tell, but I’m pretty sure that the lady in the lower right corner with the blue and yellow shirt is my Mom.  Denzel Washington ran through this crowd.  My Mom was only a few feet away, which absolutely made her month.

 

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This is not my Mom, despite our obvious hair   kinship.  You and me, Julia.  You and me.

 

The scene was funny, of course, because my Mom was absolutely for gun control, long before it was an acceptable thing to say out loud.  She was an Army veteran, raised in a county so rural that one of her chores was riding her bike to the farm next door to pick up milk bottles for her family.  She knew a little bit about guns and counted the time she had to throw a grenade in basic training as the absolutely most frightening moment of her life.  She certainly didn’t see a reason why just anyone should have access to weapons.

No doubt, her experiences as a special education teacher in inner city D.C. contributed to her feelings.  She specialized in teaching emotionally disturbed children.  These are the kids who had been kicked out of all of the other schools, but still needed an education.  Given their behavior problems, it likely won’t surprise you to hear that their home lives were not the greatest.  Many of the children had been abused.  All of them had parents trapped in poverty and plenty of her students had parents in jail.  Some of her students, by the age of twelve, thought of jail as a place where you could go to get three solid meals a day.  I can’t remember exactly how many funerals for her students that she went to during her years in the city, but it was far, far too many.  Guns were a big part of all of that.

It was also the nineties, when D.C. was commonly referred to as the murder capitol.  I remember joking about that with my friends, as though we were somehow tougher because we were living in such a dangerous environment. The summer of 1994 really sticks out in my memory, because it began with a Romeo-and-Juliet style suicide between two twelve-year-olds that were forbidden to see each other.  After that, it seemed as though there was a drive-by shooting at least once a week.  It was the first time we’d heard the phrase road rage, where people were so angry at being cut off in traffic that they were pulling out their guns and shooting people.  To this day, I still cringe whenever my Beloved loses his temper and shouts out the window at other drivers, because I presume that they will have a gun.  It was that frightening to live through.

Right before I left D.C. for New York, the tri-state area was brought to its knees by a 17 year old with a rifle.  Just reading through the Wikipedia article now, fourteen years later, leaves my heart pounding in my chest.  The list of shootings read like a geography of my childhood.  The first shot, through the window of a Michael’s store, is the store I used to walk to as a kid.  I spent hours there, looking at all the craft items that I wanted to try but could not afford.  Two of the victims were murdered on the streets where I grew up.  Another was shot only a block and a half from where I was attending college at the time in Virginia.  The management of the apartment complex that I lived in sent out a memo to the residents, urging extreme caution as we went about the neighborhood and recommending limiting our time outdoors.  I remember people volunteering to pump gas wearing bulletproof vests, because folks were that scared.  One morning I was over two hours late for work, because the police had stopped the eight-lane Beltway and were investigating every single car in their desperation to find the killer.  When we learned that it was a teenager pulling the trigger, it was simply impossible to process.  That is how a single gun ended sixteen lives and brought an entire city to its knees.

When another murderer walked into Pulse in Orlando last week, I was on a plane home from Ireland, where I’d just spent a week trying to answer the question of why Americans are so in love with their guns, because Irish people simply don’t understand it.  Irish law is very restrictive with guns, while still allowing some shotguns for hunting.  Most knives will get you in trouble, if you don’t have a really good explanation for having it, so the idea that we can walk in to a store and buy a gun that’s advertised to be able to shoot 13 bullets a second is simply incomprehensible to them.  (I have since learned that pragmatically your finger really couldn’t fire 13 times a second, so the real rate would be more like 3 bullets a second.  I remain in awe that this is what we’re talking about.)

I have watched the public mourning of the Pulse attack with no small amount of sadness, but mostly I have watched it with a deep and intense anger.  Is it any surprise that we’ve had another shooting on this scale?  Is it any surprise that eventually it would target LGBT folks, given a political climate where anti-trans bathroom bills are not only voted on, but actually passed?  The mourning is proper. It is good.  This is a national tragedy.  It should be mourned loudly and publicly.  But what bothers me most is that in the last 72 hours, as I write this, 56 people have been killed by guns, per the Gun Violence Archive, which syndicates and counts reported incidents of gun violence in the media.  Over 6,000 people have died so far this year.  1,200 teenagers have been injured or killed, as have 262 children under the age of 11.  148 police officers have also lost their lives.

And it’s only June.

Where is the outrage?  Where is the mourning?

We are in the middle of a rise in gun violence across this country.  According to a recent DOJ study, homicide rates have jumped 17% in the nation’s 56 biggest cities.  In my home town, after a decade of falling crime rates that almost created a sense of normalcy, violent crime has increased every year since 2011.  That’s the just the crime rate.  It doesn’t count suicides or accidents.  Reported accidents accounted for nearly 2,000 incidents nationally last year. In April, one of those accidents injured two people right on the same floor of the same building as the pediatric office where I take Baba.  Because, apparently, responsible gun ownership means bringing your gun into the same building as a pediatrician’s office.  In talking to gun owners, I’ve heard a lot more stories about accidental discharges that weren’t reported.  Accidental, that is, if you get over the intentionality of having a gun in your hands in the first place.

Forgive me if that sounds bitter.  I am bitter.  I am bitter because I’ve been watching people shrug their shoulders at gun violence for my entire life, as if it is some kind of natural force that we can do nothing about.  It is not a hurricane or cancer, which, as it happens, are problems that we spend millions of dollars each year to address.  It is a problem entirely of our own making.

And the worst part, of course, is that our Congress has enacted legislation to prohibit gun violence from even being studied.  I laugh when I hear people talk about Hilary Clinton’s terrible complicity and corruption in giving speeches to Goldman Sachs, because that seems so trivial compared to such an outrageous law.  Why aren’t we marching in the street and screaming about the incredible pull the NRA has on our politicians? It is literally killing our kids.

I am not a gun owner, nor will I ever allow guns to come into my home.  You can undoubtedly tell me a million ways in which my understanding about guns is wrong.  I know this, because I’ve been talking to gun owners endlessly to try to come up with some sort of meaningful change that would actually work.  But without the ability to even study the problem, we are all making wild guesses at to what would actually help.  Ban assault rifles?  Sure.  It seems like a reasonable step.  Limit the number of bullets you can put in it at a time to ten?  Sure.  That would give the victims of mass shootings a greater opportunity to overpower their attacker.  It just doesn’t address the bigger problem, where over 31,000 Americans are shot in an average year.   A national database for background checks would have saved the eight lives in Charleston.  National gun laws, rather than the regional hodge-podge that makes the stricter laws completely useless would also be a great step.  D.C. has a handgun ban, after all, which means nothing when you can drive 10 miles in any direction and legally purchase one, then drive it right back over the border and into your home.

Even just instituting licensing and training, like we do with driving, would be a huge step in the right direction.  And that’s something that most of the gun owners that I’ve spoken to can get completely behind.  I know that I live in a democracy, and that compromise is the name of the game.  That has to come from both sides.  We seem to be stuck on the first step, which as any addict could tell you is recognizing that we even have a problem.  When you start looking at how we compare to other countries, I don’t see how you can possibly deny it.

And maybe, when we’ve actually managed to get fewer guns on our streets, NYPD recruitment posters won’t have to look like this one any more:

 

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I passed 19 guns on my commute this morning. The NYPD had the biggest ones…just in case that’s your thing.  (If you don’t recognize the location, that’s Grand Central Station that they’re posing in with their guns and their terribly fashionable pants.)

 

There’s just got to be a better way than this. Doesn’t there?

It seems that we may never know, as the Senate voted down four proposed reforms just last night.

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Goodbye to a friend

I’ve been procrastinating writing here because my last post was about the death of pets and the only blog I can write now is about the death of another. Last Tuesday, we came home to discover that Mushu, my fourteen year old cat, had passed away sometime during the day. Himself found her outside by the side of the house, where it looked like it was sudden and that she had fallen from a standing position. Not being a doctor, I’m guessing it was a heart attack or stroke, but we’ll never know for sure.

Losing a cat is, of course, a bigger deal than losing fish, and I have been very sad for the last week. This is one of the most horrible months that I’ve lived through in a long time, but Mushu’s death sort of takes the cake.

She was old and it was her time and she didn’t suffer, which is precisely the death I would have wished for her, but all the same, I miss her incessant meow and companionship. She had more than her fair share of quirks and was often difficult to live with, but I raised her from a wee thing and I miss her. Having only two cats feels strange on a number of levels. I keep waiting for her tiny body to jump up on my desk or chair next to me, to feel the indent in the blankets as she would jump to stay by my feet and keep watch over me.

She was a beautiful cat, with midnight fur that shone brown when she sat in the sunlight. When she was little, we called her a dragon because every fall, she’d grow two puffs of gray fur behind her ears. I can only hope that we did well by her. We buried her beneath the pear tree, so that she is still with us.

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The Missing

One of the great joys in my life is cohabitation with a very particular animal.  Nearly three foot long from yellow eyes to rump, with a classic tabby coat and  a lanky and expressive tail that often crooks at the tip like a question mark, Nevyn has now graced my doorstep for the better part of sixteen years. I first met him as an eight-month-old kitten and was still in his original home at the parents’ of a friend.  His enthusiasm for life had already made him unwelcome; his war on every standing lamp and glass of water clashed rather specifically with the sort of established order that that household preferred to operate by.  When my friend moved out, the cat came with.  Gratis.

Soon my friend and I lived together, so I witnessed Nevyn’s adolescent growth spurt and his eventual maturity that dictated that lamps may stand, but glasses of water were improved by tipping over.  This was the era in which we discovered that push handles on doors are not cat proof and that while he desperately wanted to be an outdoor cat, he had no idea what to do once he achieved it.  We learned to be more circumspect about our beverages.  Nevyn eventually learned that drinks on certain surfaces were not actually his. We moved into an apartment with circular doorknobs and a lobby shaped rather like a cat trap. It had taken a few years, but detente had been achieved. My friend went on adventures and when he did, the cat stayed with me.  Over the years, Nevyn has not only infiltrated every crevice of my heart, but he’s also made himself known to all of my neighbors.  He has a curiosity and a friendliness that has lead him to coming home on more than one occasion smelling like cheap perfume.  He is rarely too busy to crawl in your lap on a bad day, or rub his face against yours (or anyone’s, really).

So you may well imagine my terror on the day he got out of the house without his collar and didn’t return for dinner.  This is not entirely unprecedented, but it was rare enough to worry.  An opportunist, he has been known to climb in windows and go through open doors to total strangers.  My neighbors all know him well enough that he occasionally sticks around for an extended visit.  I figured he’d be home by morning.  He wasn’t.  I figured he’d be home by evening.  He wasn’t.  I printed up flyers to avoid despair and began posting them around the neighborhood.  I searched the streets for a small gray body.  I found nothing.  I wondered if he’d wandered off to die, but as my most recent memory was of him head-butting the closed cat flap door rather enthusiastically, this seemed unlikely.

On Saturday, I took my flyers to every veterinarian, groomer, church and train station anywhere near our house.  I walked the streets and put up flyers on every electrical pole within a mile radius.    Exhausted and despairing, I finally posted to my closest friends on Facebook (I believe these are called, in real life, actual friends) and asked for advice as to what else I could do to try and find him, or even what had happened to him.

“Have you tried Craigslist?” my far away cousin suggested.  “I’ve rediscovered my cat a few times through Craigslist.”

In my mind, Craigslist was that weird place where people who were looking for casual hookups went to, well, hook up.  I’d used it occasionally to buy things that would have been prohibitive to ship, but I’d never really spent much time on it.  Even the main page is overwhelming, with so many categories shoved together that it’s hard to know where to even start looking.  I knew, intellectually anyway, that people went there to find jobs and places to live, but I’d never used those services myself.  It had never occurred to me that one might find one’s lost pet there. But, there he was.  I didn’t realize it at first and I posted my ad with a large picture of my lanky friend.  Within an hour, I had two e-mails from people who wanted to make certain that I’d seen the ad of someone who had found a large gray cat in my immediate neighborhood.  It had been posted two days earlier.  I couldn’t possibly have replied to it faster.

And then I waited.  I waited in front of my computer for nine hours, wanting to see the return email the second it came in.  He’d been gone for two days already and I was frantic to get him home.  No reply came.  Distressed but hopeful, now that I knew that he was alive and nearby, I went to bed, certain I’d wake up to an e-mail in the morning. I didn’t.  I sat vigil in front of my computer for another twelve hours and still had nothing.  I took to the streets and started ringing doorbells, which was when I made two delightful discoveries.

The first, is that there’s a herd of feral cats living in my town.  The second, that there’s a collaboration of people who go out of their way to take care of them, to trap them, to get them neutered and to feed them.  I’ve received calls from so many people who just wanted to know if he’s home.

Three days later, in the middle of the night, the person who posted the ad finally called me.  She had gone away for the long weekend and hadn’t been checking her e-mail.  Argh.  She lived in a few towns away and she’d picked Nevyn up off of our block and taken him to a veterinarian local to her and submitted him as a stray.  I was furious, but Nevyn was safe.  We were reunited in the morning (and he was reunited with his collar) and despite being shaken at having spent four days in a cage, he’s returning to his old self.  He was chipped and given a rabies shot by the fine folks at the veterinarians who took care of him.  I went online and registered his RFID tag to my name and number, so now I know that if he gets picked up by another “helpful” soul, he’ll get back to me with less drama.  I’ve learned a few things from the experience.  For one, I’m codependent on my cat.  I’m not certain this is a complimentary quality.  Also, I have the kindest and best-hearted neighbors.  And for a third, someone needs to invent glue that can keep a collar on a cat.

My cat has now become part of the technical revolution, not just because you can scan him like a can of peaches, but because we would have been parted forever if it hadn’t been for social media.  So thank you Craig, whoever you are.  If it weren’t for you, my family would have been broken forever.

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Unabashed knitting and spinning post. And a cat.

Now that I’ve started spinning, it’s a lot harder to have a generic “this is what’s on the needles” post, since I now also have to include what’s on the bobbin. I am still very much a beginning spinner, so my spinning tends to sound a like like:

“Spin, squeak of wheel, spin, spin, spin, SQUEEEEAAAAK, whoosh!, @#$@@”

For those of you that are not spinners, let me translate. What is happening is that I’ll get into a spinning zen and the spinning will be going along. However, I only know how to spin one thickness, which is Very Thin Indeed, so inevitably I’ll reach a point in the fiber I’m spinning where I’ve spread it out too thin and the yarn I’m spinning will actually break. At this point, the flying maiden, which is the part of the wheel that feeds the yarn to the bobbin will make a joyous leap for freedom, snatching my yarn straight out of my fingers. And then the spinning stops while I fix this. Repeat.

Currently, I consider success the slow extension of the duration of time between these moments of high spinning drama, which are getting longer. Here’s a picture of my latest attempts, which may not actually just be cut off and discarded, like the last attempt.

It’s really just an excuse to accumulate baskets of sheep fleece, which I’ve managed to keep limited to one basket so far, a significantly smaller basket than my knitting basket, which I think I could actually sit in if it were ever empty. Which it is not.

I’m working on two things in knitting at the moment, as my wrist permits. I’ve been very interested in learning to design my own patterns. I took a class back in January, even. Since then, I picked up the Vogue Sock book, which my brother had bought for me shortly after my mom died. (Sometimes my brother is very cool.) Not being much of a sock knitter, I never did too much with it, but I figured that socks, being small, would be a good place to start. And so I did:

Unfortunately for our heroine, I used the sock knitting chart calculator in the Vogue book for the wrong yarn weight to my yarn. This is a really basic mistake, but when you’re on the train and you’re *pretty* sure that you’ve got DK weight yarn in your bag, but it turns out that it’s actually fingering weight, well…oops. Thus far I have the nicest beginning of a sock for a cat. Back to the pattern board, which is just as well, since the stitch design I put on there is probably too complicated for such a colorful yarn.

Speaking of cats, someone’s been partying hard. Or, well, found all the crap that I pulled out from underneath my brother’s desk yesterday and decided it was the snooze spot until someone obnoxious with a camera came around and ruined things.

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