Monday, July 31, 2006

Steve McQueen

Hello, dear readers. I've decided that if I leave things up to the Woman, you might get the impression that I never leave the purple chaise lounge. Yes, I look stunning on the lounge, but that isn't to say that I don't coordinate beautifully with other areas of the house. See how the cork and the cherry cabinets bring out the green in my eyes? I'm damned good looking.

As you may have also gathered, I have hobbies. In my youth, I was quite the hunter. I hunted birds and squirrels, occasionally mice. Mother and I would climb trees and stalk our prey like a pair of velociraptors, she flushing the game and I bringing it down. It was glorious.

I met the Woman half a lifetime ago, and shortly thereafter she made the unilateral decision to force me into captivity, she alleges for my own good. While I considered my adventure with the neighborhood Rottweiler's mouth to be thrilling and invigorating, the Woman saw it as evidence of my poor risk assessment skills.

Alas, I am relegated to the indoors now. My repeated requests for a multiple live finch release into the dining room have been ignored. Sure, I have the dog, but she's hardly sporting game. I stare at her, she quails and moves a few feet away, I advance, and then the Woman steps in and stops the hunt. Dammit, the Woman! Am I allowed no happiness? I try to initiate play with the Woman, but she doesn't see the joy in tangling up in a ball of tussah silk.

This pink pillow is my only entertainment. Gentle readers, have you seen 'The Great Escape'? This little stuffed toy is my tennis ball. I'm the Steve McQueen of my generation. And species.

-- Buddy the Cat

P.S. Thanks for the tip, Steve. -- BtC

Saturday, July 29, 2006


This weeks Knitty Blogstalker topic is Art. I wandered around Casa SuzannaBanana and took pictures of some of our objects d'art. Please enjoy!

This is one of my favorites. He's supposed to be outside in the garden, but I put him on the mantle, and he fit so well that I let him stay. After a couple of weeks, I noticed that he's in the same pose as The Thinker, and he's sitting to the left of him, so it looks as though he's looking over his shoulder mocking the old guy.

I bought The Thinker for Accountant Boy when we were in school in Santa Barbara. One of the originals was on loan to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and we'd stop and rub his foot for luck every time we went past. That casting's made its way back to the California Legion of Honor now, so it's not too far from us.

The vase next to him was a gift from Accountant Boy. It reminded him of a Chihuly.

This is one of the three pictures hanging in my tiny, tiny bathroom. This one's a photo of my great-grandparents, Pablo and Catalina Loinaz.

Sure, maybe the bathroom isn't the most respectful place to display a photo of your ancestors, but it looks good in there, and every time I look to the right of the mirror, seeing it makes me happy. They were a striking couple.

The day before I had eye surgery, I took out my contacts, sat on my apartment balcony and drew what I could see with pastels. It looks soft and purposely out of focus, but that's really as much detail as I could see. We moved a few weeks later, and the miniature rosebush died later that summer, but I still have the gargoyle out in the garden.

Even our garage has art. This poster was signed by Beringer winemaker Ed Sbraggia.

I found this tin in an antique store in Visalia, California.

And this is one of my favorite paintings ever, 'Los Borrachos' by Diego Velasquez. There's so much to love about it. It's like Velasquez caught these guys at a party at a moment in time when they were all off guard. Of course that's not the case, because he posed all of them carefully, models who had appeared in other paintings for him, but it looks like a snapshot taken at a particularly goofy kegger. Look at the guy leaning in over the shoulder of the smiling man next to Bacchus. He looks as though he's one of those guys who always knows where the camera is pointing, and always manages to give it a little wink.

What about this one, the Woman? Doesn't it remind you of the works of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy? Don't I look elegant with my organic shape juxtaposed with the rectilinear shadows from the window? I am so impossibly handsome.

-- Buddy the Cat.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Two Lucys

My dog Lucy isn't having the worst week in the world. She's been inside almost all the time because she's got a dark coat, and very little common sense, even for a dog. Left to her own devices, the old girl will lay sprawled on the hot concrete with the sun beating relentlessly down on her. It's been more than 100 degrees for the past week. She'd cook herself out there if we'd let her.

We think that before she became our dog and friend, she must have lived on the end of a chain on a cement patio. She had callouses on her elbows, a terrible, panicky response to being tied out even for a few minutes, and didn't seem to know what to make of grass. She never has developed a liking to lawns. If we throw toys across the yard for her, she'll skirt the turf, leaping onto it just long enough to pick up whatever might have landed in it, then jumping right off into the flowerbeds. She's not a fan of the outdoors in general, and she hates squirrels. All things being equal, she'd be happy to never have to go out there.

At some point early this year, she figured out how to get up into the lounge chairs and, well I guess you'd say she's lounging, although it looks damned uncomfortable. She's hard to photograph while lounging, because the minute she sees me at the door, she gets up and runs toward me because she so desperately wants to be on the right side of that glass.

Given the chance, Lucy would never leave her plush, cool bed. Here she is, relaxing with the other Lucy, the Lucy Bag. I started this bag a week and a half ago, and finished it a couple of hours ago. My friends, there were problems. The straps didn't shrink as much as they should have, possibly because I didn't see the importance of maintaining row gauge. The body felted beautifully, but the fully-felted short strap was so much too long that, instead of forming a neat collar around the long strap and the front of the bag, it just slid right over the whole thing and collapsed on the counter. Disgusted with myself and with what should have been a simple project, I pulled out the scissors. "Who's the boss of you? I AM THE BOSS OF YOU!!"

I cut the short strap from the body, cut off about seven inches of it, then stitched it back with more yarn and threw it back into the washer. That showed it, alright. The strap is now refelted to the body, and it's the right length. I stretched out the slightly overfelted body by weighing down a small mixing bowl in it and tugging the edges of the bag up to lengthen it. Worked like a charm. I blocked it by putting two three-pound fitness balls into the bottom. Who would have thought those squishy little hand weights would be good for anything?

It's a little more oblong than I think it was originally intended to be, but I like it this way. All that's left is to let it dry and I guess maybe shave it. It's a bit furry.

I like the Lucy bag because that's my name, and it smells like me when I stand out in the rain even though I have a doghouse and a patio cover and trees and stuff. - Lucy the Dog

Hello, the Woman? Would you like to see my tipped cow-dog impression? Hilarious, yes? Well, I suppose humor is subjective. After all, I'm not the fool who adopted that heifer, put a collar on it and called it 'dog'. - Buddy the Cat

Friday, July 21, 2006

Summertime, and the living's getting easier

I see a lot of pictures of Buddy, and I though that maybe everyone might like to see a good picture of me, because I'm a pretty girl. Sometimes they dress me up with a bandanna! -- Lucy the Dog

It's like putting sparkly hair clips on a Holstein. -- Buddy the Cat

I know a lot of knitters stop knitting during the summer because of the heat. Basking in the glory that is Mr. Slim, I have no such problem. It was 110 degrees today, but my kitchen is a pleasant 78. Sure, it's almost midnight and my garage is still 95 degrees, and the wine fridge is costing us something like four hundred dollars a month to run because it's out there, but my favorite knitting chair is cool.

No, my problem is one of time. Right after my last post, I fell into two months of looney work, and haven't had more than a couple of hours to knit. The arms of Bristow remain unknit, I haven't been able to knit any socks from all of the yarn and patterns that Purly gave me, and I have so much yarn shoved into the Yarn Cave that it's acting as attic insulation. I'm afraid to open the door and pull any of it out, because I'm afraid the heat blast might melt my face off. It's good for peppers, though.

I spent the past two months working on my company's disaster recovery drill in Arizona. We were only in Scottsdale for a couple of days, but the prep work before and the post-test work took up most of May and early June. Here's a picture of Belligero the Clown at the hotel during an afternoon gale.

I came home, then dove immediately into the next adventure -- driving my mom around for a couple of weeks after her knee surgery. By the by, if anyone knows someone with a need for total knee replacement, I know the guy to do it. My mom had the minimally invasive surgery, and she was walking around without aid within a couple of days of the surgery. I still had to stay and help them a little bit, because my dad's not what you'd call a good caregiver in situations like that. I ended up taking care of them both for a couple of weeks, and in that time I did some work around their house and painted their living room. Yes, I did finish the wall, but I can't find the complete picture.

Then I got back here and Buddy the Cat was so traumatized by my absence that he developed some kind of feline stress disorder that caused him to yak all over the house no matter what he ate, and fear his food as a result. He lost several pounds and just looked terrible. He's better now, after a couple of days of steroids and a couple of weeks of having me home, almost back up to his fighting weight. (That'll teach you to leave me, the Woman. I'm emotionally fragile, for God's sake.-- BtC)

So what's happening on the knitting front? Well, I decided that Bristow needed a couple of weeks off, and then it was my birthday and my friends bought yarn. I've put myself on a yarn buying freeze until at least Stitches West, but I figure it's O.K. if someone else buys it for me. Lookie!

That's Artfibers 'Chai', tussah silk, a pair of Bryspun needles and a pattern for a herringbone lace scarf.

And this is the Lucy bag, ten rows from the top. I'm knitting it in Lamb's Pride Worsted in 'Prairie Fire', which is oddly appropriate considering the weather. In fact, I only had it outside long enough to take this picture. I was afraid that the blazing sun would cause it to combust. I've never intentionally felted anything before. I'm looking forward to finishing it. Again, my friend bought the yarn for me, so no rules were broken. Just to make sure that I wasn't subliminally encouraging my friends to help me build up my yarn stash, I pledged to complete these two projects before starting anything else. Neither of these things are going into the stash box.

How do I have time to do any knitting, with all the housework and yardwork and such, you might ask? Two words: robot vacuum. It was my birthday present from Accountant Boy. It sweeps under the couches, it gets into the corners and under the cabinets in the kitchen, and it parks itself back on its charger when its battery runs low. I love it. Buddy tolerates it. Lucy fears it.

It sings a little song when it starts up...dooDoodooDOOOO!!!