Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mena, my daughter's beautiful cat, has died. I loved her. I can't do this right now; I am in Austin and with a bunch of archaeology friends, who are actually a great support. I couldn't have done anything for her if I had been home (naturally I think of what I_might_ have done while I was home, but she seemd to develop some kind of anemia/kidney thing very fast and I did not respond quickly enough).

I am having a very good, not perfect but realistically damn fine time, buying some really good books, eating fine to excellent food, enjoying the change of scene (except there's some guy here who looks a LOT like my boss). I doubt that Trying Not to Think is a good long-term strategy but it will have to do for now.

More soonish, but please have good thoughts for my cat and my girl, who will miss Mena probably even more intensely than I do. Which is not a happy prospect. Love is a bitch.

Friday, April 27, 2007

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Austin is beautiful, the weather is good, the bats are very cool. I went to half of a symposium on La Tene art, and most of one on New England prehistory (and I have to admit our Archaic points are BOOOOOOORing) and tacos for lunch. I must have done something in the afternoon besides buy books, but I can't remember.

I am sharing my room with three other women and Matt from SCRAP. I like all of them very much, and it's fun to have a pack to hang around with. We went out for barbecue, back to the hotel for bat-watching, and then out to Sixth Street (see picture above)for more beer and music. Unfortunately I decided not to be a moral coward and call home to see how Mena is, and she is not going to make it.

So I came back to the hotel to be with my computer. The Internet means you can always have a small chunk of home with you wherever you go.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Two things I mentioned some days back

A precious metal clay pendant

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I like it, even though I have doubts that it is original art since I made it with rubber stamps. But I love the weight of it and want to try more. Because I don't have enough hobbies or ways to spend money.

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Tea cosy in progress.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Okay, I am healthy. (When you see the Menses Goddess, tell her we are no longer amused by her timing, and ask why she hates archaeologists?)I am as packed as I need to be, if not quite ready, which is pretty good. I wish I would wake up properly. It's after 7 and I am on the third cup of tea and consciousness has not yet dawned. Maybe it's overcast in there.

Toby came and felt asleep on my lap last night, because he was so pleased I got out the afghan he likes. Marten sacked out on Doug's knees. Mena is in the best possible care, and I can afford a few days of it. She is badly anemic but not quite to the kitty blood transfusion point (there is one. I'd hate to see the donors. I bet they're unhappy.) I visited her at the vet's last night and she liked it enough to purr (and flick her tail irritably at Doug when he tried to pat it). The fact that these are what she gives for signs of life suggests how sick she is.

So I have not cleaned out the fridge, finished the paperclay artwork, vacuumed anything, or left the house in any shape for, well, anyone. I have roughly as many knitting projects as there are days I will be away. Since I think a sock in three days is my personal best, I am almost properly overprepared.

I hate leaving home. I like travelling, but not the departure.

More as it develops. If I wake up.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Born to be hanged

The cat came back. I want to ground her. No prom, no driver's license, no trips to the mall. But I will take her to the vet tomorrow and get her checked out. Thank you for your good wishes, they certainly helped ME. And perhaps also Doug, who was doing calling and sending reiki into the woods. The blighted animal showed up saying, "What?" at about 7:20 this evening and not in a penitent tone of voice. I was just back from drowning my sorrows in a paperback at Borders and thinking Doug was sweet but not a sensible person to be still looking for her.

Ooh, Mena, just you wait till your father gets home. Or something.

Love is not for sissies. I have a headache.
In other cat news: after Mena disappeared, I tried to catch Toby. Indeed, I intended to push him into a crate and take him to the vet (whose receptionist has been understanding) and have his nadgers cut off, which is just what he fears. He managed to get loose, and he has decided I am the Antichrist and will not be my friend. Marten is usually busy and distant. Asterix has been quite charming, if wanting to be close, and sits outside with me. Even Doug's entirely neurotic cat Digger is coming out to enjoy the fresh air.

We are thinking of finding Spike a home with people who eat chickens they have met. Doug has problems with the chicken way of life--constant rape and feather pulling, and it isn't that the hens have nowhere to run; they seem not to care, though they look tattered--and I am tired of Spike crowing almost constantly. He and Faith (the other rooster) are visually lovely birds, but there are limits.

I had a very productive weekend. Saturday I made great strides in cleaning my
room. I'd become fond of some of the stains in the bathroom sink... We went to the dump/recycling center -- I swear most of what we throw away is
cardboard, but that's because the plastic wrapping squeezes down smaller, cat food cans come a close second. I liked it better when they ate kibble. I put two bags into the Goodwill bin, because I have many clothes I never wear and don't need. It may be stretching it to say others need some of these clothes more, but at least others will have a choice.

I washed the dishes and tidied the kitchen about half as much as it needed. I repotted plants.

And Doug moved his weather station up to my deck, so now we should get more
accurate wind readings, thank God. He also finished fixing a friend's antique
spinning wheel (he had to make new parts for it). It spins really nicely and
looks good. He took so long putting off working on it he refused to take
payment, and says if I had not bugged him he would still not have worked on it.
I don't think he is as bad as that, but I was happy he got it done so the poor
woman could have it back.

And we went to Daniel's for supper, which is too expensive. But it was tasty.

The potholes on our road are unspeakable. I think the graders are off trying to repair roads that are really washed out. The considerable rain was the third hundred-year flood in 18 months.

Three young greenfrogs have appeared in our pond, and others have been seen crossing the road. No immediate local noise of peepers, but the greenfrogs say, unimaginatively, "Frorg." There are crocus and daffodils and mini-iris and phoebes and the birds are chatty. Doug thinks he saw a blackfly and when I checked out the frog in the pond with binoculars, I had a great view of mosquito wigglers. Think about how much you like flycatchery birds and bats.

Sunday I folded and put _all_ the laundry away, including the laundry I did
Saturday, and changed the sheets, and did a certain amount of preliminary
packing. I am going to Austin and Dallas for a week on Wednesday, first to the SAA conference, and second to visit my very nice aunt. Getting away will be good, but I _knew_ it would be just as it became lovely-weather-why-would-I-want-to-leave-home.

I tried to clean up the living room. This involved going into the loom room to
find a thing I wanted to send someone, and then plying a bunch of yarn into skeins
and plunging them into hot water and letting them dry. Strangely, the living
room looks very much the same. We had sun except in the middle of the day, and
it was lovely around tea time (tea, outside, on the porch). I felted the tea cosy I have been making my ex. It had been ready for the next step (it's needle-felted) since just after Christmas but felting is wet and messy and needed to be outside. It dried really fast so I was able to do a bit of embroidery on it (to define some edges, also it's fun). By the time of year my ex will not even begin to want HOT
tea, let alone that the pot would cool, the cosy should be finished. It's folk art all right (what are those folk ON?).

While tidying the living room I also put Delight paperclay into the Sculpey-brand latex mold I bought to make myself a badge to say NH SCRAP
because I don't want to wear t-shirts all the time I am at the convention in
Austin, not that anyone will notice one way or the other. Then I spun some of
the raspberry sherbet-colored neppy Rambouillet roving that has been around looking like entrails. It is a step in the right direction, but it has still not cleaned up the living room.

I put hummingbird feeders.

Today I need to finish the SCRAP pin I am making, clean the perished-ables
out of the fridge, buy cat food, get a haircut, and finish packing. Oh, and go to work. Part of finishing packing will include selecting an infinite number of potential pairs of socks and that will, of course, help tidy the living room.
I came home on Friday at three to take Mena to the vet at five. She had been living deeper and deeper in the closet for a week and eating nothing, and trying to throw up. On Thursday she had accepted a lot of Petromalt so I was hoping she was, um, digest more freely. I instant-messaged with the Daughter in Italy, and since it was the nicest day in many, many months, I had the slider open. Some time between about three-forty-five and four thirty-five, Mena vanished, probably out onto the deck and probably underneath? I have not seen her since. I was angry at her for disappearing; if she has gone somewhere to die, which I think likely (she was not at all pleased to have me looking in on her cave in the closet), it is What She Wanted, but it is not What I Wanted. I wanted to go and have the vet say 'she has an intestinal blockage, we'll just unzip her and she'll be FINE.' Needless to say I am cursing for not taking her to the vet on Thursday, but I wanted to go to the Precious Metal Clay class and I wanted to give the Petromalt a chance to work.

I am missing her fiercely (Mena loves this beautiful weather and it showed in her fluffy little body when she ran around playing Secret Agent Kitty) and I can't think this news is doing the Daughter's bronchitis (the bug she has has since about two weeks after arriving for second-semester abroad in Italy)any good.

She may yet turn up, but she was so thin and had been hurking the last couple of nights with no apparent result.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Multi-media Thursday

Shameless commerce imitating art, quite nicely:

The big-picture, extended play version takes a LONG time to download. The small
extended version is worth it if only for the dog.

This one takes a long time to load, but it's not a commercial and it's quite weird:"

“Morpho Towers--Two Standing Spirals” is an installation that consists of two ferrofluid sculptures that moves synthetically to music. The two spiral towers stand on a large plate that hold ferrofluid. When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened. Spikes of ferrofluid are born from the bottom plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral." You can read a lot more about it before you decide whether to download the movie.

Myself, tonight I am taking the Precious Metal Clay class (one shot, 3 hours) that was postponed last week. I have been being drawn to the beading shop, and glass help, but maybe it's time for a fresher prescription (this one will be 2 in December).

And Mena the disappearing cat did it again (36 hours) and then turned up last night, and disappeared again, but I found her lair in the closet. She is getting too thin and I finger-fed her a glop of Petromalt, a sovereign remedy for hairballs. And tomorrow it's off to the vet for her. I worry. Her real owner, the OBD, has had bronchitis for the most recent 7 weeks of her semester in Italy. Her father is visiting as we speak, and maybe will Sort Things Out.

That Night: The PMC class was great, I enjoyed the teacher and the people. The medium is very, very dangerous. A photo will follow tomorrow. Actually, just having the class in the bead shop had some drawbacks. Nice glass ones all sizes and colors...

And if you carry your clear-packaged set of compact fluorescent bulbs up your dark front stairs, clutching them to your cashmere vest bosom, you get a fine light show.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It rained considerably

In fact, I chickened out of work, and my boss said that as the power was flickering on and off in Concord, he did not think it was too far out of line.

There is not, so far as I can find, a picture on the Web of Christopher Robin and Pooh travelling by umbrella to rescue Piglet when Piglet was Entirely Surrounded by Water. I spent a good deal of time looking.

Doug returned from having left for work. Having seen the flooding between our house and the town proper, he became concerned that the roads would not let him get home. Then he took a long time getting up the driveway, which was beginning to feel the pain.

Sarah came by, Having driven up from Boston, she had not found the storm was any great shakes to drive through, and being told not to come to work today, she decided to come be marooned here, with a different bunch of cats. She left her car near the bottom of the driveway.

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Nor could I find on the Web the Bloom County cartoon of two guys talking after the Rolling Stones had trashed the Bloom County Motel, with one of them saying, "[the motel] ain't gone, Henry, she's in the pool." My driveway ain't gone, she's spread out over the lawn.

A small album of flood pictures Flooding on APril 16, 2007">here (mine)

A larger album from WMUR: I recommend 15, 28, and I think it was 45 or 43 in particular.

I finished the magenta-greenish grayish socks, yum, and wore them, too, and cast on some peach-melba only I think she calls it bittersweet flavored Lorna's Laces for my mom (socks. Whatever other unmarked knitted object could you imagine?).

Monday, April 09, 2007

in other news

The cat is still back.

I went back to the dentist's. He is still tasty, but tonight I have a temporary crown ($500, ka-ching! and I have dental insurance...)and it hurts like merry hell despite two Vicodin. And another crown to come in May.

April 12 is Yuri's Night. Go and think about the stars and the planets and the satellites and how lucky we are to have an atmosphere and the technology to appreciate, as well as degrade, it.

My friend Sue-at-the-other-end-of-the-hall recommends this site. Click on the horses. It's soothing.

It's still below freezing. Okay, it's 37, but there's still snow on the ground. None of this glass half-full stuff here.

Because of the intense peer pressure when Sarah visited and the NHAS meeting I have two Mountain Goat (no color I can identify, but it's shot with magenta and lovely beyond words; inadequate picture will follow)socks above the ankles, as well as the Lorna's Laces Tuscany (still below the ankles). And barely a toe of Silky Sock, which is tiny gauge and lovely in I think the Antique colorway. But I am not sure I have the fortitude for size 0 needles in size 13 socks.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Springiness, Part II

I believe I mentioned that it was going to snow on Wednesday night? We got 10" and a power failure. There is some Providence-of-a-merciful-God involved because I am happy to have a day off from work. Selfish I am, yes.

Last week one of the highlights was going to new dentist and being told I was taking good care of my gums. I have never heard this from a dental person before. I got a nice dentist (if I were 20 years younger he might still be a bit young for me, but yum) and the secretary and the dental associate were also really pleasant. There are Amish quilts on the wall and interesting things to stare at on the ceiling (though the National Geographic poster about continental drift really does not have big enough print). And they told me I don't have an abscess and the pain was probably sinus trouble, which explains why it was well-affected by aspirin. I do need a crown on the upper left corner of my mouth and a fancy filling on the spalled incisor, but it beats the hell out of an abscess.

This does not mean I want to go there often.

I woke up and couldn't get the radio on. Hot water grows in electric kettles and tea is sometimes warmed up (only once) in a microwave. Sometimes it is pumped out of taps by an electric pump. I berated Doug for not buying me a hand-cranked microwave but he -- get this -- boiled some water on the stove in a kettle. Pretty swift. He is an engineer.

Snow closed the Concord schools = no work for me. This was good, although a Subaru can get through 10" of snow on a downhill driveway, as Doug proved once it stopped snowing.

There was no internet. I tried not to shake. I did have a cell phone. I called my parents, who gave me sympathy and concern, and tried to call Sarah.

I finished the Lynn Flewelling trilogy and worried because I had not seen Mena the cat for 24 hours. I thought (not hard) about cleaning my house, but as I could not wash the dishes or vacuum or take a shower or do laundry there was no point in tidying or folding already clean laundry or sweeping the floor, so I listened to NPR (batteries, radio) and knitted. At this point it was 44 and sunny, so I sat on the porch for an hour, watching Paul plow the driveway, until it grew cloudy and cold and started to snow.

I worried about the cat. She is the daughter's Own cat, and they are strangely akin with beautiful hair and a low tolerance for idiocy, I mean much lower than mine.

I finished the book, I knitted much sock, I fretted. I reached Sarah and we decided to meet for the wine tasting at the deli in Concord (Butter's, the same side of the road as the Elegant Ewe but further up, beyond the CVS) and dinner. It was 3:30. I could take my laptop and go to the mall and read my e-mail. I decided a piece of leftover pizza would be a good thing, and I fretted about the cat.

The pizza was a good thing, but I would have sworn the molar missing a distal lingual cusp was on top on the left, not on the right on the bottom. Mesial lingual cusp, too. Damn. Still, the dentist is cute. Finished the pizza. Worried about the cat. Walked around the house.

I drove into Concord. I explained to the receptionist that all I really wanted was sympathy, and she asked if it was sensitive. Hard to say, as I had only done it half an hour earlier. It was, however, bidding fair to cut up my tongue. She called the cute dentist and yet another really nice, kindly dental assistant. They knocked out half of my face (after discovering that the remainder of the tooth was sensitive, all right, and it still is this morning) and stuck a patch on it and sent me off to Butter's, where I met Doug and Sarah, who had just had a much less good time at her dentist and was numb on the other side of her face.

We ate excellent soft Indian food. Sarah complained about her dentist and I gave her my dentist's card (she likes tall men. He certainly is.) We complained about our cats. We used our cell phones to discover that the power was back on at my house. Doug and I went home and fretted about the cat and read our email, and I wondered how long I could lie to the Daughter, in Italy.

I went to bed. The cat was back on the end of my bed, looking hung over. I hugged her. "WHAT?" she said.

It's in the 30's today, nice and sunny. Still covered with snow outside,but the finches are singing like mad.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

enough already

So I think it was last Thursday or so that I had a weird uncomfortable stomach ache (turned out that it didn't just feel like monthly cramps, they WERE monthly cramps) and a small glass of wine even before dinner seemed plausible. It was sort of sunny, so Asterix and I sat on the porch and soaked up what rays we could. Wine in shallow pewter goblet nearby. Along came Buffy, a chicken of valor. Ooh, shiny, she said. Ohh, what's this? Now when cats sniff wine, they look horrifed, so I watched to see what Buffy would make of it. She had a sip, picked her head up, swallowed, considered. Drank some more. Drank quite a lot more. Eventually she and I finished the glass and Buffy went off to the porch rail to contemplate. When Doug came home he commented how relaxed she was, let him ruffle her back.

On Friday afternoon I went to lovely Northampton and stayed with my friends Grace and Dahlia, wonderful people whose home is so clean they have space in the kitchen cabinets. Otherwise they are fine people. The next day I went to Conbust at Smith, where I had a much smaller group of spinning students than last year and I think did a reasonable job showing them the ropes and hawsers, although they were all actually good at it. One of them was Lynn Flewelling, one of the writer Guests of Honor. I was somewhat thrown and tried not to be too fannish. She is now clear on what a distaff is, and I have been ruining my life catching up with her books. She gives excellent sword-and-sorcery.

I did plying (she wasn't sure how so she just went on spinning till the spindle was full) with one of last year's spinners in front of the building while we watched people boffing. It's not what you think. I wish I had got a picture of Lauren in her lacy Cthulhu pinafore; she looked charming.

It was good to see the friends of the Daughter, who has bronchitis in Italy. It was good to be away from thinking about my job, which has annoying moments. And it was good to go home in the long warm evening light.

Sunday while Norma gardened, I knit sock (in Lorna's Laces Tuscany, which after most of a sock I think I have already made a pair for my mother in, so I may just keep these)and had an exquisite nap in the sun. The chickens did not eat the snowdrops or the crocus or the mini-iris, so I forgave them for crowing.

Since then the weather has gone to hell and now (Wednesday night) it's snowing. I am reading too much and not knitting enough.