Wednesday, February 28, 2007

People love us

Notes about having a house constantly under construction:
1) There will always be a hammer, screwdriver, and/or tape measure on your kitchen table.
2) There will always be furniture that doesn’t belong in a particular room (rocking chair in the kitchen, dining table in the living room, couch pillows in the den)
3) There will always be a bag of construction waste on the front porch.

I’m sure our neighbors love us right now.

Outside our front window is a huge old tree that I’m sure will be chopped down as soon as someone from PSE&G realizes that it’s growing into their lines. But it’s a happy resting place for squirrels, and thus a nice bit of entertainment for the puppy. See him?
squirrel in tree

Monday, February 26, 2007

Extremes in absurdity

Not sure where I stumbled across this in blog-land, but since I'm the daughter of a teacher I have to help spread the word:
I don't pretend to know the whole story, just what I've read. But a substitute teacher in Connecticut has been convicted of showing porn to her students, and will face a sentance of 40 years in prison. She claims she was attacked by pop-up ads, the prosecution say she was looking at porn during class. Having been a substitute teacher, I know that you get what equipment you walk into, and I shudder to think of the implications of this case. Having to judiciously protect my own computer from similar pop-ups, I can empathize. I donated a small sum to her legal defense, and encourage you to consider the same.

I'm surprised that such internet images ever made it through the school's filter, and I'd be curious to learn why more people aren't on the defense. By contrast, I volunteer for the Middlesex Rape Crisis Intervention Center, and when the county installed a new system-wide filter it blocked every message from the employees at the Center, because the word "rape" was in the email address. Computers can't think, and they can't discriminate.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I'm full of 'em lately. Two highlights:

Brant and I adopted a pet kangaroo. SQ was pretty cool with it, but big ol' kangaroo was a little scared of Brant. Kangaroo and I got along famously, but at one point I had to go somewhere, so Brant was home with the 'kids' and I was a little worried that 'Roo would be nervous. But I came home to find them all bonding over popcorn. If you ever have the opportunity to watch a kangaroo eat popcorn, I highly recommend it. I woke up laughing.

I was Calamity Jane in _Deadwood_ (this in itself is very, very strange. I'm never other people in dreams). I'm woken up by someone banging on the tent flap. I throw it open and it's Brant/Sawyer from _Lost_ looking to borrow a book. So I gave him one and we went to the saloon for breakfast. Mundane, really.

Since we started dating, Brant is in every one of my dreams. Weird, huh? I think good weird.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Moving forward

Barnaby came back home last weekend:
That's him in the tiny brown box with the mouse on top. My dear friend Cathy had a brilliant suggestion - in the spring when I plant some bushes outside I'm going to bury his ashes. Of course, this will probably mean that said bush will require daily watering, have crazy limbs that need regular trimming, and will probably always be on the verge of catastrophe, but won't that be fitting? If I choose well, maybe the birds will like it and Mr. B. can watch the birds for all time.

On a lighter note, Brant got creative for Valentine's Day, and in a burst of non-commercial energy he made the wonderful blue incense holder you see there in the middle. The box is made from a salvaged piece of some neighbor's fence, and the red incense holder is a smidge of trim from our house. Be careful what you put out for garbage - you never know what people like us are going to do with it.

In knitting news:
Finished up the sweater for my boss' baby. It was quite a hit at the baby shower Friday; everyone wanted to cuddle the bear. I can confess that I carried him around tucked under my chin for a while Thursday evening.
70's Inspired Baby Hoodie
Knit in New Jersey, New York, Grenada, and California, started on my birthday (symbolism, see) and completed in January (except for zipper).
Yarn: 100% cotton, received in a trade at a knitting circle.
Pattern: From an old issue of Women's Day; it has a zipper up the back for easy stuffing of baby into sweater. I improvised the moss stitch, as cables would have been tough with the cotton.
Needles: Size 8 circular
Modifications: My mom uses this pattern often, but I had all kinds of trouble with it. Somehow my numbers didn't add up so I had to fudge, fudge, fudge. Also, the cotton was so not-stretchy that I made up my own method of increasing since knitting through a back loop just wasn't going to happen. I didn't get a photo of the raglan increases, but the improvisation made a nice trail of little eyelets at the shoulder.

The Socken it to the Family received a boost this past week with seven more submissions! And a very clever mom traced hands and feet of her boys, in the event I get tired of socks and want to make mittens for next winter. I have quite a bit of wool lying around (in the box in the closet that does not get mentioned), so some felted mittens may indeed be a nice change of pace.

Parent #1's first sock is finished, and I'm starting into the foot of Cousin #1's first sock. The weather here has been atrocious meaning I've been driving rather than braving the weather to walk to the train, and the knitting has suffered. But with warmer (a-hem) weather predicted, there shall be a return to train knitting and I hope to get back on track.
dad+kelly socks

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

A beautiful day for mourning

Today is the saddest of days, for the heart of a beautiful creature ceased to beat.
barnaby favorite spot
Lord Barnaby Ravenclaw (better known as Barnaby, AKA LBR, AKA Mr. B, AKA Little Man, AKA Pooka) died this morning at 10:20am at the age of four. He died by lethal injection, administered by a kind and gentle doctor at the Iselin Emergency Veterinary Hospital. The decision to end his life was made by me. He died through no fault of his own, but the misfortune of a genetic predisposition to urinary crystals and the further misfortune of being adopted into a family that could not commit to the long-term financial burden of managing his care.

Barnaby was a beautiful grey tabby Persian with amber eyes. I know nothing of his life before we met, only that he was about 3 years old when I met him two summers ago, his strange little owl face peeking out at me from the top of his kennel. He was social and talkative, though quite chaste. He lived for scratches on his head and chin, but would tolerate no touching below the neck. He wasn’t a lap-sitter, but with coaxing he could be encouraged to sit beside you on the couch. On one notable occasion he crawled onto my lap, curled into a warm fuzzy ball, and fell asleep all a-purr, for an hour. He was more alert than most cats I’ve known, watching the other creatures in the house as we went about our days. He was also quite brave: when I first brought him home, he informed me that keeping him separated from the dog was unnecessary, and he promptly marched to the middle of the living room and fell asleep on his back. The dog was significantly more concerned about the change in household events. Later, as the two became acquainted, Barnaby would wait for Sequoia to come in from her morning walks and he would pounce, slapping her on the rear as she ran by. Barnaby also had a particular fondness for the male human in the house, and would follow him around just to stay in his presence. Not a huge fan of grooming, despite the necessity, Barnaby tolerated a great deal from this man he adored.
i look into your soul

Since we moved into the new house, things have been rough for Barnaby. He found the move traumatic and frightening, despite our attempts to reassure him and give him his own small, private space. He seemed to adjust, and we welcomed him into the rest of the house, but his anxiety translated into the development of urinary disorders (In Chinese medicine the urinary meridians correspond with the emotion of fear). At first mild and inconvenient for his owners, over the months things eventually culminated in severe blockages and pain that resulted in many vet visits and procedures – which of course intensified the underlying fear and anxiety. The prognosis was not good. Treatable, yes. Curable, no.

There is no consolation for a person who has to make this decision about another living creature. The image of his crystal amber eyes as that spark went out will forever be burned into my brain.

Barnaby is survived by his heartbroken owners and his canine sibling, who seems much more adept at adjusting to these things.