Wednesday, February 28, 2018

More cat adventures

After my cats tore open the lettuce bag (!) and ate some, I remembered my sister giving me a pet grass kit for my last birthday. It grew wonderfully and has received the kitty seal of approval.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Winter Returns

Winter made a comeback! This week we got 7 inches of snow; the most we've had this winter. It came in a series of smaller falls every other day. The funny thing were the weather forecasts: 'watch out! Saturday will be the big one!' Obviously, the result was that Saturday there was only a dusting of snow in the region. The heaviest amounts were a little over an inch. No wonder people mock weathermen.

The heavy frost was pretty, especially combined with the wet snow.




I did find a nice surprise on the doorstep a couple days ago; a box under 5 inches of snow containing these goodies:


From the amazing Punkin's Patch.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Greatest Showman

Wow and wow and wow some more.

Going in I didn't even know it was going to be a musical, so imagine my surprise when they started singing. I was hesitant about going at all because I don't like circuses (hooray there were no clowns in the movie!).

Great singing and acting. We left smiling.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Chicken Time

From the kitchen chickens...



to the ones doing all the work.



I was getting some seriously irate glances from those settled in for the night, so I'll spare you the others.

In other news: I finished another 7 year old project! It's a toddler sweater and, although it's marked as 'easy', it's the hardest thing I've knitted to date. On the plus side, most toddlers I know aren't too fussy about mistakes in their clothes.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Errant Thoughts Story, Part 16

Danny could tell something was bothering Melody as they were working the Friday night shift; a frown flickered across her face frequently and a few times he heard her muttering. Unfortunately, it was one of those evenings where it seemed that everyone in the area wanted pizza and he didn't have time to talk. The advantage of being so busy was how quickly time passed and at last they were cleaning and setting up for the next day.

The ritual walk to her car had become Danny's favorite part of the day. Tonight, he waited for her to say something. Finally, she spun around and, with arms crossed, asked, "How did you get your mom to listen to what you want?"

Before he could do more than open his mouth, she was continuing, "They just keep pushing and pushing me about which school, which major, which career path. And now." Her voice broke on a little sob, "It's all gotten so much worse. I thought when Joy...but, instead they can't seem to leave it."

Danny awkwardly patted her shoulder, wondering if he should ask for more details. Deciding she would tell him when she was ready, he answered her original question, "I don't know if I'm much help this way because I never confronted Mom about her plans. I didn't even tell her I didn't want to go to college because my uncle was being so generous about paying and she was so sure it was the right thing to do. Mostly because she never went and regretted it.

"When things changed, we both knew I couldn't get the scholarships to pay my own way and she wouldn't pressure me into student loans because she's so against going into debt at all. So, there it is, I didn't have to fight for what I wanted, but I was going to go along with what she wanted." He leaned against her car and waited for a reaction.

At first, she just gazed expressionlessly at him, then, she moved next to him, close but not touching. Together they watched the bugs spinning around the light hanging over the parking lot. "Joy was my cousin. She just graduated from an Ivy League school. Everything she ever did was perfect: sports, grades, projects. Her parents bragged about her all the time, but why not? She never let them down. Last year, companies were recruiting and vied for her. She accepted one and we all thought her life was set. Until last week." Melody paused and swallowed. "The company rescinded on her job offer. None of the companies were hiring. Her parents found her in the garage."

Danny didn't know what was worse, the monotone or the pain-wracked voice she finished with. Afraid of saying the wrong thing, he turned his hand up and, when she grasped it, held on gently.

"I'm scared," she whispered. "My parents are acting weird and they're normally so solid. And I feel guilty because I knew about all the suicides happening all over the country, but I didn't really think about them until it was my own family."

"Would you like to come over some time and talk to my mom? She's good at listening."

She snorted, "Must run in the family. Yeah, maybe I will."

Showing amazing sensitivity for a seventeen-year-old, Danny discarded all the topics he had planned on talking about this evening and silently held her hand until she was ready to leave.

Part 17

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Meowhoops

I was tempted to film a mock cat battle this evening, except the battleground just happened to be the dirty laundry pile and I'm not into that much sharing. Trigger has weight and experience on his side while Loki has speed and very sharp claws so they tend to be fairly evenly matched. She has a tendency to bop him on the face with her paw to taunt him into a match or just attack if he has a favored sleep spot. Tonight he was the victor, backing her into a corner then calmly walking away.

It was a day for missed photo ops. Earlier when I was doing chores, Galahad stood half in/out of the chicken coop, entirely filling the pop door with his fluffy bottom. The most gorgeous Splash Cochin rooster ever to turn up as a freebie in a chick order.

While I was sitting here, knitting away, I had an idea for the story. Yippee!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Gray days

Cold, windy, gray day. Even the chickens didn't want to go out. In fact, a lot of them wanted to stay on their roosts. I completely understand; if any day should be spent in bed...this one should.


Trigger offered to help with the knitting. This is a darker teal color than is showing on my monitor and soon I'll have to choose an accent yarn. What do you think? It's a toddler sweater and I'd like to keep it something that won't show dirt. I'm also going to stick with yarn I already have on hand, but opinions are welcome to give me a range to look at.

On a related topic: I've been reading sheep blogs lately and wish I knew how to spin. I wonder if there are any wool festivals in this part of the country? Dangerous to go to with no money to spend though.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Errant Thoughts Story, Part 15

Friday morning found Susan stepping off the bus in front of the Job Services building. She dreaded her required weekly visits here; it wasn't just the waste of time, but also the hopelessness that clung to all the people inside. There were rules to follow to receive unemployment and the longer she went, the more demanding they were. She was expected to apply for ten jobs each week, but not more than once a month for each business. In an economy where more businesses shut down each week than ever before, it had become extremely difficult.

Inside, every computer terminal was busy and the lines to the front desk were full of listless applicants, gazing blankly at motivational posters. She watched a man reading a brochure on being laid off, smiling with understanding as outrage crossed his face and he dropped it back on the table. She had read the same brochure and remembered the suggestion that the laid off worker send thank you cards to their former manager and company owner thanking them for the opportunity to work there. Ha!

Finally reaching the counter, Susan answered the same questions asked the previous week by another bored state worker in a thankless position. They both knew there wasn't anything that would change in the coming week, but were forced to go through the motions. A sudden commotion farther down the counter interrupted their exchange and everyone in the room stopped to stare.

"What do you mean I can't get unemployment? I got laid off!" The man's face was red and he thumped the counter with his fists.

"Your employer wasn't paying their unemployment insurance and now has declared bankruptcy. There aren't funds for any of their former employees to receive benefits." The woman behind the counter was backing away nervously.

"That's not my fault! What am I supposed to do?" People turned away in discomfort at the tears running down his cheeks.

"There's nothing I can do. You could go to Social Services and sign up for foodstamps. Maybe someone there will have more information." She pulled out a box of tissues and placed it in front of the distraught man in the most human gesture Susan had ever witnessed here.

When she finally finished and escaped, Susan's head was pounding and her shoulders ached from being hunched up in a posture she recognized as defensive. As she turned towards the bus stop, she groaned out loud, just then remembering she didn't have enough money for the ride. Wishing she had worn her running shoes, she began the five mile walk home.

That afternoon, Susan decided to check on the apartment she would be working in as housekeeper/caretaker. On the ground floor and a few doors down the hall, she let herself in and looked around. Smiling, she recognized it as one she had cleaned and painted last winter. South-facing, instead of a balcony there was a small patio area. A few pieces of mismatched furniture that she suspected had been left behind by previous tenants were placed around the rooms. She could only hope that there were items from the nursing home room that would make this feel more homey.

Checking the closets, she found the cleaning supplies she had requested and decided to wash the windows and patio doors now and open them up to let in some fresh air. While she was working, the landlord's wife bustled in. Susan hadn't met her before and came in to introduce herself. "Susan! Of course, I'm Bonnie. This week has just about run me off my feet! I'm an insurance claims adjuster and that takes all my time, plus getting everything ready for Iris to move in. Well, you can imagine. Now, can you put away these groceries since you'll be cooking and might as well have everything where you like? Have you looked around? What am I forgetting?"

Susan was amused by Bonnie's non-stop movements and tongue; she appeared to be in her forties and had smile lines etched on her face. "Actually, I'd like to wipe out the cupboards before putting things away so let's leave them on the counter for now. Is Iris bringing much with her like pictures and pillows? Or maybe she prefers things to be uncluttered? I think you've got all the basics she will need."

"Hmmm," Bonnie spun slowly around, looking over the apartment. "You know, she loves knick-knacks and little pillows with tassels and all that stuff. There might be a box or two in our storage still from when she went into the nursing home." She looked at her watch and swore. "I have to run look at a car now but I'll go check after. Go ahead and move anything around you want, just leave room for her rocking chair and remember she uses a walker. I'll be back this evening."

Susan got busy wiping out the refrigerator and cupboards so she could put the groceries away. Then, after considering the angles, she shifted the television and loveseat around so the sun wouldn't glare off the screen. Closing her eyes, she tried to remember her grandparent's house. "Doilies. Doilies and houseplants and a cat." Looking around again, she knew why it didn't feel right, but didn't know what to do about it. Sighing, she locked up and went upstairs to start supper.

Part 16