Sunday, August 12, 2012

Animal Practice Uninformed and Offensive

 In the opening sequence in Animal Practice, on NBC right after the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics, a vet tells an owner her Himalayan cat was in heat, and she ought to be let outside in the city to breed. That was a very irresponsible answer from a vet.  No vet would ever tell an urban dweller to let her cat loose in the city. The average life of a cat that lives outdoors is only 4 years.  It faces too many dangers.  Inside cats can live to 20 years.   Only 1 out of 10 canines and 1 out of 12 felines ever find a home in this country.  It would have been by far much better if the vet would have urged his client to have her cat spayed.  It would be even better if the program could be a new way to educate the American public on animal population control.  I could even imagine the comedic potential of animal rescues, too, a la the Meg Langslow murder mysteries by Donna Andrews.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Molly and the Snuggling Olympic Event

My youngest cat Molly Kayleen I got during the previous Summer Olympics.  I was given money I didn't need at the time, things weren't going well at work and I needed to do something good.  I didn't know that I could just donate money to a rescuer or for foster care.  So I rescued a kitten from an old-fashioned kill shelter in Georgia.  It must not have enough money to always care for their animals because Molly didn't even have any shots.  Her middle name is for the staff member who persuaded me to adopt her.
Molly's "mugshot" from the web
Molly was brought up by a vet tech who spent his weekends transporting animals rescued from southern kill shelters to either the upper Great Lakes or the Northeast.  I met him and the rental van in a motel parking lot outside of Kingston, NY.  He took a skinny, small kitten with bright colors out of a carrier and she meowed.  He said that was the first noise she'd made during the entire trip, which started the day before. 
First meal in the rest area
She was very happy to be out of the van.  She started to purr after I put her in the carrier.  I buckled the carrier onto the passenger seat, got into the driver's seat and started driving home.  At a rest area I stopped to feed her because I knew she probably hadn't eaten much.  I'd brought some dry food and water.  After a drink and a few nibbles, she started hopping up in the carrier to reach my hand.  I picked her up and petted her.  She was purring away.  She rubbed her whiskers against either side of my mouth.  She started licking me, too, all over my mouth.  Then she snuggled against my neck and climbed her way up to my collarbone, and perched there with her front half on my shoulder, watching the traffic and purring.

Here you can see how skinny she still was.
Of course my cats had no idea they were about to gain a new sister.  I thought the older cat would be tolerant.   I was right.  The next day she was eager to play with her.    I used to have to go to bed a half hour early so that she and the kitten could wrestle for half an hour on the bed.  Molly usually laid on her back and Midnight nibbled her neck and tummy.

There is never anyone around to introduce cats the way the experts say you should.  I just set the carrier down in the hallway and let the other cats look.  Midnight hissed once at her and walked away.  For the life of me I can't remember which cat it was that followed her around as she explored.  I think it was Emily. 

In the evening Molly stayed on the sofa with me.  When I was busy, she disappeared.  It turns out she went under the bookcase in the living room.  There was plenty of room.  She didn't like using the litter box where the big cats could see her, so I bought a disposable one to put under the bookcase too.  She lost her fear quickly.

Emily was actually a little scared of the kitten and didn't know what to think of her.  Then she realized she was entertainment, like a wind-up toy.  She was four years older, and in about a week she wondered how you turned the toy off.  Turn around is fair play, because when Emily was a kitten she was a hyperactive dynamo.  One weekend she retreated to a corner to sleep, but after that she and the new kitten became best buddies.  As a matter of fact, Emily lost most of her bad habits.

As for the Olympic Snuggling Event, Molly had to sleep with me that night.  First she snuggled up to my neck on the right side of my head,  then she snuggled under my chin, then she crawled over and snuggled against my neck on the left side, purring loudly all the time. At some point she began grooming me, washing me all over my mouth and chin, nose, too, outside and in.

Another fun kitten event, yarn-winding.

All grown up

A Happy Find But Not So Happy Pattern

Recently in a Tuesday Morning store I found some very nice yarn on sale.  It was skeins of Louisa Harding Jasmine yarn in a pretty reddish purple color called “Cheer.”  Jasmine is a dk yarn that’s 48 percent cotton, 39 percent bamboo viscose, 10 percent silk and 3 percent polyester.  It’s 3-ply with a thin metallic silver thread twisted around for a subtle twinkle effect.  The only effect this has upon the feel of the yarn is a coolness mixed with the softness.  For some reason the color photographs bluer than it actually is, so I used a photo closest to the actual color and it's a different color yarn.  It was just the color that I wanted to use with a very pretty sleeveless dress I had in a very dull blue gray color.  (I never thought of such a color as being particularly feminine or romantic.) 

I already had a dk pattern I was eager to knit, SMC Select 1846, a casual yet sophisticated bolero.  It was one of the few knitting patterns I’ve purchased in the last few years.  Unfortunately the booklet SMC Select Moments doesn’t have a very large photo of the finished garment. 

 I’ve been struggling with the pattern since I started knitting it yesterday and took it out several times.  The first time was because I hadn’t cast on enough stitches while in the knitting group.  Another time I decided I wanted to reverse sides.  I usually prefer the opposite edge to the smooth twisted stitches that are formed when you cast on.  So did the person who knit the garment the model wore, even though that was opposite to the directions.  Yet another time I had messed up the drop stitch pattern. 

I didn’t like knitting the twisted drop stitch pattern.  The swatch below is very similar. In the bolero the model wore this was the reverse side.  I don't know why.  (Then again I don't know why a store was selling a summer dress that was essentially sewn inside out with the pockets hanging out on the outside.)  I could see why one would like it, but it wasn’t easy to knit, it distorted the gauge, and I don’t like long loose strands in knitting.  Something eventually gets caught in them.  So I took it all out again. 

 I went through a few pattern stitch books until I found an eyelet and garter stitch pattern I can substitute instead.  I've always found my old Mon Tricot Knitting Dictionary very useful.  This time I chose the Horizontal Lace Stitch I pattern. 

This photo shows the reverse side I'm knitting and there will be a purl ridge between the three or four repeats.  It is what I thought what was used for the front edge of the bolero anyway.

 My cats were not very patient with me while I worked on this.  I hadn’t knitted in a long time and wanted to do so.  Midnight and Emily kept trying to lie on the booklet.  Emily kept walking back and forth across my lap until I yelled at her.  It’s not like I haven’t been at home paying attention to them. 

I think I'm happy with the new version of the bolero that I have on the needles.  I've spent the last two evenings wrestling with it.  I hope now I can just enjoy knitting it, in shorter spurts of activity.   I should be able to play rounds of Da Bird with the cats in the evening again.