Monday, June 29, 2009


Vinnie is a little less unhappy, I think. A couple times a day, I go into his room, and he growls a little less. I've also stopped shutting the door, and instead have just been setting a large suitcase in front of it. It lets some air in (Vinnie's room gets warm during the day) and, if any cat actually wanted to get either in or out of the room, they would be able to. So far, no takers among my little family of unathletic cats!

This evening after work, though, I left the suitcase in the hall when I moved it away, and then I went downstairs. Ten minutes later, I heard meowing at the top of the stairs, and there was Vinnie. A few minutes later, he came down to the main level of the house, where I was baking lemon bars. He sniffed around a lot, then started down the stairs to the lower level.

I think this is as far as he got, because Harley was downstairs.


Eventually he went back up to his room. I think I'll leave the door open tonight and see what happens.

Harley's not sure what she thinks of this course of events, but she seems less freaked out about Vinnie than she was about Dolly. And Dolly still doesn't seem to recognize Vinnie, although she lived with him for 7 years!


And, finally, this summer's goslings and ducklings are starting to explore.

Click to see a few more pictures of backyard fowl.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Checking in

Sorry for disappearing so long. The baby blanket is still not done, and the last week or so has been quite stressful.

A week ago yesterday, on the 16th, one of my co-workers fainted at work. She came to in just a few seconds, and by the time someone came and got me, she was sitting up and talking, although she was very, very pale. We called 911 and the EMTs took her to the ER. Several hours later, while she was waiting to be discharged, she fainted again. This time, she didn't come to and couldn't be revived. She passed away 2 days before her 33rd birthday, probably from a pulmonary embolism.

Kathy was an amazing health sciences librarian. She had only been in the profession for 5 years, but was a real inspiration to a lot of people. You can read about her work with the College of Medicine here.

She was also a great person -- one of the smartest people I've met, with a huge streak of silly. She's also the friend from whom I got Dolly.

Here family flew in from California, and at first thought they didn't want any sort of funeral or service. We told them that we thought the library staff would like one, and the next thing I knew, I was planning a memorial service, which was held on Saturday. We held it in a lecture hall that Kathy spent quite a bit of time in, and had around 140 people in attendance. I lined up several people to talk about their relationships with Kathy -- a couple people from the library, a couple med school faculty and a student, and finally, Kathy's mother and father. The I asked if anyone else wanted to speak, and 4 or 5 people did. We had a series of photos running on a loop on the screen behind the speakers. It was a nice service, and I know her family is glad we did it.

Her family also asked if I would take her other cat, Vinnie, a 15 year old grouchy old man of a cat. He's upstairs in my 'office,' hiding behind the bed and growling and snarling whenever I go in. But he's eating and using the litter box, so I think he'll be okay. Once he comes out from behind the bed, I'll take a picture!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The baby blanket slog continues. It won't be done by Friday, but now I'm hoping for next Friday! And then I'm going to knit something lacy!!!!

Or maybe socks -- I joined the Mean Girls Yarn Club and got my first shipment a couple days ago.

MGYC Aunt Sarah's Pussies

The colorway is called Aunt Sarah's Pussies, in honor of Si and Am, the naughty cats in Lady and the Tramp. Along with the yarn, there was a pretty little stitch marker, a DPN case, and a kitty-shaped lollipop that I'm a little bit afraid to taste!


In non-knitting news, last Saturday night I got to see my favorite Texas musician, Robert Earl Keen, perform here in Iowa City, for free! He was the Saturday night featured act at the Iowa Arts Festival. It rained all morning, and it sure looked like it would rain later, too, but it didn't -- the weather was gorgeous!

Robert Earl Keen
I moved up to the side of the stage to take a few pictures, and I swear that the second after I took this, he looked right at me and smiled - but neither my camera nor I was quick enough to get a second shot!

Three friends went with me, and I was afraid I would be the only REK fan there, but there were obviously a number of people there who knew him. At most REK concerts, I cringe when I see too many A&M t-shirts -- Robert Earl's an Aggie and sometimes his fellow alumni can be kind of obnoxious at concerts. This time, though, I was thrilled to see the maroon, since I knew it meant I wasn't there alone! In fact, during the day, I even wore the maroon t-shirt I got when SCC was in College Station a few years ago.

I was able to replace my Road Goes On Forever bumper sticker (my previous one was in shreds), but I didn't stand in line to get Robert Earl's autograph -- the line was pretty long, which made me happy, too. My sister had gotten an autographed copy of his book for me a few months ago, so it seemed sort of redundant. Although in retrospect -- how cool would it have been to have his autograph on my bumper sticker? Of course, I probably wouldn't have put it on my car then!

* * * * *

There was a request for a photo of the leaves of my mystery tree -- does this help?



Saturday, June 06, 2009

Still here

Still working on the wildly boring baby blanket. The shower is Friday. If I work hard (harder than I have been!), it will be done!

It's a big circular-needle wad at the moment.

baby blanket - again

I haven't let myself work on anything else, so as a result, there's been very little knitting lately.

This afternoon, I went out and bought mint, basil, and sage and repotted them into some pretty pots. (I left a whole lot of pots at my house in San Antonio, so I had to buy new ones.) I've talked about growing herbs forever, and finally decided to do it. They're on my balcony, which is closest to the kitchen. On the patio, I'm afraid they would be a nice snack for the ducks and geese!

potted herbs

I chose herbs that I buy fresh frequently -- I'm currently on a real mint kick. My favorite salad at the moment is baby spinach with strawberries and whatever other berries I have on hand (this week, raspberries and blackberries), mint leaves, and raspberry dressing. And mint is essential to this dish, which is still a favorite. If this experiment works -- meaning they don't die in the next week -- I'll go back for more. Parsley would be nice. Any other ideas?

I also have a new phone, that looks just like my old one. Last Saturday I tried to flip it open to read a text and noticed this:

broken phone, part 1

Opening it up only made it worse.

broken phone, part 2

Of course, it was out of warranty. So I got another, exactly like it. My contract isn't up until March, but I really want to get an iPhone then.

One more thing: anyone from the Upper Midwest know what this tree is?

the tree

My reserved parking space, in front of my townhouse, is under this tree. In the fall, it leaves millions of tiny leaves all over my car, and in the summer, it drops these things:

stuff from the tree

And the birds like to sit in it, too. Knowing what it is would make it easier to think the ugly thoughts that I think about it all the time!