Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Saying No

Happy Day After Christmas! Did everyone have a good holiday? I did, spending it with my neighbour Brian, his Mom, her dog Rainey, and of course, Sasha.

"Really Sasha."

"Oh, look at this. Honest Atticus, I didn't mean to do it! I just get so relaxed and comfortable here..."

She loves coming over, and the guys are getting used to her being around. Although they draw the line at her scarfing back their food.

It was a good time yesterday. We watched movies ("Red", and "Hot Tub Time-Machine", which despite the name was a very funny movie and a great blast from the past for those of us who were in high school in the '80's), played board games, and ate a lot. Brian deep-fried the turkey, which - gross as it may sound - was outstanding. It took 45 minutes (yes, you read that right) to cook an 9lbs turkey. The scalloped potatoes took longer. Deep-frying the turkey leaves it moist on the inside, and as long as you're not eating the skin, it's not greasy at all. I was so.good. So yeah, I didn't say no to seconds.

I donate monthly to the Toronto Humane Society. Every year around this time, they send me a little package, asking for donations, or to increase my monthly donation amount.

Now, I ask you. If you received this envelope in the mail, as I did, would you not increase your monthly donation amount? The only surprise here is that I didn't sign away my entire paycheck. The THS sure know how to make the most of their marketing dollars. Again I fail at saying no.

Who else has issues with "no"?

"What? 17.8lbs? No, that's not right! I mean, I can't be...really? 17.8lbs?? That's just me on a bad day! Retaining water or something. I mean, c'mon. It's not that I...really? 17.8lbs. Huh."

Yup. Little wee baby Malcolm is now a whopping 17.8lbs. I about fell over at the vet's office when she told me the weight. It's not easy putting one of four cats on a "diet", so I'm trying to do it in such a way that I reduce the amount they're eating, without compromising the weight of the others. Although Atticus could stand to lose a pound or two.

"I beg to differ."

They all get a mix of the old food and the low-calorie one, and a bit less of it too. Some days it's gobbled up, other days they leave some in their dish. So, little by little, I suppose. Unlike Atticus, Malcolm doesn't get crabby when you mess with his food. He may be a bit of drama-queen, but he's pretty easy going.

But. The most monumental example of not being able to say "no" of the last couple of weeks?

No. I didn't get another cat.

No. I didn't get another job.

No. I didn't start spinning (unlike another knitter, who I shall just call Labrain...)

Instead. I decided to swap apartments! AGAIN!


Yay me!

Yes, that's right. I'm moving, well, swapping apartments really (sounds so much less work), within the next week. This time, it's the upper apartment of the other section of the house. It's an add-on to the original farmhouse which I live in now (which was built in 1892), and was built around 1912. It'll be my second time living in that apartment - I was there from 2003 until late 2005, before I moved into the apartment directly upstairs from where I am now.

Confused?! Don't worry chickens. I am too...

See, here's why. Firstly - it's $100 cheaper a month. Secondly - I loved that apartment while I was there. Of the 3 out of 4 units I've lived in here, it is my favourite. I moved out because of the renovations. Which brings me to the third reason - new bathroom, new kitchen, new mud room leading out to the deck, which is also new. There was no deck when I lived there. And the bathtub? The original, old claw-foot bathtub with one of those nifty rain shower heads. I'm actually not sure what enticed me more - the cheaper rent, or the bathtub.

It has the same square footage as this one does, however the layout of the rooms is different. Here, my office is smaller than my bedroom, at the new place it's the reverse. I don't need such a large bedroom, however I do need a larger office/stash room.

So, have I started packing yet? Not so much as a shred of paper. I have the next couple of weeks to move in slowly, and if I've learned anything from my past 3 apartment swaps, it's that I don't need to pack everything up. And even what will end up going in boxes will not need to be wrapped and ready to go. I want to be in there by next weekend. Mainly because my main moving help will either be away the week after (Brian), or back in school (neighbour James).

As happy as I am, the guys could care less.

These two lumps have lived in that apartment before.

"You like this moving thing, don't you? I guess this way we'll be able to find all of those missing crinkly balls Auntie Chris brought us last year when she came for a visit."

I'm bracing myself - as I move stuff out of here, I'm sure to find not only the missing crinkly balls, but also a quantity of pooplets that Malcolm has batted in spots I wouldn't have suspected.

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

After 6 months or so of me thinking he'd grown out of that most annoying of habits, he has started up with digging pooplets out of the litter box again, and playing with them like it's the World Cup.

I'll have a lot of help so that I don't wear myself down. Wish me luck! And next time around, I'll post some pictures of the new digs, and let you see for yourself why I just love that apartment.

Oh! And knitting too!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Always Learning Something New

"Um, yeah hi. Uh, is this where the Crazy Cat Lady lives? I was uh, talking to Mimi? Anyway, she said I could come here and crash, maybe get some grub..."

"What?? NO! Go.Away. You can't just show up here like that. Crazy Cat Lady, pffft. She's no Lady! She's Mom. Shoo!"

You know, at first I thought that was Mae outside the door. And later on that day? I came pretty close to getting another picture of a handsome tuxedo cat sniffing at the door. It would seem word has gotten out - here be the neighbourhood kitty flop house! LOL. I guess...

It's been a few weeks of new things around here!

A new desk! Well, I actually bought it from my neighbours next door. And I LOVE it. It's got all sorts of neat nooks and crannies to organize things, and it takes up a lot less room. I also get to indulge in another secret love - reorganizing stuff! It's like unpacking after a move, without the move! Yes! I'm weird!!

The other new tidbit I learned? Well, I wouldn't call it a tidbit, because I was so fascinated. See that lavender blob on the desk? It was the start of an outdoor coat I was making - "Tenley", from the latest issue of the Twist Collective. The awesome neato of this pattern? It uses tubular cast on for the ribbing.
Which has to be the coolest cast on. Ever.

I was so enthralled by the process and the seamless results, that even though I ended up frogging it (only because I wasn't too keen on the stitch pattern), I had to photograph it. Only the picture came out blurry, so I'll have to work on getting another.

Regardless. Yeah, it takes a bit longer to do. But it is worth it! Amazing, beautiful results, and well worth the effort.
Who are these people who figure these things out?! Well, who ever did? Really, really awesome job.
What else is new - Atticus?

"Hi, I'm Atticus. I'm a Gemini, and I'm 12 years old. I'm big-boned, not fat; and my likes are long walks to the litter box, curry and tandoori."

And Mae? How about you?
"Hi, I'm Mae. I'm an Aries, and I'm 11 years old. I snore and act out in my sleep; my likes are yogourt and pulling tablecloths off of tables."

"Hi, I'm Gandalf. I'm a Taurus, and I'm 4 years old. I'm a lover, not a fighter, baby. My likes are kisses and and my Snuggi Bear."
"Oh, and I'm also king. But you knew that already. Again - I'm big-boned, not fat."

He's a mellow man now, our Gandalf. Not the hellion he once was.
What about you Malcolm? What new stuff can we learn about you?

"Hi, I'm Malcolm. I'm a Leo, and I'm 1 year old! I'm awfully cute; and my likes are my Mom, eating and jumping really high in the air for no reason. Oh! And I'm a drama queen."

See? Something new all the time!

"Yeah, forget it. You guys are weird. One of you eats tandoori BBQ, and another one is probably gonna paw me in my sleep and get fresh. I'll take my chances out here. Man, that Mimi is such a liar..."

And next time?! Something else new that I couldn't really properly photograph, but that will be shown off... Ooooo, mysterious...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's The Little Things

Has it been that long? I hadn't thought so. It seems at times that the weeks just zip by, and at other times the days drag. Remember when you were a kid, and the time between now and Christmas, or your birthday seemed to take forever?
I've been keeping a low profile of late mainly because I just haven't been feeling that great. I haven't had a reoccurance of the gout (thankfully, oy), but the fatigue is taking it's toll. Plus, it seems my liver is now causing me problems, so it's been an endless round of biopsies, blood tests, doctor visits and the inevitable stress that I really can't afford to allow myself to be under. It's all just a bit overwhelming at times. I'm rarely able to handle a full day without going through a lot of fatigue, usually I have to have a nap at least every 6 hours or so. Some days are better than others; and I'm really hoping that they can figure out how to treat this now that I'm having liver problems. Because I can't imagine that at 42, this is going to be the rest of my life. Work is also a huge stress, due to the push to get things done by the end of the calendar year. Which is nothing new - I've been doing IT stuff for years now - the work stress is a good 90% generated from my wingnut boss, who's trying to change the world by alienating everyone in the process. But - fortunately for me, I work at home 4 days out of 5, and she's easy enough to avoid.

So - one day at a time. I remember all the good in my life, and remind myself that I do have so much to be thankful for. I just need to be patient (not my strongest asset).

Hey! Speaking of kids. For the first time, Malcolm got a reminder in the mail for his annual checkup. I guess that means he's somewhere in the kitty teenaged years now.

"Go 'way, I'm EMO life sucks...hate school...just gonna lie here, and listen to EMO music and read EMO books about vampires. At least they understand me."

Who needs PetSmart when you have really cool boxes to lie around in. The highly coveted item made its debut when I decided to work on this -

That somewhat blurry picture is Donegal. (I'm not one to deny myself the pleasure of something new.) Before I finally settled on this project, I'd gone through a yarn shop's worth of startitis, abandoning projects sometimes after just one evening. *sigh* When I did find something I liked, I'd end up not having enough yarn, or not liking the colours, etc. Or, being disheartened because I'd made a mistake, and just not liking it enough to rip back. I even messed up a pair of Noro Kureyon socks because it seems that a) I forget at times how to read, and b) I'm a weenie. *sigh*

So, Donegal it is. And I'm happy! Happy enough that I picked out/ripped back 8 rounds when I noticed I'd messed up the pattern in the ribbing section. I'm also working on "Stornoway", from Fisherman's Sweaters. There's not much to show for that right now, I'm still working on 3" of ribbing on 2.75mm needles. It could be awhile. But, at least it keeps me happy. And when I'm too tired or feeling clumsy, I just work on socks. I have enough of that kind of yarn to last me a few life times...
And! Just because -

I'm making a pair of those flappy top mittens for my friend Brian (Sasha's Dad). He works outside a lot, and he'd mentioned awhile back that he used to have a pair that he loved. Plus he uh, plays for the other team, so he'll actually notice the quality of the yarn (I'm using leftover 3-ply Hebridean from VY), the variations in colour, will hand wash them when I tell him too, AND make me a cup of tea when I bring them over to him. Can't go wrong there.

Sasha often creeps at my door, wanting to come in for a visit.

"Cats aren't so bad! They sniff butt just like dogs do."

"Don't appreciate you gettin' fresh, Sasha, you're taking liberties and it's not cool!"

The guys are getting used to it. They're not too sure about Sasha's sister Roxy though.

"I smell kitties! I wanna play with the kitties! Kitties kitties kitties!!! KITTIES!!"

They're really not impressed with Roxy scarfing back they're food.

"Talk about bad manners..."

And as if having 2 dogs invade their space wasn't enough.

"Who the hell are you?"

That would be Mimi. Well, that's what I've christened her anyway. No, I haven't gone and adopted a 5th cat. One night, I was getting ready for bed, and I opened the back door to go and unplug my outside string of lights. As soon as I opened the door, this little grey cat came tearing into the house before I even realized she was there (note to self - may be a good idea to look before opening door). She must belong to someone, as she was perfectly comfortable around me, and the guys. She headed straight for their bedtime snack, much to Malcolm's dismay.

"Who the hell are you?"

She then eyed "the box".

"Whoa, whoa there missy. You just keep on eating over there...just keep on eating."

And when I opened the door, she walked out. I've seen her a few more times at the back door. She wasn't scruffy or wild looking at all, which leads me to believe she belongs to someone.

"We shouldn't have let her leave, Malcolm."

"Well, she was eating our food and stuff."

"Yeah well, what do you think's gonna happen now, huh? She's gonna tell all the outdoor cats that some Crazy Cat Lady lives here, and that she's a sucker for any hungry outdoor kitty with a hard luck story. Man, now they're all gonna show up at the door. If it's not dogs, it's cats. What's next? Elephants escape from the zoo and show up here? Geez..."

"That'd be awesome!"

So, despite everything else, things always do manage to remain interesting around here. I will get a picture of Brian's mittens before I pass them on to him, and who knows - by next week, I may have progress to show you. I'm crossing my fingers that the progress I do end up showing you is of the WIPs I've mentioned today. You never know (neither do I, for that matter).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hi Everybody!

It's me!

Malcolm, silly.


I'm hijacking Mom's blog! She's not feeling well today; something about gout in her big toe. I'm not sure what that is, but it's making her crabby! And she's limping and swearing and stuff. I think it has something to do with her polycythemia. Just something she has to get used to now, I guess. I said to her - Mom, why don't you go lie down, put your foot up, pop some pills and let me take over! She just kept dragging her foot and swearing so I figured, why not. I'll take it as a yes.

Guess who came over for a visit this week!?

Sasha! She came over with her Dad Brian, and Leika's big brother James. Leika's this big honkin' German Sheppard who lives next door. But she's really nice and sweet and all, and Gandalf has a crush on her.

"Hi Sasha!"

"Hi Gandalf! Hi Malcolm! Thanks for having me over! It's really raining outside."

"You wanna stay for some noms?"

"OK! Oh, wait, I think my Dad is gonna give me noms when we get home."

"How's your little sister doing?!"

"Roxy? Oh, she's a big pain in the butt. But, she's OK I guess."

Oh! I didn't tell you! One day, a couple of weeks ago, Sasha and her Dad were coming home from the park when this puppy just came out of nowhere, and followed them home! She didn't have a collar, or a microchip either (whatever that is). Mom says it's probably because she has some pitbull in her, and you're not allowed to breed pitbulls in the city of Toronto. So, whoever got her got her off of someone who bred them, and that's not supposed to happen. No one came looking for her, and no one put signs up or anything. But, that's OK. She's also got some Lab in her, and boy, does Mom ever think she's cute! Everyone does! I mean, I look at her from my side of the window, and she's always wagging her tail. Sasha says she's a spaz and a 'tard, but I think she really likes having a little sister. Anyway. Her name is Roxy now. I'll try to get a picture next time. But she's always running around, so sometimes it's hard you know. Everytime I see her outside, I have to remember to go and get the camera and that's kinda hard with no opposable thumbs.

"What did you buy at the store, Sasha?"

"Oh, I don't know. My Dad bought some people food. Is that your food? Kitty food?"

"Uh huh. I think it's Salmon. Help yourself!"

Mae's all - whatever. I think she secretly likes having Sasha over because it means there's another girl around. Ew.

"Don't you be eating my food, dog. I didn't invite you over. Dweeb brothers..."

Mom has been knitting. Honest! I mean, she'd start stuff, and then be all - meh. Then she'd unravel it and start again. But, now she's making these Fair Isle mittens from some Fair Isle book by some lady in Scotland. It's supposed to be the be all to end all! She's liking them. I think she's going to rip them out though, and start over again, because she doesn't like the way the ribbing looks. Humans are so weird. Something about the purl bumps looking messy because of the colour changes. It's not like she has a lot to rip back, she only just started them. And, she's going to use up a bunch of leftover Hebridean 2 ply yarn from that same lady in Scotland! Coooool... And she's also making this red sweater with some Fleece Artist yarn she forgot she even had. I dunno. I remember ALL my toys, so I really don't get how she can forget some yarn she has. Anyway, it's really nice and stuff, so she's making this easy sweater. She's doing it in one big circle, and then when she gets to the underarm, she's gonna slip some stitches on a holder or something, and then go do the sleeves later. Oh, but before she makes the sleeves, she makes the upper part of the sweater. I dunno. I guess I've been watching Mom knit for way too long now. Don't ask how I even know that! She works on that when she's watching stuff on TV.

Guess what else Mom's been doing? And it's been keeping her really busy too. She's been reading these books by some guy named Stieg Larsson. One's about a girl with a dragon tattoo, and in the other one Mom's reading now the girl plays with fire. Oh, and there's another one too that Mom hasn't starting reading yet about the same girl who kicks a hornet's nest. I dunno. Sounds pretty meh to me. But Mom can't get over how good they are. And she reads a lot of books. Whatever. I don't read.

"...stupid books...cuttin' back on my Mom time...bad enough with the knitting all the time...oh, and that work thing..."

OK, I think I'm gonna go now. I'm kinda tired, and I think Mom's gonna go take some Aleve or something for her gout. She's still kinda crabby.

"Take care of Mom, entertain guests when they come over... Eat your dinner Gandalf! Sit on my lap Gandalf! Have a snack Gandalf! It never ends! I'm so busy all the time! I need some me time."

Hey! Wait a sec! Who put that picture up there! (That's my new favourite nap spot. It's the top part from a big paper box! Neat, huh?!)

Anyways! Bye everyone! Thanks for dropping by! And Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends out there. Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, and I know I'm thankful for a lot of things.

Atticus is gonna show Gandalf and I how to get the ice pack out of the freezer for Mom now. Bye! Again!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In Which Malcolm Files A Complaint

Well, whoops. I hadn't realized it had been so long since I'd last posted.

Malcolm would like to thank everyone for his birthday wishes!

"....mmmffffmphhh...*snore* *snort*...mmmmm...pillows...soft...aahhhhh..."

Besides receiving some toys, Party Mix treats, and a Furminator (ok, that's maybe not just for him), he also received another gift. A coupon for a 10lb, free bag of adult cat food. And not just any kind of cat food - the premium stuff! Worth $45 at the pet store! Must be some pretty awesome stuff! Because he'd been eating their kitten food, once he turned one, the coupon arrived in the mail. Hmmm...let's just call this stuff..."Gym Class Diet". Yeah.

Just because it's premium, doesn't mean it's tasty.

"Well, this sucks ass."

I couldn't even disguise it. Even mixing it with something they liked didn't mask it for them. They wouldn't touch it. Mae ate the odd helping, but eventually peer pressure won over, and soon she was snubbing it too.

"Hello. And thank you for calling Gym Class Diet, makers of premium, high quality cat and dog food! Your call is important to us. Please hold."

"Um, sure. OK."

"...what's up pussy cat, whoaohwhoawhoawhoa, what's up pussy cat, whoaohwhoawhoawhoawhoa..."

"...pussy cat, pussy cat, lalala lalala I do..."
"What are they saying?!"
"...lalalalalalala...Huh? Oh, nothing yet. I'm on hold, listening to some rabbits sing Tom Jones tunes."

"Hello. And thank you for calling Gym Class Diet, makers of premium, high quality cat and dog food! Please state your name."

"Um, Malcolm."

"Hello UmMalcolm. How may I direct your call?"

"No, it's just Malcolm."

"I'm sorry, I did not get that. I heard: JustMalcolm. So, please tell me - how may I direct your call, JustMalcolm?"

"No Dummy! MALCOLM! MAL-COLM!!!"

"I heard: NoDummyMalcolm. If this is correct, press 1, followed by the pound key."

"Fine. *beep beep*."

"OK, NoDummyMalcolm. How can I help you? For example, please say "Spay & Neutering", or "Specialty Items" clearly so I may direct your call."

"...*sigh*...Well, see, for my first birthday you guys sent my Mom a coupon for a big bag of big kitty cat food which was really nice and all and my older brother Gandalf said I had to share it when I got it because they were big kitties and ate big kitty cat food so when Mom went to the store to pick it up and she brought it home I was all like cool! and stuff because I thought, wow, this is like puberty with 'nads and then she opened the bag and put some out for us and really it tastes awful I don't like it and Atticus and Mae and Gandalf don't like it either and who are the kitties you mention on the bag that love the taste that's false advertising..."

"OK. I think you said "Dog Food". If this is correct, press 2, followed by the pound key."

"What?!! No! Not "Dog Food"!! Are you even listening to me?? I said YOUR CAT FOOD TASTES LIKE BUTT."

"And then she just sent me to this department that was all about dog food and collars and Kongs. You know, I don't even think I was talking to a real person! I got nowhere. Guess we'll have to go to Plan B."

Plan B? Well, that consisted of whining non.stop. and trying to trip me any time I walked towards the kitchen.

And this lady?

"Yep, that would be me."

Scratching at my bedroom door. Every morning. Starting at around 3:30am. Give or take a few. And she wouldn't stop. Ever. Until I got up.

So, then I'd get up. Feed them the expensive, but free, food. And then it would start up all over again. The whining. The tripping.

The looks. Or non-looks, if you will.

"In case you haven't noticed, I'm ignoring you. However, please feel free to furminate me. I just won't acknowledge your presence. And if I purr, it has nothing to do with you. Because you disappoint me."

In the end, they won. They are back to eating their old, less expensive, probably less healthy, food.

"Aw yeah! 4 against 1! We beat you! We beat you! We wore you down and beat you!"

Happy cats = happy home. Who needs a husband.

And seriously? Knitting? Next week. Really.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's Been a Year?!!

Hi Everyone!!!! Guess what?!! IT WAS MY FIRST BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY!!!!!!

Look at how small I was! And cute! Boy, was I ever an adorable little gaffer. Still am, really.

My first year was fun! And confusing too. At times, I thought my name was "ow, dammit Malcolm!", and "Nerf-Ball cut it out!", but I soon learned. I have awesome big brothers and sister. They taught me how to be a big grown up kitty. Not sure why, being a little kitty is a whole lot of fun! Just look at what I got into!


And then I found this really cool thing called a "sink". Sometimes there's stuff in there, and I can play around with it and it makes all kinds of neat noises!

"I wonder what this does...?"

After Mom saw me there, I thought my name was "WTF! Malcolm!". It's confusing when you're little, you know.

Anyhoo. Then, I figured out how to jump up on to the table! Mae wasn't too impressed at first, she's was all - stay on your side, dweeb - but I won her over. I'd lie like this, and make googly eyes at her.

"...*plink plink plink*...hi Mae..."

But, when I'd have a bad dream, or sometimes just because, I'd go find my big brother Gandalf, and he'd make it all better! Not like Mom-all-better, but like, just well, better.

Of course, Atticus is pretty awesome too.

And Mae too, when she thinks no one is looking.

So you see, I'm pretty lucky. And happy! Everyone says I'm cute and funny and sweet and stuff, I have a cool Mom who loves me, brothers and a sister who love me, lots of friends, I get to eat yummy food, and I get a bedtime snack too! I get to snuggle on my Mom's tummy, usually when she's knitting. Even though I have toys, I used to play with poop. But I don't any more! And Mom seems to like that I don't. But I still think spiders and toilet paper are pretty neat to play with!

OK! So, yay me! I'm one!

I kinda need a nap now. This is my favourite spot to sleep! Mae says I snore, but I say she's a gassy McFartysons. Hee hee...

Bye everyone! Thanks for stopping by, and being so nice to me all year! I promise I'm gonna have lots more pictures for you.