24 February 2013

It's a Mystery to Me ...

It's taken me a lot longer than I thought it would, but after being sidetracked by sickness for what seems all eternity, I finally have my Mystery Boxes of Yarn (described in this post) ready to offer.

Here they are - ready to go to new homes where they will be loved and used.  Please note that since taking this picture, I've sealed up the boxes, so I no longer know what is what, meaning that I can't send you the box that "has the two greens on top" or whatever.  

I can tell you the details though.

1.  Each box contains 7-9 balls/hanks/skeins of yarn.  There are three boxes.
2.  They are all natural fibers (mostly wool, but some alpaca, silk, etc.)
3.  I do not/have not seen any evidence of moth-ery.  They have been stored in plastic bins with cedar blocks, and away from the pets.  Our home is non-smoking, so you don't have to worry about any accompanying smell.
4.  I can unfortunately only afford to mail things to U.S. addresses, so if you live outside the U.S., you are out of luck.
5.  The cost is $25.00, which includes shipping.  You can pay via PayPal, money order, or personal check (though I won't send the box until your check clears).  

The earliest I will likely get to the P.O. is next Saturday, March 2 - so even if you have a box coming to you, it won't be arriving this week!

I'm offering them here first, and if there is no interest, or all three do not go here, I'll offer them on Ravelry.  


Do not leave a comment here to request it.  Send me an e-mail at:  thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet.  The first three requests get the boxes, and I'll post to let you know as they go or when they are gone.

If you have questions, feel free to let me know.  

14 February 2013

A Love-ly Day

Happy Valentine's Day!
(photo from Clean + Green)

Today is another holiday that people just seem to have to whine about.  Not me, I'm a big fan of Valentine's Day.  Maybe because I grew up thinking it was a fun day to give someone a card or little gift, and have some chocolate, rather than thinking that because "they" say it's about having someone to be romantically, hopelessly, in love with, if you were not in a true relationship, there was something wrong with you.  Some of the best Valentine's Day cards and gifts I ever got were from my parents, so there you go.

So, I hope you have a lovely day.  Even if you don't do anything extra special, each of us has been loved and/or has loved, and to me that's worth celebrating.

Another fun thing in our house is that today is also Jetsam's birthday (7th) and Pip's birthday (2nd).  In truth, we don't know the date either was actually born, but based on what the vet told us at the time they were both adopted, they were likely born in February, so we chose the 14th.  (This was also the day we used to celebrate the Garden Kitty's birthday, for the same reason.)  And so, as usual, we will have cake to celebrate (The Tim was off today, so he baked a chocolate cake), and the kitties and Dug will all get some treats, and the two birthday boys will get a present each.  They are such good kitties, they deserve everything and anything.

Jetsam and Pip napping together

They are very sweet together, and have become good friends.  Both of them are heat-seeking creatures, so they tend to spend a lot of time curled up together (as in this photo) during the winter.  I don't know that they will ever be the pals that Jetsam and Garden Kitty were, but I know that Jetsam was very happy when Pip joined the family, and he was no longer an only kitty.  And Pip thinks Jetsam is really cool.  :-)

So I hope today will find you feeling happy and finding a reason to smile, even if just for a few minutes. 

10 February 2013

January Book Report

January was not a big reading month for me.  Actually, it wasn't much of a big anything month for me, other than being sick.  But I did manage to read four books, two that were for each of the reading challenges I joined.

On Canaan's Side, by Sebastian Barry.  I finished this book in a mere two days, because a) it was so interesting, and b) well, it wasn't that long.  But when you read it, and consider the amount of time and experience crammed into this little book, it's pretty amazing.

The book begins with the narrator, Lilly Bere, mourning the loss of Bill.  We then learn that Bill was her grandson, who she had raised from the time he was three years old.  He was a soldier, and had been to Iraq.  Lilly is thinking of ending her own life.  So, you think to yourself, well, I can probably figure out how this will go.  But trust me, you are wrong.

In this small book, Lilly tells her story, starting with her childhood at the end of World War I in Dublin, to the present.  It's not necessarily amazing in the sense that she discovers a cure for the common cold.  But it is amazing because of her experiences and the way she has allowed them to inform her life.  She states at one part of the book that by writing all of this down, she is realizing that her life was a good one, that the people she loved were wonderful and never really gone, and that even though things did not turn out as she might have hoped, that people were good to her, and she can now appreciate it even more.

Reading it, you feel the poignancy and the sadness that Lilly feels.  But you also see that rather than viewing herself as the heroine of her own story, she sees herself as a survivor who did the best she could.

I liked this book, and felt for Lilly.  But I also understood her decisions.  This title was one of those I chose to read for the 2013 Ireland Reading Challenge.

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin.  This is one of the titles I had on my list for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge.  I have been wanting to read this book for a while, and used a gift card I received for Christmas 2011 to buy a copy last year, deciding to wait until January of this year to read it.  (Don't question why - it made perfect sense to me, I don't expect anyone else to understand.)  I had read lots about it, and I had run into people who either loved it or hated it, so I was excited to finally try it for myself.

I'm glad I read this book.  Unlike lots of other stories, where the author decides they need a change, and then moves to another country, leaves their family, abandon all that is part of them, Gretchen Rubin worked on herself and her life while living it.  This appealed to me, since it seemed both practical and realistic.  I am not 100% convinced that a person can completely overhaul their existence for a period of time, and really learn much about themselves.  So Rubin's approach made sense to me.

During the year of her Happiness Project, Rubin made a systematic attempt to be happier.  She developed a list of resolutions, and worked on a month-by-month basis to keep them.  Nothing she attempted or accomplished had to mean that her husband and children also change their lives, or their routines.  This also appealed to me, since I find it realistic that a person's entire family might not take kindly to having to change *their* lives just because a member of that family is trying something for themselves.

One realization that Rubin made that resonated with me was the realization that she didn't have to enjoy things her friends enjoyed, just because they did.  That it was OK not to want to do things that most others enjoyed.  Then she also asked herself what she *did* enjoy, and focused on those things.  I think it's really hard to not do things others enjoy - you know they should be fun or interesting, but you just don't feel that way.  And many times the others don't understand.

Anyhow, I found this book to be a good read, and fairly inspiring.  I liked that by the end, she still didn't do everything perfectly, even though she tried to - that seemed normal to me!  I liked that she realized that wanting to be happy is not selfish, and not easy.  And I liked that by the end, she felt it was a successful attempt and that it was worth it to keep going.

I am a person who is always trying to find ways to be a better person.  Only in the past few years has it occurred to me that small things are better than no progress at all.  By tracking her progress, Gretchen Rubin realized how small things can make a huge difference in one person or one family's life.  I didn't find the book preachy, or self-satisfied, rather conversational and even inspiring.  Though I am unlikely to undertake such a huge project for myself all at once, I found many things I could take away from the book to help me try to improve myself.

Death by Cashmere, by Sally Goldenbaum.  While I'm recovering from being really sick, I finally got to the point where I felt like reading, but knew that I couldn't handle anything too deep, involved, or serious.  Then I remembered I had this book that I had been wanting to read, and let me tell you - it was the perfect thing for me right now!

This is the first in the Seaside Knitters series, which take place in a small town on Cape Ann, Massachusetts.  In and of itself, that's good as far as I'm concerned, since I have fond memories of visiting Cape Ann as a child.  Anyway, Isobel "Izzy" Chambers has abandoned her law career in Boston, and bought a location for a yarn shop.  Her aunt, Nell Endicott, and she are very close, and they have made the shop quite popular with locals and tourists alike.  As the book begins, Izzy's upstairs tenant above the shop, Angie Archer, is found murdered, having drowned in the breakwaters.  An investigation shows that she was the victim of a date rape drug.  Izzy, Nell, and two other knitter friends Birdie and Cass, decide to investigate.

I liked this book, and this series.  The people are appealing, there's lots of talk of good food, drink, and knitting, along with good friendships.  I found the story to be nicely paced, and was surprised at the end to learn the murderer's identity (I usually am, though a lot of time in retrospect, I realize that I did have suspicions - not this time).

I will definitely read another installment in this series.  I liked the characters and the location, so I am willing to spend more time with them.

Through the Grinder, by Cleo Coyle.  This is the second in the Coffeehouse Series, featuring Clare Cosi, part-owner and manager of the Village Blend Coffeehouse in Greenwich Village, New York City.  In this installment, Clare and her ex-husband, Matteo, try to find out who has been killing single women in NYC and making it appear to be a suicide.  When their daughter Joy, decides to venture into the online dating scene, and the dead women were all part of said scene, they get even more involved for fear that something will happen to Joy.

This story was actually kinda creepy to me, since I couldn't figure out who was committing the murders, and the person considered one of the prime suspects seemed too good to be true.  Also, there were recently two deaths of young women in this area (one right in my neighborhood) that were/are suspicious.  Thinking about someone planning to kill someone while making it look as if they took their own life just seems particularly eerie.

Anyway, this had the usual amount of interesting characters, talk about coffee and food, and descriptions of New York neighborhoods to keep it all interesting to me.


Not really a bad bunch, considering that for a good portion of the month, I had absolutely no interest or enough energy to read at all.  And for me, at least, it turned out to be a good balance of "serious" books and ones that were just plain fun to read.

That's it for now, have a good week!

03 February 2013

Hello February!

I think it's safe to say that for me at least, January was a horrible month.  I spent so much of it being sick - and the last part being *really* sick, the kind where reading and/or knitting is not even possible.  I had such plans to get organized, and start on a couple of household projects, and am lucky if the laundry got done ...

So, I was not really sorry for January to be over, and am happy to see February.  Unlike most people, I actually like February.  It has Valentine's Day, which is also the day we celebrate Jetsam and Pip's birthdays, it has February 2nd, which is a three-fer (Groundhog Day, St. Blaise Day, James Joyce's birthday), one of my sisters has her wedding anniversary this month, and it's a nice, compact month.  I am still not feeling great, but I feel better enough to slowly get back to my usual self, and have at least felt good enough to read.  Today I'll be back at Rosie's for the first time in several weeks, so I'll be back to knitting too.  :-)  (And I'm sure will exhaust me way more than it should.)

This evening, we'll have pizza for dinner and "watch" the Super Bowl.  That's in quotes because we usually don't watch every minute of the game, we go back and forth between that and other stuff.  We do enjoy the commercials, and if the score is close, we'll usually watch most of the fourth quarter.  We always skip the halftime show.  This year, it's extra funny for us, because we have family in Baltimore and in San Francisco, and they are having a mascots' contest dressing up their cats over on Facebook.  (And I'm sure the cats are plotting their revenge!)  I find it very appropriate that the Ravens QB is from Audubon, New Jersey.  Though admittedly, I'm likely the only one who finds that tidbit interesting.

And on that note, I shall leave you to enjoy your day, and your February, in your own way.  Here's a picture that might make you smile to end the post.

Bathroom Sink Love