22 July 2017


That's how we are feeling.  This past Wednesday, July 19, 2017, we had to say goodbye to our sweet kitty Jetsam.

And it hurts even more than usual.  I think because he was fine, except for his lower jaw.  On his last day with us, he ate, drank, used the little box, got brushed, played a game of catch-the-laser-dot, and purred like he always does.

 You may remember that he was diagnosed with cancer of his lower jaw a couple of months ago.  It's very aggressive, and even the most radical treatment does not provide a good quality of life.  His lower jaw got swollen, and he drooled more, but he was managing to eat and drink OK, and didn't seem to be sick or in terrible pain, so we let him be his usual self.

But then on Wednesday morning, we noticed that the tumor had broken through and his chin was bloody, which meant that infection could really easily occur.  And we had early on decided we did not want him to suffer at all.

He didn't want to get into the carrier, but once we got him there and out, we petted him and he cuddled and purred.  He purred until the last, while we stroked him, sang to him, and talked to him.

We will pick up his ashes probably in a couple of weeks, when the vet's office calls us.

All of our other cats, and then Dug, were heartbreaking to lose as well.  But all of them had been sick and physically declining, so even as much as it hurt to do it, it made sense so to speak.

But this didn't make sense in that way, and so it is crushing.  All of us are bereft, as well as discombobulated.  The others keep looking for him, which is devastating.  Jack is the only one who has not experienced this (though I'm not certain the others remember), and Jetsam was his idol, so he is particularly confused.

We will be OK eventually.  As my mother always used to say, you never get over it, you just get used to it.

For those of you who never knew Jetsam's story, you can read it here.

He was one of the smartest cats we've ever had.  He was an INSANE kitten, and his idol was our late and beloved Garden Kitty, who I'm sure is glad to be with him again in heaven.

He was the only cat I've ever known who purred while he ate.

He loved to cuddle, and it was a morning routine for us to have a quiet cuddle together without any TV or radio, or sometimes full lights on when I would first get up on weekend mornings in cool or cold weather.  He would jump on my lap and we would sit like that for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.  It was just the way the day began.  I know that's gonna be one of the things I miss most.

He adored being out in the garden.  He loved to play Kitty Tease, but when we got his diagnosis, I bought a new laser toy, since I figured that would mean he didn't have to grab anything with his mouth, and our other one had been lost a while back.  He loved everything associated with holidays, and was my primary helper most of the time, since he'd always be there until the end, when the others had given up and moved on.

He greeted you every time you came through the door, and loved meeting new people.  He loved catnip, running around the house crazily on his own or with the others, and he loved to play.

Mostly though, he loved all of us and we absolutely adored him.  I hope that Dug did what we used to call his "Doodle Dance" when they were together again.  That was the dance he would do when he got really excited and/or happy.

I put a small post on Facebook and Instagram yesterday, but was unable to write anymore until today, and this is getting to be beyond my abilities at the moment.  But I wanted all of you to know.  And to understand if I am not commenting on your blogs for a bit.  Since he would often join me when I was using my laptop, it's kinda hard right now.

As I said in the FB and Instagram post, please give your family members (furry and otherwise) a kiss and a cuddle, and do something kind.  That was Jetsam's essence, and will make him happy.  Along with the rest of the family.

God bless you, Jetsam.  Now you aren't sick, and for that all of us are grateful.  
We will always love you more every day.

Thank you for being our boy.
Thank you for saving our lives.

Now you are truly our angel.

16 July 2017

This FO Post Is Overdue

I realized that I never wrote a post for my last pair of completed socks.  Well that's just wrong - I have so few FOs, they should all get their own post, right? So let's get it done.

Top view

Project: Hannah Socks
Pattern: Petty Harbour, by Rayna Curtis (free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Ancient Arts Fibre Craft Superwash Wool Fingering Sock; colorway, Orange Tabby
Needles:  US 1
Modifications:  I made the leg a bit longer than indicated in the pattern.
Notes: I love these socks!  I have named them "Hannah Socks" because when Ancient Fibre Arts first introduced their Meow Collection, I bought a skein for each kitty we had at the time.  And we had a cream-orange tabby named Hannah.  The yarn is great to knit with, and has lovely stitch definition.  The Petty Harbour pattern is fun to knit - it has enough interest to make you pay attention, but is not overly involved and is easy to memorize.  I recommend it if you are a sock knitter.

Side view

So this pair is happily tucked away in my Box o' Socks, ready to surprise me all over again in 2018.  Since I had started another pair before these that were going along well until the yarn exploded and could not be untangled, I'm a pair behind on my goal of 12 pairs for myself.  Which is kinda frustrating, but then again, I'm doing it informally and for fun, so there's actually no real pressure.

I see also that now Ancient Arts Fibre Craft has not just the Meow Collection, but the Woof Collection.  Which means I may have to take a look and buy some yarn in honor of our Dug. :-)

Seriously though, this yarn and this pattern were both well worth the time to knit!  You should give them a try.

14 July 2017

Five Favorites for This Friday

Hello - Happy Friday and Happy Bastille Day!  I hope this finds everyone doing OK.  It's been a tough week, but if you are reading this, it means you survived it, just like I did.  That counts for a lot.  Right now it's raining here in Philadelphia, but that's good because a) rain for the plants, flowers, trees, etc., and b) it's supposed to chase away the stupidly high heat and humidity, and make it breathable again.

Here are five good things from my past week.  I need to remind myself that there is always at least one thing that is good, no matter how everything else has stacked up.  :-)

1.  Laughing.  I love to laugh, and this week has had some really funny if stupid things that happened that made me laugh until I cried.  Most of them are the kind of things that would be too hard to explain to anyone who wasn't around, but even remembering them now pleases me.

2.  Fake margaritas.  The Tim has recently taken to buying this:

He pours some tequila in a glass with this, and some ice cubes, and voila - fake margaritas!  They are mighty tasty, let me tell you!

3.  This is a nice story - how kind of Chris Martin to bring the guy onto the stage.  (Yes, I know it was dangerous for the guy to be crowd-surfing, yadda yadda yadda, but I'm focusing on the good here.)

4.  Petting dogs.  On my walk to and from work, I often run into people taking their dogs for a walk, and a lot of the time, I get to pet said dogs.  It always makes me happy, and sometimes the dog seems pretty pleased too!  This past week there were more opportunities than usual, so that was a real plus.

5.  Packages in the mail.  This week I got 4 packages in the mail!  It was all stuff I'd ordered, but nonetheless, it's such fun to have something waiting for you when you get home from work.  I love getting mail in general, and getting a package amps it way up.

What things have made you smile or just feel happier this week?  I hope there's at least one.

Have a good weekend - as far as I know, nothing special is happening with us, but sometimes those are the best weekends, right?

12 July 2017

Short and Sweet But Long

Here we are on a Wednesday when it is - to use one of my mother's expressions - hotter than Billy be damned.  (I cannot explain - I have no idea who Billy was, or why he was damned.)  And tomorrow is supposed to be worse!  I have been drinking even more water and iced tea than usual to help keep cool, and even though it is currently about 8:30 a.m., I'm already sloshing when I walk!

Oh well, it's time for Unraveled Wednesday, so let's move on to that, shall we?

Here is sock #1 of my latest pair, which was finished last night.  As you can see, it's a shortie sock.  I decided to knit a pair of shortie socks because a) I was behind on my goal of one pair a month, and I thought a pair like this would be quick, and b) I was uninspired as to what to knit next, sock-wise.  So I grabbed some leftover yarn from an earlier pair of socks, and a mini-skein I had, and started knitting.

I'm calling these my Berry Mixed Up Bashful Socks, because the main yarn is called "Mixed Berries" and the pink accent yarn is called "Bashful."  I like the way the first one turned out, but you know what?  It didn't go quickly at all.  Noperino, this single sock took me two weeks to complete.  Which isn't really that long, but for some reason, I'd imagined myself nearly finished with the pair by now.  

Such is life.

Reading-wise, I'm nearly finished with The Gilded Hour (shown in my last Unraveled Wednesday post) - only a little over 100 pages left!  It's a long book (700+ pages), but fortunately interesting for the most part.  It's not quite a saga, as it takes place in a relatively short time period, but there are many aspects to the story and the characters.  

And that's the story from here.  Time to go find a cool drink of water!

11 July 2017

Kathy's Q & A a Day Later

Kathy's Monday Q & As are always fun, but sometimes I don't have much to say, and other times - like today - I don't get around to answering until a day or two later.  

Here we go for this round.

*I'm overjoyed that the mason bees are putting their eggs in both pollinator boxes here.  What kind of crops do you see in your state?

Pennsylvania has lots of corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, and the like.  New Jersey (right next door) has blueberries, peaches, and tomatoes and they are THE BEST ever.

*When was the last time you wore a handknit?

I would have to say late May, when I wore my Portfolio Scarf a few mornings when the walk to work was chilly.

*Have you ever seen the Secret Service in person?

Big time!  First of all, living in Washington, D.C. for 7 years means you see them a lot.  Also, having worked for a U.S. Senator while living there, I not only saw them a lot, but had many conversations with some of them.  They are good people,  and you could not pay me enough to do their jobs.

*Do you know a poem by heart?

Yes.  I can recite "O Captain, My Captain!," "To An Athlete Dying Young," "The Red Wheelbarrow," and several Ogden Nash poems, if you count that as poetry ... there are probably others I just am not thinking about.  When I was in elementary school, poem memorization was a pretty regular thing.  I can remember that, but not the thing I just walked downstairs to get ...

*What is a rule in your house?

If you use the last of the ice cubes, YOU refill the trays!

*Have you been stuck behind a cyclist, a tractor, or a bus most recently?

A bus.  Skinny city streets mean that you're stuck behind buses a lot here.

*What's your favorite summer pie?

Lemon meringue.  My mother used to bake two pies a year: butterscotch in the fall, and lemon meringue in the summer, so I've always associated that with summertime.  And it's funny you should ask, since I have been thinking about making one ...

(image from pillsbury.com)

*Do you know a clever yarn shop name?

There used to be a yarn shop in Narberth, PA (the 'burbs) called Ewe and I, but sadly it closed.  I always liked that name, though.

*Are you still hearing fireworks?

Occasionally.  Some nights after a Phillies home game, there are fireworks.

So now I'm hungry for things from the Farmer's Market, and some pie ...