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September 17, 2009

Little Orphan Kitties

It's a cool, damp day today, a perfect day for the smell of cooling pumpkin pies that were baked this morning. I look out the front door, and the doorstep is covered with snoozing cats and drowsy kittens.

I have three little orphan kitties. Not sure how it happened, but momma-cat went missing one day, and it's been several days of her not showing up for food or anything. Hence, orphan kittens three. All orange tabbies of varying stripes, two girls and one teeny tiny boy.

The girls are definitely going to grow up, but the little guy has me just a little concerned for him. Thank heavens I still have the KMR kitten milk powder from last year, I mix up a little in a dish and he slurps it down. He's too old for a bottle and so far it's helping him grow a little fatter, or appear a little fatter. He'll need the fat under his fur as the weather cools down, and especially since he's not nursing on a momma-cat.

There's another momma-cat with three kittens too, two black (one each gender) and one orange tabby (girl) and so far she's been a sweetheart and letting the two orange sisters mob her with her own bunch. The little hopalong guy got tired of being pushed out by all the others, he's the smallest of both bunches. He also has the messiest face of them all, but has been learning to wash his face more often so that his human “momma” doesn't wipe him down with a wet paper towel.

At least all of them are old enough to know how to chew dry food, and where the food and water stations are, and I have seen them going off and “grazing” when they get hungry. Smart kitties!

I hate credit cards. Really. They are a necessary evil method of payment in these days of electric transactions. What I really hate the most is how quickly the charges accumulate, and how they weasel in other charges and fees on you, in spite of what the media claims about limitations and all. All I can say personally here is that as soon as I have certain cards paid off, I'm closing them down forever. Period.

I'm back to designing socks again, funny how it happened. I had some sock yarn leap out of my stash at me, and I finally turned the skeins into two balls of yarn, finished another “plain” pair, then used those needles to start a toe-up sock. Hmm, wonder if this stitch will work, or if that stitch will work, and what happens if I do that kind of stitch?

My camera batteries need re-charging, that's my latest excuse for no pictures. Well, I could probably use the camera in my cellphone, but I'm not sure if I'd get the kind of picture that I really want, and I'm still trying to figure out the download-from-cellphone-to-computer steps.

But I can definitely say that I have another sock design to add to my list of socks that will make it into “the book” when I get to the designs part. I'm still working on the outline, or rather fleshing out the outline, and writing the rough drafts of two sections. I'm also writing down in my flow-of-consciousness method bits and pieces of my sock knitting philosophy and design methods, or lack of methods, or just how it sometimes happens to me.

Back to the current sock in progress. All I will say is that I never expected the yarn to knit up as nicely as it is, and I originally thought, hmm, plain sock, watch the colors shift in the yarn. The yarn is from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, in the Paivatar yarn. I'm not sure what the exact colorway is, my mother bought it on my behalf at last year's Maryland Sheep and Wool when I had to work.

The yarn has a great stitch definition, you can see each knit or purl stitch, and if you cross stitches in a cable-like manner, well, stunning! And in the colors for this particular pair of socks, the criss-crossing of the stitches is not hidden, and both the colors and the stitches are playing off each other. Boy, do I need to recharge those batteries!

September 04, 2009

New Potatoes

We have been eating the bounty of our vegetable garden lately. Lots of green beans, lovely tomatoes, and digging out the new potatoes as we get hungry. Mom planted two kinds, a basic white potato and a red potato, one in each row, and so far, about half of each row has been dug into.

All I can say is, there's no satisfaction like what comes from digging up your own potatoes, brushing the dirt off, finding HUGE potatoes where you expected average sized ones, cooking them, and loving how good they taste. Yum!

It might sound crazy, but our potatoes taste so good because we have “good tasting” soil. Yep. What you plant your potatoes in helps determine how good or ehh they'll taste after growing. Example: placed grass clippings from lawn mowing around potato plants, and potatoes grew in the grass/soil combination. Dug up, cooked, eaten, ew. Not such a great idea, those grass clippings. Now we compost them or use them as mulch on other things, definitely NOT as mulch and growing medium for potatoes.

On the current-work-situation front, I quit Job2.

It was either my sanity for a paycheck, or walk out. I chose the walk out. I'd rather have basic human decency and respect for less pay than get browbeaten or verbal abuse for a paycheck. Really. I tried to treat the employees that I supervised with decency, and with a basic human respect, and I hope with some kindness.

What it got me? A couple thank you's from one person in particular, as in “thank you for not treating me like I'm stupid” or a repeated statement that I was that person's favorite manager to work with. Which made it a good workday, whether that person knows it or not.

Some of the others? Not quite sure, other than the store manager would use small comments they made, take them completely out of context, and then save all the small things as huge problems to make major mountains out of. Yes, isolated, one-time incidents, converted to long-term problems. Oh, yes, and to yell at me over the phone about, or in person, repeatedly.

I'm out of that situation now. Completely.

Now, I just have Job1, with a better working schedule there, and the manager at Job1 is a bit relieved that she can now give me a few more hours, and have more flexibility as to when I can be scheduled during the day and during the week.

Best part, my “limited” healthcare benefits are through Job1, for which I am very grateful for that choice. When I compared plans between jobs, there was considerable more “bang for the buck” in the plan through Job1, so that was the plan of choice. I recently added dental onto that plan, so now I can plan on more regular preventative maintenance and checkups in the near future, instead of worrying about emergency maintenance or fixing. So far, knock on wood, teeth have been staying put and not breaking.

I think I inherited my dad's teeth, as I see fine hairline cracks in them and worry about future breakage or that the grinding I do at night will fracture them more. I have an over the counter thing I have to heat and fit to my teeth, costs way less than the couple hundred thing Mom got last year that needed a casting an fitting for, plus the dental consultation/office visit fees.

On the yarn/book/store front, I'm cash poor. Very cash poor, with only one pay source, and for maybe less than I can afford for more than a month, two if I tweak things carefully.

Bad thing is, I drool over yarn I see advertised. Good thing is, I have a nice stash of yarn to play with. Yep, wool fetish can be a bit distracting. Good thing I'm not actively selling yet, I'd have to pull out one of each color to play with if I had any stock on hand. I'm still figuring out how to make $$ and $$$ cost of internet sales services per month/year/whatever work on $ leftover from my monthly budget. Or if I sell soap socks by consignment, will I really make any money worth considering that would help pay for more than my supplies and time? Hmm, thoughts, plots, plans!

Short term, if I decide against consignment shop locally, there's eBay, and I have my PayPal account, so that small end is covered. Just have to decide if dipping into and almost cleaning out my small savings to start a small online yarn venture THIS year would work, or if I would do better to wait on another job showing up, saving a bit more up, and then doing the online store in a year or two, and after the sock book (which needs finishing, yes, I know, so everyone can stop waiting on me just saying that I'm writing it) is put into ink and paper.

Crazy thing is, I'm knitting some basic toe-up socks in a soft, “new to me” sock yarn for a friend, and she has no clue that I'm making them for her. The colors remind me of a 1960s sweater, shades of brown with a few color hints of soft orange and green, and they are so her colors, I can't wait to see her face when she gets them.

Funny how I almost never do “traditional” socks from cuff to toe any more. Most of what I do is toe-up, but it doesn't mean that the cuff-to-toe architecture is obsolete in my knitting lexicon. Interesting how my preference and knitting style has grown and changed over the years. And continue to change, as I never think I have mastered all there is to know about knitting or yarn, or spinning. That's right, I do have a spinning wheel with an incomplete project on it...which comes first, knitting, writing, or spinning? Answer: finding a new job first, then writing and knitting...or is it...we'll see.

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