Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tragedy and success

The coverage of the tragedy in the Gulf states over the past two weeks has kept me pretty riveted to the news programs on TV and radio. I made donations to charities (for both people and pets) helping out in the area, but I also was struck with such horror and sympathy that I suggested to Mark that we host a displaced family in our house. We have plenty of room, after all. That suggestion didn't go over so well, and now that the relentless news coverage of people trapped in a flooded city has slowed down, I'm seeing that Mark's decline of hosting a family is quite practical.

I've started thinking that this great dispersal of people from the Gulf region is similar to what happened after the Dust Bowl tragedy back in the 1930's. People displaced from their homes due to catastrophic weather exacerbated by human stubborness and/or stupidity. Poor agricultural practices combined with extended drought brought on the Dust Bowl; poor flood and environmental management practices combined with a mother of a hurricane brought on the flooding of New Orleans. This time, people have the option of fleeing on a commercial flight as well as by car, truck, train or bus. Either way, it is the wholesale dismantling of communities that, for better or worse, functioned for decades.

On our homefront, though, the challenges are small and insignificant compared to those ravaged by hurricane Katrina. I had typed up a wonderful blog entry last week, with lots of photos of Fiona and finished projects, only to have my laptop CRASH just as I was doing a final review. I was so frustrated and angry, I nearly dropped the laptop off the second floor porch! That would have been a pretty costly maneuver, though, especially since the laptop is not mine but is issued to me by my company.

Fiona is settling in well with us and the dogs. My concerns about the dogs -- and Hannah in particular -- treating Fiona like a prey animal have been allayed. In fact, Hannah seems quite attached to Fiona and plays with her a lot. We took a few photos of Fiona within her first few weeks with us. It's not easy photographing a kitten, though! They tend to move around a lot, and very quickly.
We managed to get a few photos of her being still, however. See? What a cutie! I'm waiting to see if her eyes will stay blue. The book I bought about cats says that their eye color stabilizes at about 12 weeks, so we have roughly 3 weeks more to go to see what color they'll be permanently.

I took Fiona in to Mayfair Animal Clinic for her first shots last Wednesday and all the staff were excited to see her. She seems to grow an inch (at least) each week and she's become much more coordinated. She climbs up whatever she can. Yesterday I won a bid on a 68" tall cat tree/scratching post on eBay and I can't wait to get it. While her little kitten nails aren't doing any harm to furniture yet, it's only a matter of time.

...On the needles...

I've finished two projects and made good progress on a third. First, the Branching Out scarf that I was working on:I completed it the weekend before Labor Day, then packaged it up and sent it via interoffice mail to Terry in Cleveland. I made this for her to mark the occasion of her promotion to senior manager. I've worked with Terry a lot over the past 2 years and she is always such a pleasure: very professional, very kind, and a really hard worker. She was quite surprised and happy to receive this. I think "gushing" is the best word to describe her reaction. And, it made me feel all warm and snuggly that she liked it.

Over the labor day weekend I finished this:More gift knitting, this is the Made with love layette sweater and hat from Magknits. I made this for John, another colleague from work, who is expecting his first child in early October. Now I just have to wrap it up and present it to him. I had originally planned on knitting a baby sweater in sock weight yarn, but was having such a hard time with the whole thing that I pulled some worsted superwash merino from my stash and used this pattern on the recommendation of Jenna from my Stitch 'n Bitch group.

While I'm waiting on the replacement yarn ordered for Lillian's shawl, I started the Clapotis pattern from Knitty. I've been meaning to make this pattern for some time now and had ordered, received, and stuffed the yarn in my stash months ago. Now, I've finally made some good progress on it. I'm using Knitpicks Andean Silk Twist, and I'm liking the yarn a lot. The only problem is I'm running out of it. Yikes! I think I'm about halfway done with the Clapotis now, and I only have 3 skeins left. I did make it slightly larger by adding another repeat in the Increase section, but I thought I had purchased enough yarn to do this. I'm going to keep working on it until I get to the last skein and then figure out what to do. At worst, I'll have to order more yarn in a different dye lot, but since this is variegated I don't think it will be too terrible if I have to do so.

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