Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A teeny bit obsessed

Ms. Frances the cat had amputation surgery of her left hind leg yesterday, to remove the growing lump that threatens to invade her whole body. She came home this evening and she seems to be doing as well as can be expected with only 3 legs. I feel like a complete and utter shit for doing this to her. At least she's getting the good pain meds.

Meanwhile I have been assiduously and compulsively knitting a colourwork mitten this last week.
This was what was finished after 3 pm last Saturday. It is really a deep heathered plum purple; the picture is crappy. As of the Sunday the entire mitten body was done, only lacking a thumb.

Why yes I've been knitting something requiring lots of attention so I don't think too much about everything else going on.

Fuck cancer. Fuck rich white men playing roulette with my livelihood and that of my family and friends.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yes, officer, there was knitting involved.

Um, yarn. Yes, still got that.

I have had a small knitting crush on the Nutkin pattern for some time. I like the movement, the big bold pseudo-cables. However, I didn't like some of the characteristics, like a tendency towards biasing. That one was easy to fix, just flip the chart for half of the sock.

I really like how each not-a-cable folds up when unblocked, but that's not the usual wearable state of socks, unfortunately. (Maybe I should make socks that are way too big so that they purposefully fold up?)

The other thing I do not like? THE HOLES.
Most of the YOs seem to vanish into the top of the cable, except the very first one of the pattern, which is very, very obvious, once stretched.

I can fix that too, I changed all those yarnovers to make 1s. I had to fiddle with them a little to make them look right, and they're not quite as pretty in unblocked form as the YO version, but again, I'm not going to be wearing them unblocked. My feet == very effective foot blockers.

Except another problem. This sock is Too Small.

Ugh, REALLY too small. Nice stretching, really attractive.

I ripped out (again) and cast on a total of 8 more stitches, about an inch more width around the leg. Except I kept the hemmed cast on, which was flaring out like crazy but fit nicely once on the leg. You cannot even tell I've added all those stitches it flares so much. Fortunately this is a dead-easy pattern to which to add stitches. I just make those "cables" 1 stitch longer, and each purl trough 1 stitch wider.

I don't know if this qualifies as 'just right', but *I* think it looks better.
But then I just had to get creative and make an eye-of-partridge heel, because of course I don't have enough to do. And then I made a dutch heel because the heel flap was way too wide and vanilla heel-flap heels was far too big. Now I just have the Ordeal of the Toe to overcome.

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy (yeah, I succumbed. It's pretty.) in Gothic Rose.

The funniest thing? Now that I habitually break the <2.0 mm sock needle barrier, this sock, where I'm using US 1/2.5 mm needles, is going REALLY QUICKLY.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Healthy Veggeez just for Jez

Luminous bell peppers

Mountains of peaches

Luscious berries (sadly this picture is a month and a half old now and the blueberries have petered out.

A little vegetable/fruit still life with my farmer's market purchases from a few weeks ago.

I should say something profound here about Nutrition, but really these just all taste(d) so damn good. Feel free to picture Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef biting right into a raw bell pepper right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monterey Aquarium

I keep forgetting that the California version is only spelled with one 'r.' What kind of spelling freak does that make me?

We did go to the Monterey aquarium, along with 3 other billion people that Friday, although I did muscle my way to the front of some of the exhibits because I was feeling camera happy that day. Too bad I only managed 1 picture at the wedding. I was too busy getting a raging sunburn, I guess.

Anemones. What you can't see from my crappy picture is all the little flat fish hiding in the sand with only their eyes poking out. I love that they come in all these different colors (the anemones. The fish come only in 1 color: sand.)

I could just sit and watch the jellyfish all day.

The display said that this particular variety was actually doing quite well in their natural habitat (the Mediterranean) and reproducing out of control in some Spanish lagoon. Yes - not a color distortion, their bottom parts really are blue.

The seabirds mostly come to them as injured rescues and get too used to people to be released back to the wild. I think these ones were studiously trying to ignore the oggling crowd.
K and I were probably far too interested in the wave-making machine making fake waves for the bird's little beach.

The sardines just keep swimming round and round and round and round and round. There were a few punk sardines wandering off on the sidelines, being sullen and refusing to swim with the crowd. The ever-rotating sardines (the tank is just a cylinder, maybe 6 feet in diameter?) are kind of mesmerizing but K the Love Monkey finally tore me away.

I have an almost uncontrollable urge to knit mittens. Stranded ones, because it can't ever be simple, can it? Like suddenly my life will be complete if only I could Knit Some Mittens NOW.

Monday, September 08, 2008

L is for Less Depressing Things

I'm sorry though, I still detest buses. Especially those driven by cephalopods.

Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker

I'm sorry I haven't been very sociable. Frances is not out of the cancer woods yet, unfortunately. The biopsy was negative, but there's been some cat oncology studies about mysterious inflammations where they found the lumps pretty much act like and eventually turn into cancer, even when the pathology is all negative. What's most worrisome is 1) she's lost weight since the last vet visit the winter, a whole pound (from 12 pounds). She does get much more exercise in the summer, though, so it could just be seasonal weight loss. And 2) it's about 3.5 centimeters in diameter. Yeah, a big lump.

They think it's a Vaccine-associated sarcoma, which occur occasionally at the sites of vaccinations on cats. From the articles I've reading, the figures are 1 in 1000 to 1 in 10,000. That's per shot, not per cat.

The treatment is euphemistically called "aggressive surgery"; e.g. amputation, if it occurs on a limb. The occurrence of these sarcomas is evidently high enough that the US vet association has made guidelines for where kitties now get their rabies and feline leukemia vaccinations - one in the right hind leg and one in the left. We're just having a hard time trying to decide whether that's appropriate, when none of the actual lab reports have come up with a definitive reading on cancer. On the other hand, it's so BIG. And it is near the vaccination site and she actually did get a lump after a previous vaccination, which eventually receded, but it wasn't nearly so big and it wasn't on the same spot.
The longer we dither the greater chance that if it is some kind of proto-cancer it'll metastasize. After that, there really isn't any treatment.

Bah. The cat is annoyed because she got shaved again for lump measurement, plus all the other ignominious vet things like the taking of the temperature (I think I can understand about being annoyed about that). Otherwise it's a beautiful evening. I think it will involve beer.