Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Spoiling the Spoiled

Ever since Winston was diagnosed with mouth cancer in April we have been spoiling him almost beyond measure. Whatever we eat, he gets some. If he likes it, he gets more, up to a point, but far more then I would ever dream of giving a pet. I also was pretty strict about waiting until the meal was over before he would get table scraps.

So yesterday was Winston's 13th birthday. With the kind of cancer he has, we were told that 3 months would be a good outcome and 6 would be great. He's approaching 5 months since surgery with still no signs of tumor regrowth. Technically he's in remission, at least for the time being. Since it will likely be his last, we wanted to do something really special for him. Two things that will always make him happy are food and catnip.

I was thinking steamed fish for food, since we rarely eat fish at home. We do eat steak and chicken which he gets a small indulgence of about once a week, so we needed something to top that. However, after asking my husband what he thought, and him being the treat/table scrap giver, he said, "sashimi". Nothing but the best for a very special cat. I went to the not so local Mitsuwa market and picked up 3 different types of raw fish and some yellowtail collars. For the humans, we had a Korean style rice bowl called hwe dup bap. It's rice, lettuce, raw fish, seaweed (aka nori) and a spicey/sweet sauce all mixed together. I broiled the yellowtail collars with just some salt and pepper and we dipped it in purchased ponzu sauce. My husband told Winston to have birthdays more often. For dessert Winston got a bit of muffin. When Winston lived with my family, my older sister would try feeding him everything. The two more unusual items he really liked was apple pie and muffins, we already knew about the cantaloupe and salt & vinegar chips.

Winston also got a fresh catnip toy tonight and I think he had a really great birthday. He doesn't know why he was spoiled, but it just makes us happy knowing that his probable last birthday was something really special. We have come to terms that our time is limited with him, and are no longer upset, just thankful he's so far living past what was expected. We took videos of him enjoying his day, but I will abstain from sharing.

In other news, I opened up a small etsy shop. I'm still on a big spinning kick and started dyeing some of my own fibers. I'm not using what I've been spinning, but I'm enjoying dyeing things up and seeing how it turns out. I have also meant to get my stitch markers up for some time, so it was a good kick in the butt combination to get me moving. The store is Simply Basics and I also started a blog for it here.

I wanted to separate my excessive cat talk and personal stuff from shop updates and miscellaneous back story to some of what I do over there. This blog has mostly been ignored the past year, so we'll even see if this blog survives.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Birthday and Bad News :(


I still can't believe it's almost been a year since I got the call that tiny kittens needed a foster bottle mom. I estimated that Sally was about 10-14 days old when I rescued her, so today is the day I've been putting down on her records.

Although she looks tiny in the picture, when standing side by side with Winston she is slightly taller than him but a little bit shorter in length. She was born in the year of the pig, along with my husband and Winston. I'm surrounded by pigs!! Sally is considered a golden pig which apparently means that babies born in that year (happens every 60 years) will have a prosperous and wealthy life. If you can tell by the person's belly then Sally is definitely a golden pig ;)

As to the bad news, almost a month ago we found out that Winston has terminal cancer. My veterinary oncologist sister found a mass under his tongue as he was hissing at her. She had suspected from what I was telling her the week or two before her visit what he probably was suffering from, but it was verified when she came. The cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma and is typically found in older cats under the tongue and normally in lighter colored cats. This cancer manifests itself differently in different species, and in cats its just a bad thing. The cancer won't metastasize but the tumor will continue to grow until the cat won't be able to eat or drink, and this type of cancer does not respond to chemo and radiation.

Winston's tumor was on the big side, about the size of a pea, he was not grooming so well and his eating was getting messier. It was truly kismet how everything came together, from my sister visiting, to her colleague working nearby to the oral surgeon being in. They were able to not only get a biopsy but remove some (not all) of the tumor. Since Winston had not been grooming himself very well, my sister gave him a lion cut and a bath while he was under anesthesia. The first couple days after the surgery were rough, but he is now pretty much back to his old self. He is playing with Sally again, eating well, drinking well and grooming. We don't know how or when the cancer will come back, but we know it's just a matter of time. So Winston will just be a spoiled cat until we know it is his time. This picture was taken a couple days ago and his hair has already started to grow in a little bit.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

what I've been up to

A lot has gone on since I last posted so here is a little catch up.

I went to see the Yarn Harlot which many people have already posted about. I had a great time and she was a great speaker. One of the more amusing parts of the day was when Wen got the Yarn Harlot to look over her big signing podium to look at my shoes. She looked over to see these:

Unfortunately it also made her stick her backside up in the air. Fortunately we were at the end of the line and most cameras were far far away. It was a great day, albeit long and mostly without incident. Hooray to knitting days out.

Since then I've dusted off my old Ashford Traditional wheel, gave it a nice wax and have gone completely obsessed again with spinning. It's been quite a while since I have spun, and this time around I'm enjoying it a lot more. I think it is because I'm much more comfortable with my knitting and also more comfortable with my designing abilities. I know now, that whatever weight the yarn comes out, as long as I'm consistent, I'll be able to figure something out with it.

My big goal is to spin sock yarn, so I've been doing a lot of sampling. Back in 2002 I was part of an instant gratification dye swap. In this swap we sent 8 or 10 oz of yarn or roving that we dyed and bagged them up in 1oz increments. Then according to your group assigned, you were sent back 1 each of the contributions in your group. I had kool-aid dyed some merino and that was the first of my experiments. I aimed for a 3-ply and this is what I got:


It doesn't even feel like merino. In this sample, I learned that you need to not spin the singles quite so tight if you are going to make a 3-ply yarn. However, I did get the wpi I wanted and some practice on navajo plying.

The next experiment was a 2-ply fingering weight with another roving from this swap. I've lost the tag that came with this roving, but I know it was dyed with wash fast dyes and it feels like merino. Here is its progression:

I spun this up using the fractal stripe method. I cast-on immediately because I wanted to see how it would knit up.

After that I decided to go back for more punishment and went back to trying a 3-ply but this time with beautiful merino tencel dyed by Chasing Rainbows in Dove. I was successful this time:
I have a tad over 150 yards and I'll probably make a simple lace scarf with this.

During all this I joined Spunky Eclectic's fiber club and I'm in the midst of spinning this month's offering called Goblin Eyes and is Romney. Love the colors, but the fiber is scritchy. I think once it is spun up I'll have an idea what I'll do with it.

I also went to a spinning/weaving event and this was my haul:

1lb of mill end beast Brown Sheep roving bits
2 - 4oz bumps of blended superwash merino roving from the ranch
4oz of bamboo roving from Stick and Stone Fiber Arts
4oz of Capistrano Fiber Arts blue faced leicester

This isn't my only fiber acquisitions lately, but that's not something I will 'fess up to right now.

I've had a really good time lately spinning and also hanging out with the OOPs knitters. I think fiber and kittens have been a good way to keep sane lately.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mr. Brown's New Home

This past week I was able to visit with a college friend that lives in Philadelphia. Prior to her coming out I heard sad news that her 3 year old cat Noah had passed away suddenly.

R and her husband were devastated and having it happen with no warning made everything worse.

When they visited us and the kittens, I gently suggested that Mr. Brown would be a good fit for them. Ever since coming home from Alaska, he calmed down and became a very affectionate mellow cat. After thinking about it, R & C decided that they would like to adopt him. I was so happy to find a good home for him and with someone I know well. Selfishly too, I'll be able to see him when I visit Philadelphia and hear updates about him.

Yesterday my friends flew back to Philadelphia with Mr. Brown. I went to the airport to hand him over with toys, food and vaccine information. I did not think it would be as hard to give him up even though I know it's the perfect home for him. The whole house including torty are adjusting now to his absence. The little one was really needy yesterday, which made me cry yet again. However, I knew this is what is best, and I knew it was going to happen. I didn't think I'd be so damn emotional!

I'm taking a small break from my Broadway cardigan and started this:

This blurry bunny is from Mr. Funky's Super Wonderful Crochet. I also found this pattern for free here. I'm using Bernat CottonTots yarn in light blue. I picked up hand blown glass eyes from the Dollmakers in Monrovia. The eyes are really hard to use though, and I'm going to have to do quite a bit of fussing to get them to stay. Both eyes were on opposite sides of a wire that I cut then folded over, now I'm bending it to fit the curve of the head and trying to sew the wire down as best as I can without the wire popping out of the eye. The nose is a 9mm plastic nose with a washer that I got from Joanns. The rest of the pieces are done, I just need to sew (?!@$*) it all together. The pattern does not have a tail, so I made one myself, because how can a bunny not have a tail! I'm currently stash diving for a yarn to make her dress with.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Moving On

Although I gave notice at the two shops I teach at a little while ago, I finally had the courage to post something on my website.

I am someone that dislikes change, and it is an uncomfortable feeling knowing that I am gearing up for a new stage in my life. However, it was the right thing to do for me at this time and I am curious to see what comes next.

It is a novel feeling knowing that I can knit whatever I feel like in whatever color I choose without some work related knitting looming over my head! Right now I'm working on mystery stole 3 in Alpaca with a Twist, Fino in a light grey/blue and iridescent blue/green beads. I am also working on a cabled cardigan from Rowan Classic Cafe in a rich dark brown merino superwash yarn by Knitting Fever called Sublime.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bad Human, Bad Bear

AKA, what the Kim family does on a family vacation.

Bad Human

Bad Bear

The last time my family took a family vacation was 25 years ago to Marco Island when I was still in grade school. So we all met up in Anchorage at the beginning of July coming from Philadelphia, New Jersey, Manhattan, San Francisco, and Los Angeles for 7 straight days on a somewhat confining cruise ship. The best thing is, we all survived each other! Actually, we are a very close family and it was great to be able to spend time with all of them. Especially since the most time we seem to get the whole family together is for maybe 2 overlapping days every 2-4 years. I'll try to post more pictures of the actual trip when I have more time!

The kittens are still with me and we are still looking to find the perfect home for the little boy. Little Tortie almost didn't make it 2 weeks ago due to a possible vaccine reaction, so we're holding onto her at least through the next round of vaccines.

I'm trying to get off my butt because I want to post pictures of what I'm working on and more Alaska pictures.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Spread the Word

The kittens will be ready for a new home in a couple weeks, and I want them to go to a good home, so if you can, please spread the word around. I made a little flyer for them that I posted around town, but here is one for the 'net.

Kitten Flyer (pdf file)

Also, Marie's friend has an all black bottle baby that will be adoptable soon too and urgently needs a home.

And this ends the pleading ;)

Rusted Root is done! I hope to post pictures soon. Started a new project last night, but I'm afraid to say what it is and jinx that it'll never get finished!