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. . . if I still had anything to have PMS with.   Ditched all that in the 1980’s and good riddance.  Now I’m democratically crabby* —  crabby for reasons that do not discriminate against age, sex, race, creed or national origin:  Lack of sleep, a pounding sinus headache and a whiney (the white one) “child” who has been bowing on my last nerve like an inept violinist all evening.

2015_01_11-09Of the last 15 minutes, I spent:  10 minutes crouched under my desk with a flashlight, pet mess spray and a roll of paper towels cleaning up kitty urp deposited behind the green waste basket by the grey kitty, some of which was projected into the crack between the plywood board where my desk and chair are and the baseboard; and 5 minutes yelling at the white one to be quiet and at the black one to leave the grey one alone.  I’ve been feeding the grey one sliced turkey up on top of the washing machine (too high for either of the other two to jump), trying desperately to get some extra protein into her diet to (a) keep her alive and (b) try to put some meat on her bones.  (She’s just so thin.  She looks like a victim of Auschwitz.)  The black one is already jealous of her as it is because reasons, and me feeding her special stuff that he doesn’t get is exacerbating and escalating that situation.  Add to it that he’s a little thug who outweighs her by at least 10 lbs., and there you are.

I have a sinus headache because the cedars and junipers in the area are shedding pollen and my sinuses are having a hissy fit because of it.  We’ve been having a warming trend in the past week, and had some precipitation that washed the gin trash out of the air, which was a relief, so now the cedars and junipers have a clear field.

It’s the last day of the month and the last day of the pay period.  Everybody is trying to make as much hay as they can before the sun sets on the payperiod.  Consequently, there’s not a lot of work, which is just fine with me.  I have no patience with the typical lot of mumblers, clutterers, and English-second-language dictators just at the moment.  Frankly, I’d rather be knitting.

2015_01_31-01Yesterday, I joined the sleeves on the reader’s shrug that I’m knitting from the center of the back in both directions to the cuff of the sleeves (loops at top and bottom), using a figure-of-eight cast on (which is not the same as the Turkish cast on) and employing the magic loop technique.  When you use the magic loop method with knitting socks, it prevents “second sock syndrome.”  In this case, I’m using it to prevent “second sleeve syndrome” and because I hate to have to knit things in pieces and then sew them together.  If it is at all possible to knit something all of a piece, I will figure out how and do it that way.  I will post this pattern for this shrug when I get the piece finished.  It’s actually pretty simple.

Figure-of-eight cast on, right side

Figure-of-eight cast on, right side

Figure-of-eight cast on, wrong side

Figure-of-eight cast on, wrong side

It’s a “reader’s” shrug because the reason I’m knitting it is to keep my arms warm while I’m reading in bed. (Life is so hard!)  It has two balls of yarn attached — one going in each direction from the center back and forming each sleeve.  Once the sleeves are done, I will pick up the stitches around the center opening and make a little border around the front edge (not unlike this here).  I may even use some kind of a knitted lace stitch to do it just because the whole rest of the shrug is nothing but plain K1, P1 ribbing. It’s done in this lovely silvery blue colored yarn which none of the above pictures do justice to.

At some point, it would behoove** me to update those of my Ravelry Projects which were done from patterns I worked out myself and link them to the posts featuring those patterns in my new knitting blog. . . ahem. . .

Kelly Butterfly

A former caterpiggle who turned into a busterfly . . .

Speaking of reading, I’ve kind of been falling down on the job.  I’ve only read 17 books this year so far, several of which were very heavily illustrated  —  yearly collections of Walt Kelly‘s classic newspaper comic strip “Pogo” from the 1950’s through the 1970’s — he was the one who started that thing of gathering a year’s worth of daily strips together and publishing them in book form.   His artwork was gorgeous (he was an animator for Disney before he started Pogo, so he had some serious graphic chops) and he had that kind of off-the-wall humor I love, both in verbal and graphic formats (interesting takes on members of the insect family — see left; a turtle named Churchy La Femme; a toothless snake, Snavely by name, who wore a derby, kept dipping into the snake bite cure, and was teaching an earthworm how to be a rattler; three bats who also wore derby hats, smoked cigars, and played cards, named Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildewed — who could never keep straight who was who — if they put on the wrong trousers when they got up in the morning, they didn’t know who they were all day.  Like I say, they were bats . . .)  His political satire was sharper than a serpent’s tooth (Khrushchev was a bear, Lyndon Johnson, “The Loan Arranger” was a long-horned cow, Nixon was a teapot with eight legs, and Agnew was a hyena) and he did things with a bear, a possum, a hound dog, a rabbit, a turtle, a ladder, a bucket of water and a prop door that is one of the funniest bits of slapstick since the heyday of Sir Charles and that herd of cops he used to hang out with. . .

I’ve also gotten into several subgenres of “Regency romance” here-to-fore not seen much in captivity — Regency fantasy in the form of the “glamorist” novels of Mary Robinette Kowal — who looks disturbingly like the “artists’ recreation” of Jane Austen, BTW, and Regency mystery, the Sebastian St. Cyr novels of C. S. HarrisSharon Lee turned me on to Harris, and Neil Gaiman turned me on to Kowal.  I’ve been heavy into the Greywalker books of Kat RichardsonDiana Wynn Jones remains a favorite.  The last two of hers I read were such a snort.   I’ve been trying to read some classic Ursula LeGuin, but so much of her stuff is dark and heavy.  It may be time to read the Earthsea books again.  I’m thinking I need to get Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory.  I’ve got all three extant books of her Eternal Sky series, but haven’t started reading it yet for some reason.  And at some point here soon I’ll need to start rereading the last few of C. J. Cherryh’s Foreigner books to get up to speed for the new one that’s coming out in a couple of months.

And, now that I think of it, I’ve got a bunch of books on my Kindle that I really need to start reading. . . .  I better get busy on my shrug.

*which is not to be confused with a crabby Democrat, which is a donkey of a quite different color.
** What is the first person form of this verb, “beheave?”