30 December 2007

Hit & Run

On Friday night, I got involved in this case. The wife brought the dog in while her husband was being taken by ambulance to the hospital. I'm not going to share any photos on this one, since they will likely be part of the criminal investigation. Phoebe's wounds were fairly gruesome, though, and she only narrowly escaped wounds that would have been much, much worse. As it is, she has a pelvic fracture that will probably require some sort of surgical repair, and I anticipate that the healing of her other injuries may be less than straightforward.

Until today, the news stories have all mentioned that Mr. Smith was hit while walking his dog, but none have mentioned Phoebe. I've tried to rectify that today and to see if I could generate some donations to help cover her expenses here. I've already written off nearly $700 in my fees and we have a pet assistance fund to help with extraordinary situations like this, but the fund simply is not large enough to absorb all of the expenses associated with her care and it is strictly donation-based.

To that end, I've created the donation button below if anyone would like to help out. This simply goes into my Paypal account and I will, in turn, transfer funds to the pet assistance fund here at the clinic, since we don't currently have any mechanism for direct donation set up aside from people coming in and making one. In the event that any donations were to exceed Phoebe's expenses, they would remain in the pet assistance fund for the next case to come along. There is no tax write-off for this, no particular reward other than helping out a family and dog in need, but I'm sure they'll appreciate it. And I will thank you for it.

25 December 2007

Merry Xmas, Everyone!

It's been an appropriately festive holiday already chez tête-de-laine. I went to breakfast at Becky's with Franklin, Sue and Sue's husband Phil for the second Christmas Eve in a row, which I think makes it a tradition. I managed one surreptitious cell phone pic of the dashing and famous blogger and soon-to-be-famous author.


The Habits and Bartletts really are some wonderful folk and good company, and despite the fact that I was likely babbling incoherently after having worked all night, they still treated me like I was in full possession of my faculties and not drooling all over myself. Or maybe Abigail's just desensitized them to saliva.

I had to take what turned out to be a fairly long nap at the clinic before I was safely rested to drive the hour home, and then David and I had dinner reservations at an Italian restaurant in Portsmouth. Afterwards we came home to a lovely spread of hors d'oeuvres David had prepared beforehand (and which we were too stuffed to eat very much of), I made some hot chocolate, and we opened presents while carols played on the stereo and the kitties played in the wrapping paper. In amongst our gifts to each other was a nice little handknit gift bag from James full of wonderful little souvenirs from New Zealand. I don't have a photo of my own, but you can see Joe's in this post.

Today we are off to my parents' house for Christmas dinner with the family, which is pretty much always a raucous time. And in that spirit, I offer you all this little bit of holiday cheer.

Happy Holidays, y'all!

24 December 2007

Warm Fuzzies

Here's Tuck's finished sweater:


This is actually the second finishing. When I cast off the first time, the neckline sat way down on his shoulders. David said it looked "boatneck-y", and I said it looked like he was ready for a competition at Muscle Beach. So I picked up stitches, undid the cast off - not easy, since I did EZ's sewn cast-off - and turned it into a turtleneck. The final product is quite dashing, don't you think? And he really does love wearing it.

I basically knit this one on the fly, and I'm already thinking about construction details for the next one. His barrel chest and broad shoulders definitely pose some design issues, but David suggested a long-sleeved one and, of course, I'm now compelled to rise to the challenge.

Holiday Wishes

I'm actually off for both Christmas Eve and day this year, so David and I will be going out to dinner and having our little Christmas for two on the eve, then heading to my parents' for Christmas Day. When I get off work this morning I shall be going out for breakfast with Franklin and Sue. We're shooting for a somewhat brunchier hour, so that I have time to deal with any last-minute cases that might come along and so that David can hopefully drive up to join us. We did this last Christmas Eve and really had a nice time.

My hope for all of you out there in Blogland is that you have company this holiday season that is every bit as wonderful.

22 December 2007

Who Wouldn't?

Fall in love with this face, that is.


I was also going to take photos of his new sweater, but the neckline really needs to be extended, which means picking out the cast off (EZ sewn cast off, no less). It really is frightfully butch, though, and he loves it.

20 December 2007


...is doing well in his new home. Yesterday was a little stressful for him, being in a new place with mostly new faces, but he's settling in well, all things considered. He's already trying to get the cats to play with him, which is going about as well as one would expect. Which, of course, means it isn't (I'll see if I can't get a video, 'cause it's pretty damned funny). Still, Tolo actually came out of hiding today and they even touched noses briefly, so it may not be totally out of the question.

The biggest issue that we'll have to deal with, aside from the obvious medical ones, is a bit of separation anxiety. This isn't unusual for animals coming out of abuse/neglect cases. Since they've been abandoned or otherwise let down by humans in the past, they've got a very legitimate reason to fear that it will happen again. So we're starting in on the behavioral modification right away. He's still pretty much stuck to me like glue, but he's a pretty sharp one and I can see that he's already starting to figure things out.

If you're interested in knowing more about the situation he came from, I found this article & video. There's nothing too graphic in the video, but Tuck was one of the cases that led to criminal charges against the people. That he's done as well as he has is a testament to the dedication of the folks who have been working with these dogs

One More Thing

Turns out I didn't have as much of the C220 as I thought I did - or at least not where I can readily find it - so I've cast on a doggie sweater in some natural heathery lopi-style yarn from Sweden that I had in stash. I'm doing it in wide ribs with a chunky cable running along the back, which will look ever so butch.

17 December 2007

Oh the Weather Outside Was Frightful

This was the scene yesterday morning when I was getting ready to leave work.


It had only been snowing for a few hours at that point, but it was near blizzard conditions. David called from home and told me not to attempt the drive because he didn't think he'd be able to get the driveway cleared enough for me to get in. So I called over to my friend Shawn's house, which isn't too far from the clinic, to see if they were up for a wayward traveller.

Shawn works part-time at a zoo down in Boston, so he was snowed in there, but his partner Chris was home and told me to come on over. So we had a pleasant day hanging out mostly indoors with their two dogs and four cats, with a bit of snow shoveling and plenty of very good food and good company.

Of course, not having planned for an overnighter, I was lacking in a few necessities, most important being shaving materials and clean underwear. So today I made like a certain sheep and popped over to Target for some fresh undies. I also got some gift wrapping matériel and got all the gifts I've been accumulating here at work wrapped up to go under around the tree. Then it was off to Whole Foods for a few necessary toiletry items and a very, very early arrival at the workplace.

FSM willing, I may try to get in a nap tonight, as tomorrow's going to be a busy day, too. First on the agenda will be signing some paperwork so that I can bring a certain little fella home with me to meet David & the cats. He's been called Romeo at the shelter, but I'm changing it to Tuck. This article should give you the information to understand why I picked that name (aside from it just fitting him well). One of the first orders of business once he's home is to measure him for that sweater.

Catching Up with Technology

David and I have been swapping off our single cell phone for two years now, but now that he's got the warehouse and is working away from the house more it's getting more difficult to coordinate and we decided it was best to become a two cell phone family. This is the one I picked:

It should be arriving tomorrow, and I'm as excited as a little girl.

14 December 2007

A Word of Advice, and Some Less Painful Stuff

If you own a wolf hybrid, you should make damn sure that he is not able to escape and run off into the woods. Otherwise, he might come back looking like this:


Can't see that closely enough? How about this?


Fortunately, no bones were broken and his toes were still warm, albeit very badly bruised, so he'll likely do fine. Turns out he's gotten loose and damn near gotten himself killed before this, too, so who knows what it'll be next time.

And Now for Something(s) Completely Different

Let's see.... It snowed here last night.


I'm very excited at the prospect of having a white Christmas this year, since we missed out on one last year and the year before started brown, then saw us driving home from my grandmother's in an ice storm. Of course, there are 11 more days to go and today's temperature is supposed to rise to about 40F, but we're expecting a Nor'easter on Sunday which should bring even more of the white stuff.

What else? I cast on finally for the wedding vest.


That's a provisional cast-on in purple laceweight with 341 stitches. I'm now 3 whole rows into the hem, and I am just hoping and praying that my gauge swatch didn't lie by too much. I'd really hate to have to start over. The plan is to knit the hem flat, then turn it up, cast on steek stitches, and continue in the round in color pattern. After the front steek is cut, then I'll knit on the button band and facing as one would a shawl edging. This will allow me to place horizontal buttonholes, which won't gape like a vertical buttonhole is prone to do. I've only got 6 months and one week to go, so I'd better get cracking, eh?

Oh, one last thing. On Wednesday, I got to meet this little fella:

121207Romeo 001

Here's the video:

Once I actually sat down on the floor, he came back out and climbed into my lap for some more lovin'. He's the last of the frenchies to be adopted or go to frenchie rescue. His current foster person didn't want him to be bounced around between homes, as he's still coming out of his shell and learning what it's like to be a loved dog. He's also got some significant, but treatable or manageable, health issues. The only remaining concern is how he'll do with the cats, so I'm hoping to be able to bring him home for a trial run next week, when I'm off and will have the time to spend with him and supervise introductions. I'm pretty optimistic, though. So much so that I'm already planning a sweater for him in my head. I have some green heather C220 that'll be perfect.

10 December 2007

You Could've Knocked Me Over with a Feather

Last night I showed David & Don the video of the frenchie I posted here. And then I showed them this video of Janie Sparkles, which is just too precious for words.

Then David said, "If you can find one without any major health issues who's good with cats, I'd be okay with you bringing one home." So I guess on my way home from work Wednesday, I'll be stopping by the shelter that's currently housing the frenchies to get a better look at them (FYI, Stephen, they're in the process of coordinating foster homes with Frenchie Rescue). It's by no means a done deal, since a lot of these dogs have issues and frenchies don't always do well with cats, but we'll see what comes of it.


Just to clear up any confusion, cockaigne is an English word derived from (presumably Norman) French, so I pronounce it as rhyming with the modern English pronunciation of champagne.

Flogging My Cockaigne

I'd blame Rabbitch for the title of this post, since we all know what a shameless trollop she is, but I will confess to having thought of it myself. I'm sure she's corrupted my innocent little mind, though, so I'm gonna blame her anyway. And see what sort of google searches hit this post.

Okay, I promised a recipe, so I guess I'd better deliver.


Preheat oven to 400ºF/204ºC

Sift together:

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar

Into this mixture, cut in 2-3 tablespoons of plain unsalted butter. In a measuring cup, beat one egg, ½ teaspoon vanilla, & enough plain yogurt to make ½ cup (about 120cc). Add this to the flour mixture and mix to make a stiff dough. Spread out on the bottom of a well-greased 10" (25cm) pan, mounding up slightly around the outside to hold the filling.

To make the filling, squeeze the pulp out of three clementine oranges (a puree of a small can of mandarain oranges would likely be a reasonable substitute out of season). To this, add one cup of sugar and 1½ to 2 cups of fresh cranberries. Boil these down until all the cranberries have popped and spoon the solid(er) portion into the center of the dough (The remaining syrup can be used later for pancakes or some other bit of yumminess). Pop the pan into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes and allow it to cool a little before cutting and serving.

I only got to taste an earlier, slightly overcooked version of this recipe, but the one I showed in the last post was a huge success. Visiting friend Don said he wanted me to make it for him every day.


Speaking of Don, he went with us to pick out our holiday tree the other night and snapped this pic of David & myself with his cell phone.


We ultimately settled on a little potted balsam fir, so that we can plant it when the ground thaws and so we'd have a very heavy base that the cats can't knock over. Since we didn't really trust Cougar not to attack it, we left off all breakable ornaments. It makes for a fairly sparsely decorated tree, but I think it's homely in the best sense of the word.


Except, perhaps, for the creepy, disembodied, demented Santa head ornament.


It doesn't show too well in this, but the thing has these bizarre sideways-glancing pale blue eyes. In a way, the grotesqueness of it is the most compelling reason to put it on the tree. Or maybe that's just the demon voices talking.

08 December 2007

Look at the Pretty Pictures

I should write more to go with these pictures, but I'm tired and have had a headache for a few days that I can't seem to shake. I was hoping that neti pot and a hot bath before work would help, but it didn't. Anyway, I think I may have mentioned that Mendy, David's customer service rep down in Tennessee, came to visit last week. Since we had an appointment with the minister last week, as well, we took Mendy with us Downeast so she could get in a little sightseeing. I'm still trying to get all of them off my camera, but I did get a few uploaded to Flickr before I came in to work.

This one is of Mendy in the Schoodic Point section of Acadia National Park. We encountered some heavy flurries, so she had to get out of the car to catch a snowflake on her tongue.


And this one is of the snow clouds after they'd moved offshore. The photo can't quite do justice to the quality of the light, which was shimmering in blue, pink, and silver off the water.


This is the house where my grandmother grew up in Winter Harbor. I have always loved this house, not least because it has a name - Casa Marina. My grandmother's sister owns the house now, and I worry what will become of it when she's gone. I would live here in a heartbeat.


And this one is of the harbor in the little fishing village of Corea. I was reminded of this vista when James posted a harbor photo from his visit to Ireland in this post. The architecture may be different, but the boats are just the same.


Baking Porn


While I was here at work this evening saving puppies and kitties, David was holding a party to christen his new(ish) warehouse space. And even though I wasn't able to swap a shift around with anyone, I was recruited to contribute to the spread of food. So in the wee hours of last night I made some spinach dip, sliced up some veggies and hollowed out a sourdough boule for that. And then I baked the luscious beauty you see above.

I adapted the recipe for "apple cockaigne" from Joy of Cooking. I did a bit of reading, and apparently the Rombauers applied the term "cockaigne" to recipes they particularly liked, Cockaigne being the name of a fictional medieval utopia (and their family home, continuing the theme of named houses). David really likes the part about it raining cheese there (in the fictional version, not at the Rombauer place).

The name was supposedly originally derived from the name of a type of small sweet cake, so I suppose it's appropriate to apply it to this tartlike delicacy, which I adapted to a cranberry-orange filling. I'm told it was very tasty, and I shall post the recipe later, after I've had a chance to get a nap. Have to do something to keep y'all coming back, right?

07 December 2007

06 December 2007


This one is especially for Stephen. This little guy was confiscated in a raid on a local puppy mill a few months back. The state has moved really quickly on getting this case through the courts - likely because they now have 300 or so dogs that they're paying to take care of. He just got neutered today and stayed the night for us to watch because he's a got a wicked heart murmur (grade 5 out of 6, with 6 being the loudest). I don't even know if he has a name.

Otherwise, tonight's been mostly a night for catching up on some sock knitting. I'm working on the heel to the first Hundertwasser sock (using the Sherman short row technique. I had actually done the heel over the weekend and figured out when I finished that I needed to add another inch and a half to the foot. That'll teach me to be optimistic.

05 December 2007

I Am the Gentleman

Courtesy of The Mafia, 'cause I'm too damn tired tonight to offer up anything else. That and, well, there's just not much to offer. Between work and that tired thing, there hasn't even been any knitting for 3 days now, and I'm still working on editing the pics on my camera to share some of them (see that tired thing again).

The Gentleman

Deliberate Gentle Love Master (DGLM)

The Gentleman

Steady & mature. You are The Gentleman.

For anyone looking for an even-keeled, considerate lover, you're their man. You're sophisticated. You know what you want both in a relationship and outside of it. You have a substantial romantic side, and you're experienced enough sexually to handle yourself in that arena, too. Your future relationships will be long-lasting; you're classic "marrying material," a prize in the eyes of many.

It's possible that behind it all, you're a bit of a male slut. Your best friends know that in relationships you're fundamentally sex-driven. You're a safe, reliable guy, who does get laid. In a lot of ways, you're like a well-worn, comfortable pair of socks. Did you ever jack off into one of those? All the time.

Your ideal mate is NOT a nut-job. He is giving and loving, like you, but also experienced.

Your exact male opposite:

The Last Man on Earth

The Last Man on Earth

Random Brutal Sex Dreamer

Always avoid: The False Messiah (DBLM)

Consider: The Gentleman (DGLM), someone just like you.

Link: The Online Dating Persona Test @ OkCupid - free online dating.

And I've seen this one a couple of places now, but most recently from Brett. No big surprises here.

Your Inner Color is Blue

Your Personality: Your natural warmth and intuition nurtures those around you. You are accepting and always follow your heart.

You in Love: Relationships are your top priority, and this includes love. You are most happy when you are serious with someone.

Your Career: You need to help others in your job to feel satistifed. You would be a great nurse, psychologist, or counselor.

02 December 2007

The Ecstasy of Da Feet, or Ich Liebe Wärmflaschen

But first, an overdue FO photo:


I had intended also to snap a photo of the back, as that's not often shown, but I was all excited and running on too little sleep and packed it and shipped it off to my cousin Brian, who's currently stationed on a remote field operations base in Afghanistan. I had a packet of RedMaple Classic Crew socks to send him and figured he could pass the BSJ and a hat I knat along to one of the locals working on the base. It's a much poorer area than Kabul (which is already quite poor) and an area of at least some Taliban activity, so groups like Afghans for Afghans are less likely to do distributions there.

Anyway, onward to da feet. It has gotten cold here, folks. Colder'n a witch's titty in a brass bra, as we are wont to say in my family. And in the cold part of the year, the coldest part of my body is my feet. As I sit typing this, I am wearing two pairs of alpaca socks and felted wool slippers (those double-soled Fiber Trends ones), and my toes are at that painful stage of cold. I actually think it may be Raynaud's phenomenon, as it often takes some time for circulation to return to my toes and for them to warm up.

Since we keep the thermostat turned down to about 55ºF (13ºC) at night through the winter, this means that my cold, cold feet are generally getting into a cold, cold bed this time of year, and my blanched and ouchy toes do not make for good sleep. David's actually very good about putting his feet up against mine when we cuddle to help warm them up (yet another reason I love him so dearly), but my back just doesn't allow me to spoon all night long. His doesn't, either, for that matter.

So it was with a particular frisson of pleasure that I took delivery the other day on a pair of Fashy hot water bottles purchased through Amazon. I did not order covers, since I figured I could make them cheaper. It turns out much cheaper, as David suggested using some extra swatches he had for a bouclé alpaca throw in his line. They were of a perfect size, so it was a simple matter of getting out the serger and sewing around three sides to make wonderfully soft sleeves to put them in. I can slip one under the sheets on my side of the bed before David goes to bed, then when my bedtime rolls around I can climb into a toasty warm bed. And it stays warm all night long.

This week our friend Mendy has been visiting from Tennessee (photos forthcoming), so I let her use one of them, which will also be serving to warm our bed once she heads home in the morning. She loved it so much (She tucked it under her shirt and called it her "baby". I'm pretty sure she was joking. Mostly.) that we went online and ordered her one of her very own.

I may still need to make her open up her luggage for inspection before she leaves this morning, though.

26 November 2007

FN(early): BSJ

I figured FN comes just before FO. The BSJ still needs to be seamed and needs buttons, but it's off the needles.


You can see the transition from original brown to my dye job near the bottom. If it were in the middle of a typical pullover, this would not work at all, but since the BSJ is supposed to look a bit scrappy and modular, it works great. I should be able to get the rest done during my off week and get this headed to Afghanistan.

Assticle Answers

Ted - Yes, indeed, there are canine and feline blood banks where we can purchase blood in the event a transfusion is necessary. We try to have some on hand at all times because we do see bleeding tumors (thought generally not Assticles) and other disorders quite frequently. In this case, however, the expense of a transfusion would have likely been a life or death matter for the dog, as even proceeding with the surgery required some discussion.

JJ - My suspicion is that the mass is a liposarcoma, and I'm by no means convinced my excision was complete (though I did get out all the necrotic crap). I had the owners take it to their regular veterinarian to have it sent out, though, because of the aforementioned cost concerns. The other lipoma, which is almost certainly benign, actually does cause some mobility issues for the dog, but as I said, it wasn't bleeding, and the dog still wags her tail and is perfectly happy to hobble along. I still think she'd be happier if she didn't have it, but sometimes we have to settle for good enough.

I don't use Fluorofil very often, usually preferring PDS, though they handle somewhat similarly. I let the techs vote on this one, though I think the PDS would have shown up better. I don't do very much oral work, but I did have to repair a lower lip avulsion in a silky terrier last weekend. Used 4-0 PDS, after extracting all the nasty lower incisors - they needed to come out anyway, and removing them made my job much easier.

25 November 2007

Attack of the Assticle

Okay, this post contains work-related ick, so if you're one of the weak-stomached types, you may want to stop right here.

So now that they're gone, I'll tell you a little story about last night at work (There's a photo, too, but only an "after" one. I do have some sense of decorum.). One of the uncanny things about emergency work is that cases often tend to come in clusters. Everything can be nice and sedate and then...

...*bam*, six cases walk through the door in as many minutes.

Such was the situation last night, and in the midst of everything came Cassidy, a very obese and very sweet old golden retriever. Cassidy's regular vet had her scheduled on Monday for surgery on what they thought was a hernia protruding out next to her anus. This type of hernia is fairly serious, as it is fairly easy for bowel that slips into the hernia ring to get pinched off and lose blood supply, which can be life-threatening.

Only this turned out not to be a hernia, but a large mass that had ruptured and was bleeding all over the place, very heavily. This is also not a good thing, so we rushed her to the treatment area and hastily fashioned a diaper of sorts to put some pressure on the mass and stop the bleeding. The way forward from there, of course, was obvious. The mass would have to be removed.

So Cassidy was admitted, we ascertained that all her important parts were functioning properly and that we didn't have a scary amount of blood loss and proceeded (once the rest of the evening's onslaught had been dealt with) to anesthetize her and prep her for surgery. As we were prepping, we noted that the largely hairless mass resembled nothing so much as a large, ugly scrotum holding a single testicle.

So I started calling it The Assticle.

Removing The Assticle was a little bit of a challenge, as all it wanted to do was break apart and bleed. Profusely. All over my scrubs*. But I quickly hacked and slashed and packed and got the bleeding stopped and the wound closed. I think I did a rather good job, under the circumstances.


Cassidy's rather happy to be rid of it, too. Of course, there's still the matter of the football-sized fatty tumor inside her left hind leg, but that one's not bleeding and is not going to be my problem.

* I keep extra scrubs on hand for just such an occasion, so I did not have to walk around covered in Assticle blood all night. Just in case you were wondering.

A Little Rant

The other day I got two sizeable packages in the mail. One from the Humane Society of the United States and one from the International Fund for Animal Welfare. These were in very similar large white plastic "envelopes", and within these envelopes were clear plastic bags that were vacuum-sealed and contained thin polyester fleece blankets made in China with cutesy designs that are supposed to make me want to contribute to these organizations "to help the animals".

Two plastic bags each to go to the landfill and petrochemical blankets mass-produced by factories in China, where their commitment to eco-friendliness, human rights, and animal welfare is so well known around the world.

To help the animals.

Guess who won't be getting any money from me. I did, however, add the blankets to our clinic collection of cage bedding. To help the animals.

23 November 2007

Dyeing to Finish

The BSJ continues apace, but I am very nearly finished with the yarn I started with.You can see the shape of it really well now, though.


Of course, as I mentioned earlier, running out of yarn necessitated dyeing more to be able to finish this project up. So I skeined up one of the balls of undyed, light lopi type yarn I got from Debbie at Nordic Fiber Arts when she was doing a bit of destashing last winter. I had thought it would be particularly useful for charitable projects just like this one. No ballband on this or another just like it, as they'd been wound off into cakes sometime well in the past, but it's definitely wool and was definitely greasy. Washing it in Synthrapol got out quite a lot of dirt and grease.


And then I made up a dyebath with equal parts "Evergreen", "Chocolate Brown", and just a tiny bit of "Bright Red". I was kind of hoping for a dark olive-y color, but it was a total experiment and I really wasn't sure what to expect. What I did get was this:


Not exactly expected, but still quite nice. It's a touch lighter than the original brown with a bit more tonal variation, but I think it's a hue that won't look like ass against the original, which was my absolute biggest worry.

If only I'd remembered to bring it to work with me.

21 November 2007


I am now at the point in the BSJ where the body length is extended downward - ten ridges of straight garter stitch before the "hem" and button plackets - and it is clear that I will not have enough yarn to finish. This will not do.

Fortunately, I have determined that I have a yarn in stash which is a very close approximation to this one. The only problem is that it's undyed, which means that I will have to dye it. I have dyes, and David has dyepots, but my dyeing expertise is rather lacking. Still, I suppose, it behooves one to learn such things, and at least this is not a project that will require an exact match. I'm thinking a dark olive green.

Tofurky Day

I shall be working the holiday, so before I head home this morning, I'll be swinging by Whole Foods to find a suitable faux turkey product, perhaps some herbed bread crumbs for dressing, and a few other fixin's so that David (who returned home from Peru on Monday - Yay!) and I can have our little holiday dinner for two tonight.

For the rest of you out there, whether you celebrate this holiday or not, I hope you have a wonderful Thursday and a wonderful weekend. Spend them with people you love.

17 November 2007

An Economics Lesson

Coming home from work this morning, my stupid snotty nose was itching and I was starting to sneeze, so I thought it would be a good idea to stop off at the local pharmacy to get some decongestant and antihistamine of a 24 hour variety. This would a) mean I wouldn't have to down Theraflu every 4 hours, and b) mean I can indulge myself with a little bourbon and honey this evening (which is not safe to do concurrently with Theraflu, which contains acetaminophen). I figure if I'm going to be sick, I may as well be able to indulge in the rare drink of bourbon without worrying about my liver melting.

So I made for the pharmacy counter, since Big Brother has decided that we're not to be trusted with the pseudoephedrine anymore. This mega-chain now has their store version of Claritin-D 24-hour in a 15 count box. Okay, I figure, I'll get that. What I don't need for the cold, David can use, since he needs it for his allergies. The problem: I now can't buy the 10 count box of plain old 24 hour pseudoephedrine I would use later for my chronic non-allergic sinus issues, because it puts me over the 2400mg per purchase limit that Big Brother has decided will keep me from running out and setting up my very own meth lab.

Score one for the War on Drugs, right? What's a little hassle when it means saving people from meth addiction, right? Well, maybe not so much.

The reason that these restrictions came about was that some addicts got it into their heads to go buy up large quantities of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine products and set up their own homegrown labs. This allowed them to churn out small to moderate quantities of low-grade drug, but the main source for high-grade meth was and continues to be high-tech superlabs operating with relative impunity in Mexico.

Of course, the latest data available from the government reports that there was a 40% reduction in first-time use from 2003 to 2004 - well over a year before the federal restrictions were enacted and subsequently signed into law by the Current Occupant. There isn't later data, but I suspect this drop was akin to a market correction after a bubble market - the cool kids had lost all their teeth and it kind of killed the glamour.

So what did the restrictions accomplish? There is absolutely no government data available since they went into effect in early 2006, but the likely scenario is pretty clear. With the restrictions in place, the backyard meth labs were pretty much cut off from their source of raw materials, and it's likely that most of them were shut down. Their supply became too scarce and raised their costs of production too high. Which leaves the Mexican superlabs.

With the capital to fund production, a relatively much more available supply of raw materials, and now with much of their competition eliminated, these labs have now essentially been handed a corner on the market. I'm sure that there are rival cartels involved and that bloodletting occurs between them (which helps keep up the street price by increasing production costs), but that doesn't change the fact that the restrictions ultimately only serve as an economic subsidy to Mexican druglords. Well, that and as a royal pain in my arse.

You'd think that our elected officials would have taken at least a high school economics course.

16 November 2007

Revenge of The Crud, or Snot Pwns Me

There are few things that feel worse than waking up because you're choking on your own snot. Especially when you have a serious suffocation/drowning phobia. The Crud decided I was getting a bit too blithe about it's presence, and decided to smack the living shit out of me on Tuesday (causing me to give Chicks with Sticks a miss). This was, of course, the day after David left for a week-long trip to Peru to meet with suppliers and deal with some production issues (Yes, I realize that could sound bad out of context, but we all know better). He now thinks I get sick every time he leaves town.

Of course, the downside to being essential personnel at work is that I can't really stay home while I get over this. So I've been spending my off days sleeping, knitting, watching videos and eating comfort food, and then I come to work and get by with help from Theraflu and Airborne. It is starting to get better, but this whole choking-on-snot thing definitely cut into my sleep last night. I at least got some minor compensation in the form of this sky on my way to work this evening:


I don't think the camera quite caught the subtle play of light off of these clouds, but it was pretty striking against the overcast backdrop.

As promised, I did also get a progress shot on the BSJ. I've finished the decreases that make the sleeve and have started the increases to make the body/front. I folded it up to show how it will look when finished, and I think the colors rendered pretty true in this shot (yes, it's on a pink tabletop).


On Telecom Amnesty

This is the letter I just sent to both of my (Republican) senators:

I am writing you regarding the proposed changes to the FISA act, specifically with respect to the proposals to grant immunity to the telecom corporations that have allegedly participated in the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. I wish to register my strong opposition to any plan that would grant immunity to these companies.

If, as the President says, we are a “nation of laws”, then it is absolutely unconscionable that such a measure would even be considered. To do so would not serve in the least the good of the American people and would only erode further our fundamental liberties, which have been consistently and continuously undermined over the past 6 years, often with the support of your office.

I find the Administration’s dissembling in this matter most disingenuous. If, as they claim, “ordinary Americans” have not been monitored and no wrong has been done, then I do not believe they have a legitimate national security interest in denying the American people proof of that assertion. The proposed telecom amnesty is no more than an effort to indemnify proactively corporate parties that have knowingly participated in the Administration’s dubious activities, thereby precluding any legitimate inquiry into the matter, which will almost certainly have to be handled through the court system.

If you do vote in favor of granting amnesty to these corporate entities, it will do nothing so much as send a clear message that you do not care about the fundamental rights of the American people, nor believe in the fundamental concept of government requiring the consent of the governed. I am already doubtful of your commitment to just government, as your office chose not even to acknowledge my views regarding the defense spending bill last spring, having already decided, apparently, to toe the party line and continue to grant the President carte blanche to prosecute his deadly and ideologically-driven war. I would hope, however, that this time you will take the opportunity to prove me wrong.

At some point there will be updates on the BSJ, but between work (very busy), The Crud (raging back with a vengeance and now, thankfully, waning again), and temporary bachelor life (David's on a business trip to Peru), there's not been much of a chance to get a good progress photo.

11 November 2007

Wayback Machine, BSJ, & Kitty Smackdown

Since I'm very near the deadline for KitKat's contest, this is going to be heavier on photos than words.

One year ago, I was working on socks in Mountain Colors Bearfoot for my nephew:



The BSJ I referred to, for the person or persons who didn't know, is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. This is in stash yarn (wool/mo blend, as I recall) from Rhinebeck two years ago:


The colors are a bit lighter than the photo - chocolatey brown with purple undertones and a complementary skein of hand-painted multi.

Kitty Smackdown

This has been the scene in our house for the past couple weeks:


It's actually a bit more than Tolo wants, though he instigates a lot of it. At this particular moment, he wasn't in the mood, but Cougar wasn't gonna take no for an answer. More photos on Flickr.

10 November 2007

Cheez Sammedge Sez...




Yet to come (because I forgot to take a photo): Startitis, or Why I Just Had To Cast On That BSJ

06 November 2007

Koolhaas Finished


Pardon the crap work camera photo (yet again). I finished earlier tonight shortly after I got to work. This was quite a satisfying knit - relatively simple with an easy to memorize stitch pattern, but with the cabling to keep me on my toes and thinking about what I was doing. I will very often modify something if I'm working with an existing pattern, but the only thing I changed on this was doing the ssk decreases as k2togtbl. It's a minor change and probably not noticeable, but I wanted to maintain the twisted stitch appearance.

The Highlander was also really nice to work with. For all the time I fondled this yarn and played with the prototypes while it was in development - not to mention coming up with names for most of the colorways - this is the first project I've actually knat with it. Wonderfully soft and very warm, and I'm thinking about working some matching wristers worked in this stitch pattern to go with the hat.

The other neat thing about this hat? It looks totally nice on the reverse side, too, so I made sure to weave in the ends so they're not noticeable.


Not the same sense of movement the right side has, but some days you just need a change. Or, you know, have to dress yourself in the dark.

02 November 2007

Morning Haiku

Black roasted goodness
Slowly dripping in carafe
Awake for drive home

Actually, a nap at the halfway point may still be necessary to make it home, but the coffee will certainly help. I've been particularly sleepy the past few days because I've been battling The Crud that's been going around the office. It appears that I may actually be getting the better of it, but I'm a bit concerned it may just be waiting for me to drop my guard. The Crud is tricky that way.

Between all the sleeping and a fairly busy midweek at work, there hasn't been a lot of knitting going on. I did manage to make some progress on Koolhaas between sleeps the other night, though, and I finally managed to take a (very crap) photo with the clinic camera.


Turns out this is looking quite nice in the Highlander, so I'm very excited to finish this so I can move on to doing it in the Shokay, which arrived on my doorstep Wednesday. There shall be a photo of that at some point, but there's no more time this morning. I need to finish up here and hit the road for home. But maybe just a bit more coffee....

29 October 2007

29 Hours


That's all it took before play finally commenced. To be sure, it was a bit tentative at first - a little growling when someone got a little outside their comfort zone - but now that we're past the 48 hour mark, they're definitely enjoying hanging together. About an hour ago, Tolo went tearing out of David's office, where they both were, into the living room. After a minute or so of sitting on the stairs and watching for Cougar to follow him, he went back into David's office to find his new buddy, and then tore back out to the living room again, where Cougar soon followed.


If you don't follow Jared's blog or haven't seen the IK Holiday Gifts issue yet, then you may possibly have missed this excellent hat. On Saturday at Rhinebeck, I had a woman come by our booth asking specifically if any of our yarns would work for it. Alpaca with a Twist Highlander is certainly the right weight for it, but I had a feeling that the tweedy look of it might dilute the stitch definition and she walked away empty-handed.

On Sunday, Jared himself actually wandered through our booth, and I might have put him on the spot and asked him his opinion, except I was busy with someone else and didn't get a chance to say hi before he'd wandered off. So I've decided I should probably figure out for myself how it looks and will be casting on tonight. I also figure it'll be a fun practice run while I wait for my Shokay Shambala yarn to arrive.

27 October 2007

Guess Who's Home!


The splint came off his left leg on Wednesday, and I took the one off the right last night. He's got a nasty little pressure sore on that leg, so he gets to wear the party hat for a bit until it's healed. After a month and a half of splints, he goose-steps a little bit, but I expect that'll improve fairly quickly.

He managed the entire hour ride home without soiling his carrier, which I understand has been an issue. He also didn't cry much at all. Tristan und Isolde was playing on the radio the whole way, so it must have been the powerful calming effect of Wagner. Or perhaps the fact that I didn't feed him after last night's dinner in hopes that he'd be a bit more, well, empty.

To do the initial introduction, David sat in the living room with Tolo and Inga and I let Cougar wander in from David's office. He goose-stepped right over to Tolo, sniffed noses, and then hissed. Tolo ran away and hid, and Inga turned around and said, "Um, nice, now where's my food?" We repeated the introduction with Sylvie a short time later, and as expected, she told us how much she hated us and how she'd make us pay and this is her house, and don'tyouknowit'ssupposedtobeallaboutme?!

I predicted that Cougar and Tolo would be pals within 48 hours, and I still think that it's very much within the realm of possibility. They're definitely interested in one another, though very wary as yet - quite a lot of no-I'm-not-really-following-you going on. I am, however, very slightly less certain about my timeline at the moment, vague and totally unbinding as it may have been.

In Other News

Because, it seems, I needed a simple project to work on to avoid the projects I need to be doing while away the times when I can't do anything more complex, I cast on for a sock with one of the balls of Opal Hundertwasser sock yarn. This is the colorway Seeschlange ("Seasnake").


I got a pair of US1(2.5mm) 12"(30cm) Addi Turbos for this project, since I haven't enjoyed two circs in the past using longer cables, and did a Turkish cast on with a Sherman short row toe, working a relatively low number of short rows because of my broad toes. I was thinking to do the same at the heel, only with more short rows because of my deep, narrow heels, but I may decide to do a widdershins heel instead.

One thing I know I won't be doing is making these socks match. I'm pretty sure that to do so would have been anathema to Hundertwasser. It's arguable that it might also have been anathema to mass-produce yarn based on his artworks, but at least one can assure that the end products are all unique.

25 October 2007

Baby Names


David tells me this one's name is Cougar. His left leg appears ready to have the splint off, and I'm thinking to bring him home with me this weekend.


He didn't tell me that this one (born last week) is Haylex. I had to find out from Val.


And I decided that this one is Lakshmi. That's her half-sister Sibri behind her (Haylex is their first cousin). We're going to try for a full sister for next year.

In the Full of the Moon

Technically last night was still waxing gibbous at 98% of full that's apparently close enough for jazz. Last spring (maybe summer, actually, but you get the general idea), some folks at Colorado State's vet school had a study published showing a small but significant uptick in visits to their emergency service during the full moon, and that certainly seemed to be the case here last night. I'm exhausted and ate far too much chocolate in an effort to retain my sanity. A nap before driving home is going to be in order.

This, of course, was after waking up earlier than planned and getting a call from the ladies as soon as I rolled out of bed to come look at their old mama goat, who wasn't doing well. So I went over to examine her and determined that she needed to go see their regular large animal person, who has the facilities to hospitalize, then gave her some Banamine to make her more comfortable in the meantime.

And then David was having fits because Earthlink decided he'd used his allotted bandwidth for the next month and shut his business site down - for the next three weeks. I'd gently told him before that he really needed to find a better hosting option, but tech things scare him and he's had more pressing matters. His office manager is equally tech-phobic and was all ready to go with bundled service through Comcast at a ridiculous cost. Thanks to knitnzu (who blogged about it) and Steph (whom I e-mailed), they're exploring considerably saner and cheaper options and will hopefully get something resolved quickly.

Note to Elizabeth: Yes, we do still have some herd yarn, but your comment didn't give me an e-mail address to respond to and your profile isn't public. Um, scratch that, as I seem to be able to access it now. Anyone else who might be interested, though, can e-mail me at mel dot vassey at gmail dot com.

22 October 2007

Rhinebeck Recap

Let me just start by saying that I met way the hell too many bloggers this weekend to even begin to remember all of them, let alone remember everyone I ought to link to, so I'm going to stick to pictures, of which there are far too few. At least for the most part.

First of all, though, I thought I'd share our little adventure getting there. We were leaving Thursday afternoon, since they were allowing vendors onto the fairgrounds to do setup on both Thursday and Friday and David is very, very, very particular about booth layout. Seriously, he's a designer, a total detail geek. He did mock setup in his warehouse and plotted everything out on the computer weeks in advance.

So we had his truck all loaded up and just had to run a couple of errands and pick up a few more items from the warehouse and we were on our way. Except the truck wouldn't start. So AAA was called and the straight male neighbors were drawn to our driveway as if to some strange broken car pheromone, and after poking around and testing the battery and me trying to crank the thing to hear what it was doing (a single click and then nothing), I decided that a starter problem seemed the most plausible explanation. The AAA guy agreed, so he loaded the pickup onto his flatbed and towed it the 20o ft. to the service station, where they told us they wouldn't be able to get to it before the following day.

So with David on the verge of a nervous breakdown, we determined that the nearest U-Haul had cargo vans available. A quick trip later, we had secured one and transferred everything over from David's truck. Then we had to get to the warehouse and run the other errands that needed to get done and finally got on the road - 4½ hours later than planned. This got us to Rhinebeck around 10:30PM, so we continued on to Kingston and stopped at the diner across from the hotel for a late dinner before we checked in and collapsed into bed.

The night's rest (as well as David's thorough planning and a little help from our dear pal Stitchy McYarnpants) did us good, though, because on Friday we managed to set the booth up in record time, even with stifling humidity that had us both rather damp with sweat. And neighbors down the way who blasted their very whiny & grating contemporary Christian music for everyone's edification, and who had all their stuff out in the middle of the aisle so that we couldn't pull the van out when we finished (and then moved it back into the aisle on Sunday so that we couldn't get the van in to load up our things). Stitchy offered to go fish her Ministry CD out of her car, and had we had a boombox I might have taken her up on it.

The rest of the weekend, though rather draining, was just fantastic. Although being there as vendors does make for a good excuse never to miss Rhinebeck, it does make it hard to get out and socialize as much as I'd really like. Fortunately, though, between the Blogger Bingo and the Ravelry goings-on, we really got to see a ton of people.


Like Mar, who was our very first visitor on Saturday.


And Carol, who was visitor #2, and who has a pic of what's underneath the kilt (and one of me with David that I love, love, love) here.


And Joe, who was there with Thaddeus (who snapped this photo). Joe became David's hero instantly by buying a sweater's worth of David's herd yarn.


And Ted and Lee Ann, who was even sexier than usual in the gorgeous stole Ted recently sent her. "F*ing drop-dead gorgeous," indeed. Why else do you think I was showing off more leg?


And of course, the famous author and her enchanting bouncer. And no, my right hand is not doing anything rude, because a) Juno would probably hurt me and b) there's that whole gay thing.


Of course, I wasn't the only kilted one; Dave made a showing, as expected.


I also had the pleasure of meeting Rachael, and we had David snap this photo especially for Rabbitch (I'm not certain if David took this with us so off-center to try to avoid the woman who was wandering into the picture, or if he was just trying to get a better pic of his sock display).

Somehow I missed getting pics with Cheryl, or Norma (who managed to get a shot of my ass), or Lars, who took a (thankfully very) blurry pic up under the kilt. Or Ann & Kay, or Jess & Casey, or quite literally about a bajillion other people (including Stitchy herself! And The Mafia! And, and....). But it is, as others say, really and truly about the people. Rhinebeck wouldn't be even close to half as much fun if it weren't for the wonderful, funny, intelligent, and just plain decent people I get to see there. Even if I don't get to see nearly enough of them.

Oh, and there's also the small matter about the fiber. As I mentioned, I didn't bring home much of anything, but what I did get is very special. Lilith guessed correctly.


That's 2 oz., which would have totally blown my yarn budget if I'd really had one this year.

Also, the very nice folks from Philosopher's Wool were diagonally across the aisle from us this year, and when I decided to buy these, they offered to let me have them in exchange for a pair of socks.


They told me that the ram is actually a portrait of the very first one they owned, with the buttons having been cast exclusively for them. Their website lists these as "currently unavailable", which makes them very special, indeed.

Two More Things

FedEx delivered this today:

I ordered it from here about a month ago, but it was backordered. I kind of figured it'd show up about now.

And lastly, this is what happens to your blog stats when people like the Yarn Harlot and the Knitting Curmudgeon and QueerJoe mention you in a blog post (and, of course, when people like Carol post pics of your boxers in theirs):


So if you're new here, welcome and do come back. There's often something interesting to be found.