Monday, December 16, 2013

A Cowl Is Not a Snood

I've been noticing this for a while on Ravelry, and it's time I mention something.  A cowl is not a snood.  Here are a few definitions for snood: 

1. the distinctive headband formerly worn by young unmarried women in Scotland and northern England; 2. a headband for the hair; 3. a netlike hat or part of a hat or fabric that holds or covers the back of a woman's hair.


 O[ld].E[nglish]. snod "ribbon for the hair," from Proto Germanic. *snodo (cf. Swed. snod "string, cord"), from PIE base *(s)ne- "to spin, sew" (cf. Lett. snate "a linen cover," O.Ir. snathe "thread;" see needle). Meaning "net or bag worn over a woman's hair" first recorded 1938.

Merriam-Webster online:

1 a Scottish :  a fillet or band for a woman's hair;  2 b :  a net or fabric bag pinned or tied on at the back of a woman's head for holding the hair.
First Known Use: before 12th century

They’re pretty consistent, aren’t they?  A snood is used on the head to cover the hair.  If the word has been in existence since the 12th century, and possibly hundreds of years before then, then why are people using it to refer to a neck covering, for which we have the words “scarf” and “cowl?”  

Let's look at the word "cowl."

Merriam-Webster online:

1 a :  a hood or long hooded cloak especially of a monk; b :  a draped neckline on a woman's garment;  2  a :  a chimney covering designed to improve the draft; b :  the top portion of the front part of an automobile body forward of the two front doors to which are attached the windshield and instrument board.

Origin:  Middle English cowle, from Old English cugele, from Late Latin cuculla monk's hood, from Latin cucullus hood.  First Known Use: before 12th century.
The word “cowl” has also been used since before the 12th century.  The definition doesn't quite go far enough to say that the cowl also became the academic hood worn around the neck and down the back of one's academic gown, after obtaining a college degree.  (Perhaps in some European countries another term is used.)  The academic cowl goes around one's neck, as well as a draped neckline. 
It is clear the snood refers to the head and the cowl to the neck, and that's what one finds when the words are looked up.  It seems to me some person in the recent past had difficulty either telling a hat from a scarf or a head from a neck, if that's really, truly possible.  Or, another thought, in some foreign country, has the similarity of words led to a change in meaning?  Either way, I think the designer will earn more respect if s/he uses the words "cowl" and "snood" correctly.  The customers will also be happier if it truly is a snood for the hair that's desired, and not the many patterns of misappropriately named cowl patterns they'd have to look through otherwise.

My apologies for the terrible spacing on this post.  I haven't found a way to  correct it yet on Blogger.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Creationism vs. Evolution

It has occurred to me why the Conservative right-wing element of the United States supports creationism.  Geneticists in their studies have backed up the archaeologists' findings that the human race originated and evolved in Africa.  As Svante Paabo in his TEDTalk Ancient Clues said, "we are all Africans."  The most visible, and seemingly most active, portion, of the Conservative right-wingers in the United States are Caucasian.  It probably bothers them a great deal that the scientists are saying that even they evolved from Africans, the dark-skinned race that has been so subjugated in the country.  Hiding behind their efforts to make creationism and conservative Christianity dominant in the country is their effort to keep the the controlling power Caucasian.  Behind the Conservatives are also corporations.  I wonder what the racial and political makeup are of the executive management of the Fortune 500.  Add one hundred more companies and you get the force behind ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). 

When President Obama was first elected, the Republicans publicly vowed never to cooperate with him.  We've all witnessed the crises that have occurred.  Support for people in the midst of financial crisis has been slashed, most notably SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Program).  I believe it was recently reduced to 20 dollars per week per person now.  Obamacare failed to control the corporations that are the most responsible for United States citizens paying more for health care than anywhere else in the world, the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations.  With the poor salaries being offered today, one has to make unfortunate choices, gas money or health insurance, or heat or electricity.  I sometimes wonder if the power elite are trying to kill off the poor people.  Following that argument, I have to wonder what is the ethnic makeup of the people suffering most from the financial crisis.  Is it why the financial crisis is continuing? 

A long time ago even in elementary school we learned that although the United States at the time was mostly Caucasian, eventually that would change through time.  I wondered then what would happen.  I believe it's happening now. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Interesting Reference in Movie

I just started to watch the movie Going Berserk with John Candy.  In the beginning of the movie, John Candy's character said he was from the Mellenville Bourgignons.  Mellenville?  It looks like there's only one Mellenville in the country, a tiny hamlet at the bottom of the hill from the village where I grew up in upstate New York.  I never heard of anyone with the name Bourgignon there, either. (Yes, I know it's actually a dish.)  It's really funny to start watching a movie to hear some little obscure place you know mentioned in it.  I wonder why.

This is almost as funny as an episode of the original McHale's Navy.  For some reason Tim Conway's character is in sick bay and his morale is low.   Unfortunately I can't remember it correctly, so it loses its humor in the telling.  Ensign Parker received a bunch of letters, a character mentioned a woman in Troy and he replied, "but I'm from Schenectady!"  I don't know if there was ever a reason given for the reference.  Currently there is a television writer from the Capital Region who occasionally puts in an area reference. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Oh Rats!

In cleaning up the newspapers I saw that Wal-Mart had digital cameras for extremely good prices, under $100.  I want a digital camera so desperately I'd consider buying one there.  However, it was still a good question whether or not I'd be able to pay the necessities coming up, so it was a good thing I didn't know about it until the great shopping weekend was past.  The way I view the economy, I'm not even sure I could sell enough online to pay for the camera.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Finding the Magazine

I wanted to buy a copy of the Winter 2013 issue of Knit Simple.  The state of my finances, it's my Christmas present to myself this year.  I'd like to knit the cardigan below by Nicky Ephron.  I was thinking about a short-sleeved cardigan and I like leaf patterns very much. 

 If I can get the gauge, I want to use the sapphire Brown Sheep yarn my mother gave me. 
I went to seven stores today and couldn't find it.  The holiday issue is out, though.  According to the Knit Simple web site, the winter edition is supposed to be released December 10th.  Putting out the holiday edition before the winter edition?  I guess that makes sense to give knitters time to knit gifts.  My mind puts winter before the holiday, though.  I hope, then, that I didn't miss the issue, but I just looked too soon.  

I finished my Winter Leaves Shawl.  It looks beautiful.  I discovered the reason why one should measure a garment as s/he blocks it.  I have one side wider than the other.  I'll just have to redo it. 

A Minor Miracle

Today for the heck of it I picked up my MP3 player and tried turning it on for the heck of it.  It came on!  Not only that, it's charging!  I can also view the memory. What the....?  I tried to turn it on so many times. I have no idea what happened.  I only hope it stays working for a while.  Maybe I ought to try the digital camera that stopped working.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Another Sad Sister

Molly crawled into some corners of the apartment tonight, looking for Midnight I think.  She's been sleeping on the ottoman tonight.  When I looked at her earlier, she had a very woebegone look on her face.  I think she realizes her sister's not coming back. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Have to Knit

I brought home Midnight's ashes tonight and I feel very bad.  It still doesn't seem right here without her and it really hurts.  I have to knit to make myself feel better, but it can't be too difficult.  I dug out some yarn I bought a long time ago, Skye by Wisdom Yarns in shades of turquoise.  The color is 111 on this chart from Yarndex.
Because there were only 4 balls of yarn left to buy, my choice of vests was limited.  I decided to knit the Versatility Vest.  I've already knitted a vest following the pattern and I liked it very much.
As I started to knit the pattern, Molly hopped up into the chair next to me and started a kneading session on the  blanket, much like the way Midnight used to do.  She would sometimes knead for ten or fifteen minutes.  Usually Molly leaves after a snuggle session, but she's staying, for now.  I'm glad.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Patient, Loyal Friend

Every evening Emily spends some time lying on the chest of drawers in the corner of the living room, waiting for her sister Midnight to appear again.  It's easy to see the pain and sadness in her eyes.  Her heart is broken as well as mine.   I wish I could change it for us.  Instead of going off to sleep by herself, most of the time now Emily sleeps at or on my feet.  Is she afraid that I'll disappear too?  I'm glad she has another sister cat here, but it's clear she doesn't take Midnight's place. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Get Off Facebook

If you want to make your life better, get off Facebook.  It makes people lazy in their relationships.  At least 3 times I wrote that I needed money to take my cat to the vet.  I know I did last year.  Today I had someone tell me she thought there were some vets that help poor people take care of their pets.  Another said you should have told me, I would have helped.  I TOLD EVERYONE AND THEY IGNORED ME!!  They did not pay attention UNTIL MY CAT DIED!!!!!!!!  NOW THEY OFFER TO HELP!!!!!!!!   Can you imagine the guilt and the anger I feel now????   Facebook kills friendships and pets.  Leave it, today.


I remembered some of the same people who claimed they didn't know I needed money to take my cats to the vet, I told in person after a mutual friend's funeral.  I don't remember anyone asking why.  If they did, I would've said I was worried about Midnight.

Sick with Grief

So what do you do with yourself at night when you're so sick with grief and anger that you can't sleep?  I'd like to know.  I can't lash out and hurt the ones responsible, so of course I'm hurting myself by not wanting to eat, etc.  The noise the fridge is making is driving me nuts!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Look Harder

Emily and Molly seem to think if they look hard enough they'll find their sister Midnight.  I wish it would work. 

When I was a teenager, the stray cat we took in died several months later.  He and my cat Tattoo were best buddies.  Tattoo had a difficult time understanding that Charlie was gone and not coming back.  He went from closet to closet and we had to open them so he could look inside and make sure he wasn't there.  For some reason the other cat Siubhan knew when it meant a cat didn't come back.  

As for myself, I am suffering from crushing guilt.  I wish I could go back to last year and change things so that maybe I'd have had the money to take care of Midnight properly.  The only thing that will enable me to function again is having to take care of Emily and Molly.  At this point I don't think I deserve them.  

I wonder just how many people are suffering in similar circumstances because of this lousy economy.  Are the fat cats in big business and politics even aware that people's pets are suffering life-or-death issues and their owners are suffering crippling grief and guilt because of the fat cats' cupidity?  The phase "fat cat" is an insult to cats, too.  My cats could never approach the arrogance and greed of big business and crooked politicians.

If you agree with the photo below, please save it and share it.  I want it to  go viral so my sweet, lovely cat's death wasn't in vain.  Maybe it'll do some good.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Help During Difficult Times

I just discovered that the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society distributes pet food to several food pantries in the Capital District of New York State where I live.  Click here for the list of food pantries.  If you're anything like me, the one thing you don't want to do is to give up your cats.  This will help.

Where's My Sister?

Emily and Molly are currently sitting on the cat tree in the corner of the living room.  It looks like they're watching to see if their sister Midnight is just hiding and is going to come out again.  I can see that Emily is confused and hurt and misses her big sister.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Very Sad News

I am very grieved to say that I lost Midnight to kidney failure and an unknown infection today.  I can't begin to describe how badly I feel.  She was a gentle, laid back, affectionate, intelligent cat who was very playful and a bit of a tease.  Even though logically I've come to the conclusion that cats don't live long enough for you to spend as much time as you feel you should with, I still feel horribly guilty.  I hate kidney disease!  I've had three cats die from it now.. 

Here are photos of Midnight, who was a source of constant, indisputable, unconditional love.  She loved Christmas trees and their decorations.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Three Charts Conquered

I'm very pleased to say that I followed Chart 3 of the Winter Leaves Shawl with hardly a problem.  Somehow one extra stitch appeared in a leaf on one side of the shawl and one less on the other.  I couldn't see where the problems occurred, and taking the rows back once didn't fix it, so I fudged them.  I have to say that on row 15 of Chart 3 make sure you do not increase stitches on either side of the S2K1 because it'll mess up your count.  When I fixed that and proceeded to the next row after increasing stitches at the tip of the leaves, I knit the K1P1 row with my fingers crossed mentally.  Much to my relief it worked out fine.  Now I can knit happily to the end.  I'm going to knit the rib longer.  I think it will look better and I have plenty of yarn.

I may have a solution to the camera problem.  My cousin gave me his smart phone.  I have to buy a battery and a charger for it.  He says it takes photos and plays music, so it will replace two broken pieces of equipment sorely missed.  The battery's not quite as cheap as he thought, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper than a new camera.  As for the charger, I'm going to stop at the Ravena Barn to see if it might have one.  I saw a box with a lot of chargers in it when I was down there last time. 

Speaking of which, I have errands to do so I better get going.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Late Night Knitting

I have managed to master Chart 2 of the Winter Leaves Shawl and I am well embarked on Chart 3, although not without mishaps.  Part of the problem may be because I'm knitting late at night, watching something on Netflix.  I wonder which is the problem.  

Most of the errors seem to be a forgotten yo.   There was one place where I wrapped the yarn around twice.  There are also a couple places where the stitch count is off, where I can find no problem in the pattern. I will fix the yo, but I'll have to fudge the stitch count problem since I couldn't see how it came about.  I can't always count or read a pattern correctly late at night, either.  When I see too many potential problems, I put it down until the next day.  Usually at least one problem goes away.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Winter Leaves Shawl, Chart 2

I'm currently working Chart 2 of the Winter Leaves Shawl, again.  I became an expert on just about every way to mess up Chart 1.  I finally got it all correct, then starting messing up Chart 2. 

When I first starting knitting lace shawls, I chose a very simple one to start with, and then two more progressively more difficult ones.  It was a very good way to build lace knitting skills.  It's not a good idea to stop knitting lace anything for several months, though.  I think it let me back slide.  In addition, I'm following charts, not a knitted pattern, so some things I have to figure out myself.  

At this point I'd say the important part of Chart 2 is that the count for the stitches on either side of the center stitch is exact, and that you keep an eye on the ends, too.  Never lose sight of the center! 

It's a Cat Thing

When I lived in my previous apartment, one cat liked to climb on top of the cupboards and knock things down.  I had things stored up there that didn't well elsewhere, like fans and curtain roads, so I didn't like this amusement.  It didn't occur to me until watching this video that it was an inbred cat-thing and not just a Tamsin-thing.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Part Way There

I am steadfastly working on the Winter Leaves Shawl.  It's challenging to increase stitches and work in pattern at the same time.  When I stopped to look at the shawl last night, I saw that I did fine on one end, but did something completely different on the other.  I wish the good end was the one on the right so I could copy what I did on the left, but of course it's not.  *Sigh*  If I still had a working camera I would take a picture of the good side before I ripped it back.

I am the type of knitter who will take something back instead of fudging, although not all the time.  My feeling is if I'm only going to knit it once, I'd rather have it correct.  Occasionally on a shawl, despite my best efforts, I will have an extra stitch.  If it's not too noticeable or it doesn't affect the pattern very much, I'll just fix it by knitting two together.

Attention on Catster

My cats' diaries are getting attention lately on Catster.  Catster is a social web site for cat owners.  It has been around a long time and was pay only.  Recently I discovered there's a free membership level now.  For the fun of it I decided to open an account and create profiles for my cats.  People do like to talk about their pets, but not all people want to listen.  It's also an opportunity for me to play around a little with words. 

This past Sunday I received a message that Molly (full name Molly Kayleen) was Catster's Featured Diary of the Day.  She would be featured on the community homepage all day long.  She received many visitors.  Today I was told that Emily (full name Emily Rose) was the Featured Diary of the Day.  Not only that, Midnight was also chosen as one of today's featured diaries and would be displayed all day today at Diary Central. 

What am I doing right here?

Catster: the site for cat lovers

Thursday, October 3, 2013

My MP3 Player

I love my MP3 player.  It's an 8GB Sandisk Fuze which I've had for three years and it looks like it's nearing the end of its useful life.  It is such a wonderful gadget.  It's a life-saving to an insomniac.  When you're doing something physical but boring (housework comes to mind) and are wearing clothes with a pocket, it helps occupy your mind and keeps you going.  I am so sad I'm having trouble with it, since I have no money to replace it.  I might be able to keep it going for a little while.  The problem is that it won't turn off.  The quality of this little thing is excellent.  It's held up to more abuse than I'd like to admit.  Sansa customer service has always been polite and helpful when I've called.  Let's hope something happens soon to enable me to replace it.

Please note I know how to use its and it's correctly.  It's not that difficult, folks.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Knitting Charts

I knit the first section of the Winter Leaves shawl watching a very interesting Canadian tv series called Bomb Girls
The setting of the series is Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1942.   Because Canada is part of the British Empire, it has already entered the war.  Male workers are in short supply, so women from all walks of life go to work in the munitions factories.  Women working for a wage on factory floors are still viewed suspiciously here and to their male counterparts they are mostly sex objects and second class citizens. One of the main characters, a rich girl, discovers that in some ways she has less freedom than her blue-collar colleagues in the factory.  My mother was ten that year and this is a decade that helped shaped her life. I found it fascinating and it triggered a marathon knitting session. 

I am very unhappy that Bomb Girls was cancelled after two years.  It was intelligent, interesting, thought-provoking and humorous at times.  The people seemed real.  It's extremely rare to have such a good program with an ensemble cast of women.  There should be more of these programs, since women make up at least half of the population.  Unfortunately most women have probably been too busy taking care of spouses, children, other relatives and households to watch it and affect tv ratings.  More's the pity.

I discovered that I knit too far on the shawl so I had to take some rows back.  At least I had the correct number of stitches. Now I'm faced with a challenge. There are three knitting charts to this pattern.  I have never used knitting charts before. Somehow I achieved As in geometry, trigonometry and even algebra (I don't know how I ever managed to do the word problems) in high school, as well as Spanish, German and Italian. I should be able to follow knitting charts, right? 

My first attempt was not successful.  It seems like there's some unwritten knowledge that's taken for granted and not written down. This is also the row where I change to the larger circular needles. As I've written in the past, my cat Emily loves circular knitting needles. The stitches I took out went back on the smaller needle as they came off the larger needle. I accidentally let go of  the larger needle after I put the last stitch back. Emily was right there with her paw ready to grab the circular knitting needle.  She has her own circular needle with a split cable to play with, but she ignores it. The fun must be in the theft. 

I attempted to follow the first chart a different way.  I think I must be close, but it wasn't perfect.  I was short one stitch.  I'm hoping that I miscounted stitches or forgot a step somewhere.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Knitting Again

I am finally knitting again.  It occurred to me that I hadn't knitted since my dear friend Kay's memorial service on August 3.  Three friends, who also knew Kay, had trouble going back to knitting.  It was easier for me to go back to it after this realization and hearing from my friends.  I chose my next yarn a while ago:

I bought this pretty yarn from Liberty Fibers at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival in 2011. The night before the festival I tried to think of colors I'd want to knit in a shawl and this yarn captured them almost exactly.  Both skeins were hand-painted at the same time, but they came out differently.  I am knitting one shawl with them, alternating the yarns every two rows.  Hopefully it'll work out fine.  The pattern I finally chose is the Winter Leaves Shawl by Anna Szymanowka on Ravelry.

I didn't want to think too much at this time and I think hand-painted yarn usually requires a simpler pattern.  It feels good to knit again.  My cat Emily is happy to have that to watch again.  She sits next to me on the arm of the chair.  Of course, I am swinging the cable of a circular knitting needle back and forth.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Haunting Tributes

I just heard this haunting song, "Here Comes The Water" by Chuck Pyle on the Hudson River Sampler.  It is a deserving memorial to a Colorado trooper who sacrificed his life to save people from flooding in 1976.  It put me in mind of Tom Paxton's song "The Bravest."  I first heard him sing it live on the Prairie Home Companion the fall of 2001.  I haven't heard a better tribute to the survivors and the victims of 9/11.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Tasty Meal

That was me!  A friend was in town for the Tow Row Wampum Treaty Renewal Campaign kick-off celebration nearby in Troy, NY.  Later we went to a Chinese buffet for supper and to the Control Tower for ice cream.  I was out rather later at night than I thought I would be, so I had no insect repellent with me.  I was the mosquitoes' supper there!  I had at least 23 bites from the bugs on me.  Oh, my feet started to itch like mad!  It turns out the itch is created by the histamine in my system reacting to the saliva from the bites.  It reacted very well.  I'm surprised I went to sleep Saturday night.  I used something called Calogel that my mother gave me.  There's a list of other mosquito bite remedies on

Friday, July 26, 2013

Murphy's Law

My life this year seems to be strongly affected by Murphy's Law.  Today is a good example. I wanted to mend my new ribbon dress so that I could wear it to the Two Row Wampum Treaty Send-Off Celebration Festival tomorrow.  It has an L-shaped tear from when I fell into the symbolic firepit of the Daniel Nimham memorial in Putnam County.  In addition to the walls of the firepit itself, I fell on a sharp rock.  There was no tear i n the dress when I took it off.  However, after I washed and went to iron it, a tear developed in the back where I must have landed on the sharp rock. It stressed the fabric just enough so it couldn't withstand the washing and ironing.  I got my portable sewing machine out for the first time since I moved here.  The bobbin case is missing.  I imagine I wanted the bobbin that was in it, but why I didn't put it back I don't know.  It must have gotten knocked onto the floor somehow.  I have one more place to look then I give up.  I'll have to take the dress down to my mother's to fix the tear.  I think I'll sew at least one more ribbon dress while I'm there.  I have two cut out and I think I bought the ribbon for them.

I found an excellent video from Expert Village on repairing this type of tear:

Here's the second part:

My dress will never look new again.  However, I can repair the rip neatly and the fabric won't unravel around it in the future.  It's also on the back so I don't have to see it all the time and it should be less noticeable to everyone else.  I'm glad for that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Unemployment Benefit Hearings

If you live in upstate New York, if you're not lucky, you may find out that the unemployment benefit hearing process is stacked against the poor, unemployed worker.  I just had the wonderful experience of having the lawyer abandon me the week before the hearing, and here I am very stressed from physical illness, poverty, lack of work, you name it.  I really need a lawyer to attend with me, but I can't find one, let alone afford it. The hearing can't be postponed because the employer requested it.  I have no rich parent to wave money in front of someone's nose like on TV.  (I wish.)  There is only one agency in the area that can help, but the representative can't attend the hearing with you.  The agency doesn't have enough money.  (Who's not donating money for the legal field, I wonder.)   Lawyers supposedly working in the unemployment area have not returned my phone calls or, in one case, didn't even have the expertise listed in his ad in the phone book.  (That floored me.)  Only someone registered with the court can go in with me, not just any intelligent, supportive friend to help me keep my wits about me.  The system is set up so that a poor, stressed-out unemployed person with NO legal experience is forced to appear in court against the former boss who is in part responsible for the stress and his/her PAID legal help (if present).  That is not fair!  I guess we have to thank the three men who controlled New York State for so long for these rules:  the Governor (George Pataki), Senate Majority Leader (Joseph Bruno, since convicted of federal corruption charges, that were later thrown out--his phone system installed in one office I worked in was crappy, and sometimes disconnected all by itself), and Assembly Speaker (Sheldon Silver, currently having his sexual harassment scandal hushed up).  (I still don't know why the Senate coup wasn't a nation-wide scandal and more change in New York State wasn't made.)

I made two mistakes that you should not:
  1. If you have an appointment with Legal Aid, go to it anyway, in case the lawyer you've been in discussion with abandons you, too.
  2. Send in the Application for Referral for pro bono help, in case the lawyer abandons you.
I have been kicking my ass thoroughly all week.  But, you know, considering the overwhelming response I got from my phone calls, a lawyer probably wouldn't have volunteered his/her services in time, anyway.  Heart-warming, isn't it?

One helpful note, it could be the lawyer abandons you just because s/he doesn't think he'll be awarded enough money for his time.  That's all you need at the time, to learn that you aren't worth the time.

It is excruciating to be treated with less regard and fewer rights than someone arrested for a criminal offense.  I was just doing what the system required me to do.  I am trying to survive, literally.  We are all worth more than the people who have created this system and the people who refuse to help us.


Since I had to attend the hearing, after some panicking, I got down to work and organized my evidence the best I could.  I based it on the copy of the letter I received from the former employer.  I felt very good that I could prove him wrong on 10 out of 12 points.  A couple were weak.  Two were missing from the letter, but were brought up, and I had proof in my evidence.  It had to be continued since my part of the hearing took longer than expected :) The second part of the hearing was not fun since the former employer could not produce much evidence and his summation consisted of character assassination.  However, I WON!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tidy Cats Glade Kitty Litter A Toxic Choice

Tidy Cat is offering a new kitty litter, Tidy Cat Glade Tough Order Solution.  Please don’t ever use this.  Artificial scents are virtually unregulated in this country and are the overwhelming source of scent in commercial products.  95 percent of artificial scent is toxic.  Even natural chemicals can be hazardous.

Women’s Voices for the Earth tested 20 popular cleaners from 5 top companies.  In their words, “We found reproductive toxins, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and allergens, and none of these chemicals were listed on the product label.

Glade is owned by S.C. Johnson & Son.  In the product Glade Plug In Scented Oil Hawaiian Breeze the organization found limonene, linalool and eugenol.  Limonene and linalook, although natural, are known to provoke allergic reactions. [1]   Eugeneol, the active ingredient in clove oil, is also used in insecticides.[2] 

I would think that the chemicals in the kitty litter would be the same as the ones in the Glade air "freshening" products.  You don’t know if your cat is allergic to limonene or linalool until you expose them to it and you don’t know how allergic the animal is.  If you are unlucky enough, that one exposure may be too much for your cat.  These chemicals are terpenes.  There is no known antidote for them.  The only treatment is supportive.[3]    In the air terpenes combine with ozone to create formaldehyde, a cancer-causing chemical with a low acceptable exposure limit[4] and secondary particles of air pollution whose effects haven’t been determined yet.[5]

It is possible to consume too much eugenol. In fact the National Library of Medicine defines eugenol overdose as "poisoning from swallowing a large amount of eugenol oil (clove oil)." Some of the symptoms are shallow and rapid breathing, coughing up blood, blood in urine, burns in mouth and throat, abdominal pain, nausea, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, seizures, and even coma.[6]  Clumping kitty litter gets stuck on cat fur, especially if they have long hair.  It is not a good idea to let your cats ingest this.  

In addition to these natural occurring ingredients, the National Resources Defense Council discovered that Glade Plug-Ins also contain phthalates, chemicals that can cause endocrine, reproductive, and developmental problems.  Regular use of air fresheners increases asthma 30 to 50 percent.[7]
Another possible ingredient is synthetic musk, a potential hormone disruptor.  Synthetic musk increases the likelihood of breast cancer and liver toxicity.[8]  Stanford University researchers Till Luckenbach and David Epel have also discovered that synthetic musk enhances the effect of other toxic substances.[9]

Not only would your cat be breathing in and ingesting the above chemicals, so would anyone else in the dwelling.  Do you really want to set yourself up for future illness by using Tidy Cat Glade kitty litter, or any Glade products?

[1]Dirty Secrets Test Results,” Women’s Voices for the Earth,, accessed 28 June 2013.
[2][2] The Bug Doctor, “The Darker Side of Eugenol,”, accessed 28 June 2013.
[3] John Said Kashani, DO, Asim Tarabar, MD, Steve Marcus, MD, Terpene Toxicity Medication, Medscape Reference: Drugs, Diseases and Procedures,, accessed 28 June 2013.
[4] Dr. Ben Kim, “Beware of toxic air fresheners,” Chet Day’s Health & Beyond Online,, accessed 28 June 2013.
[5] W. W. Nazaroff, et all, “Final Report:  Contract No. 01-336 Prepared for the California Air Resources Board and the California Environmental Protection Agency, 10 May, 2006,”,, accessed 28 June 2013.
[6] W. J. Rayment, Eugenoll,, accessed 28 June 2013.
[7] Dr. Ben Kim, “Beware of toxic air fresheners,” Chet Day’s Health & Beyond Online,, accessed 28 June 2013.
[8] “Synthetic  Musks,” The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics,, accessed on 28 June 2013.
[9] Cynthia Washam, “A Whiff of Danger:  Synthetic Musks May Encourage Toxic Bioaccumulation,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 113(1), January 2005, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.