Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cats, Cats, & More Cats


I’ve blogged before about my inborn love of cats, so I won’t belabor that. Bottom line, I love cats. Always have, always will.

Along with my love of the real deal, I collect cat “stuff”…lots and lots and lots. I used to get anything “cat” whenever I would come across it. At this point in my life, I have so much that I can’t display it all, so I exercise great constraint. Most of my friends know of my feline interest, and find it very easy to get gifts for me for whatever occasion that calls for a gift.

Along with cat “things” I also appreciate artwork from artists such as Kliban, Laurel Burch, Sandra Silberzweig and Dean Russo. I have a set of collectible plates by Bill Bell. Since Laurel Burch died, her stuff can be pretty pricey.

I have enough cat ornaments to trim at least 2-3 large Christmas trees. (But don’t let that stop you if that’s what you were going to give me for my birthday or Christmas.) I like to rotate them every year.

You want to see figurines?? I got ‘em!! Tons! Love ‘em all!
Cookie jars, tea sets, tea pots, mugs, glasses.
Mirrors. Pictures. BOOKS galore. Pillows.
I even have a cane with a cat’s head.
Playing cards. Games. Pens.

And I’m always on the lookout for something new or different. The other day I was looking through a mail order magazine and saw a cat-shaped fan. It took either batteries or had an adapter that you could plug in. I do not have a cat fan. However, as I said, I use constraint. The fan was plastic, and when you count the cost of the adapter and shipping, it was way more than what I considered a reasonable price.

So yes, you may call me a “Crazy Cat Lady.” I accept that. But I’m not insane…>^..^<

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring Rituals


My friend Nadine suggested this post, saying maybe I could talk about my spring cleaning methods. After picking myself up off the floor and wiping the tears of laughter from my eyes, I realized she was serious. My style of house cleaning is somewhat…ahem…eclectic. As in, I don’t do it unless someone is coming over.

I do have a sort of ritual that I go through to mark the coming of warmer weather. When I was growing up, we would pack up our winter clothes with mothballs to store in the closet in the shop. We would take out the boxes with the summer clothes and hang them all up on the clothesline to get the smell of mothballs out. When the seasons changed, we would reverse this. I don’t do this now. The out of season clothes get shoved to the back of the closet and the pertinent ones brought forward.

I have a tendency to push the season a bit, though. The first HINT of warmth and the flannel sheets are OFF the bed and the linen ones put on. The flannel jammies are buried in the drawer and the summer ones brought to the surface. There is always the cold snap that comes by to surprise, but by golly, I am NOT going to get the flannel stuff out again!! I will freeze first!

The other part of the season change is I go barefoot more. I put away the winter shoes in their little hanging bag on the closet door and get out the sandals. I shove the heavier socks to the back of the drawer and have the lighter ones forward for when I wear tennis shoes. About the last thing I do is put the jeans in a drawer for occasional use and make sure the capris and shorts are handy.

And that is that. Bring on the BBQ, hotdogs and s’mores!

Friday, April 17, 2015

How I Became A Hooker

My grandmother taught me how to crochet a simple chain when I was very young. She never taught me anything else to do with that activity. So I would crochet these really long chains with thin crochet cotton. That became pretty boring pretty fast, and so I quit.

Fast forward 10 years, and I was in high school in some kind of class (girls only) where we did various things having to do with knitting, crochet and sewing. I learned how to do a basket stitch in knitting and made several potholders. That was fun. I also learned some kind of bead stitch and made a few scarves. I later tried using circular needles and made a couple of ski caps that I’m rather proud of, but that’s about it as far as knitting goes.
I’ve always hated sewing, don’t remember what it was I did with that in school.
For crochet, I learned the various terms for the directions and made a shawl with a stitch that I had trouble with for some reason. I finally conquered it, only to discover toward the end of the shawl that I had made a huge error at the beginning. So I ended up with this nice looking shawl that had the first 3 rows all stupid looking. I think I put away the hooks at that point.

Somewhere along the way I got a magazine that had a bunch of things to make using the humble Granny Square pattern. I had to relearn all the terms again, and pretty much taught myself how to do it. I loved it! Making those squares was just so much fun. I made hats, scarves, blankets. I did try other things using other stitches. I made a couple of rugs using Aunt Lydia’s Rug Yarn (which is no more, sadly) and more potholders.

I mostly do granny squares now. I have made a few little purses using double-crochet, but I prefer the variety of colors I can put into something made with the squares. One time I started crocheting a tote bag out of plastic grocery bags. I HATED doing that! Marv’s mom was a champ at crochet, and made a bunch of those things and sold them to the various nurses and CNAs at the nursing home she was in! She could do anything in the world of crochet, and if she didn’t have a pattern she could usually make it up. I really wish I had that talent. Thanks to the Internet, there is a vast number of sites for all things Granny Square. One Christmas, I made several pairs of slippers for various family members. Right now I’m working on a tote bag. It’s made with the usual pattern square, but it’s assembled in a way I’ve never done before, and will require lining. I’ve never done that, and am willing to give it a try, even though it involves the sewing machine.

So that’s my story. Yes, I’m a hooker. And proud of it!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April 2015 Book Report

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) by Alistair MacLean

Never saw the movie, but had heard of this guy. This was a YA bio from a book sale. T. E. Lawrence was quite a guy. I have to admit I skimmed some of the battle stuff and strategies. A lot of the people mentioned in the book I looked up on the Internet to read more about them. Interesting history.
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The Brownstone House (1974) by Rae Foley

Good little mystery. Three women who were friends in college grow apart as adults and things aren’t as friendly as they seemed. Then people start dropping dead. I really wondered who the perp was until the very end, when it was obvious who it was, as he was the only one left alive. I enjoy it when I don’t see the ending way before.
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The Kinta Years (1973) by Janice Holt Giles

Autobiography of Ms. Giles’ early years in Kinta, OK. Tons of Southern history here. Fascinating. Would like to find more of her books. Very well written. A little wordy here and there, but very enjoyable.
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Sanctum (2014) by Madeleine Roux

This is the sequel to Asylum. Very creepy. Great story. I think I enjoyed this one even more than the first book. Dan, Abby and Jordan return to the university adjacent to Brookline Asylum to do some more sleuthing. Still leaves a lot of questions at the end, so I hope there will be another book in the wings.
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Time Bandit (2008) by Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand

I’m a big fan of The Deadliest Catch, a reality show on Discovery. The show is about crab fishing on the Bering Sea. The Hillstrand brothers are the co-captains of the FV Time Bandit. The chapters went back and forth between the brothers. Good read.
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Retrograde (2014) by “Captain” Robert Brown

This sequel to The Wrath of Fate was outstanding! Another great romp through time in the airship Ophelia. I love how “Captain” Robert weaves the lyrics of his songs throughout his books. Abney Park is the BEST Steampunk band ever!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Church Stuff part 2

Along with going to Sunday School and church every week when I was a child, I always went to Vacation Bible School every summer. I LOVED hearing Bible stories and doing pertinent crafts. It was at VBS when I was about 4 or 5 that I first learned about The Three Men in the Fiery Furnace. That just fascinated me! I thought about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego standing amongst the flames, unharmed, singing praises to God! Amazing! I never questioned whether the Bible was true or not. And I still don’t.

It was in Sunday School that we had the lesson about Palm Sunday one year, and the activity was to punch out little t-shirts and leaves to paste onto the picture of a roadway for Jesus to walk down as He rode the donkey. I knew about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins when I was very little. Of course I had no idea what a crucifixion entailed, but I did know what death was and meant. And that it probably hurt a LOT. And I was very grateful for His sacrifice. I went to a Lutheran kindergarten and we did a re-enactment of what took place on Good Friday. Three boys were chosen as Jesus and the two robbers. They took their blankets (we all had our own blankets to lay on the floor for nap time) and wrapped them around themselves like loincloths and stood up on the table with their arms outstretched.
One time we also re-enacted a church service, lining up just our chairs in rows. We sang a couple of hymns, and then 2 boys were chosen as ushers to take the offering plates around.

When a child was celebrating a birthday, he/she would come forward and we would all sing a special song. Then the leader would hold out a large papier-mâché birthday cake with a slot in the top and the birthday child would put pennies in it as a thank offering. One penny for each year, and we all would count along. Then there was a basket with trinkets that the birthday child could chose from. I don’t remember how old I was when I chose something very precious to me: a picture of Jesus knocking at the door, with the verse on the back. It was small and in a cheap plastic frame, but that stood on my dresser for years. I still have it.

There was a special 4-page pamphlet with various prayers, Bible verses and hymn verses. Over the years when you felt you had competently memorized something from this, you would recite it to the teacher and you would get a star placed by that passage. I don’t remember how long it took, but the year before I started Confirmation I had completed it all and earned my very own copy of Luther’s Small Catechism personally signed and presented by the Sunday School superintendant. Big stuff. I was so proud that when it came time for me to start Confirmation I didn’t have to buy a Catechism…I had EARNED mine.  

Sunday School wasn’t as much fun when the lessons became more in depth and we didn’t do crafts, but it was still a vital part of my life, and I’m grateful for the learning that took place.
Same with Confirmation, which took place in 7th and 8th grades. It’s wasn’t what I would call fun, but I loved Pastor Schwermann dearly, and he made the lessons interesting. AND I got a new dress when I was confirmed!!