Puttin’ on the Ritz

As promised, I made Jake a top hat…but it was his sister Marceline who made it work.


Marceline in Top Hat and Tail



Unexpected Blessings

Today I was helping a friend pack up multiple boxes of household goods to give to various local charities. She’d had a garage sale a couple of weeks ago, and we were clearing out what remained.

This was in her previous home, which she plans to put on the market as soon as it’s clear of clutter and the carpet is replaced. Until the last few days, the weather has been mild, but the temperatures dropped below freezing last night, and the inside temperature when we arrived was 48 degrees.

Jo handed me a coat she planned to give to Goodwill, asking me, as she helped me put it on, if I had a good winter coat. “This one’s vicuña,” she said with a smile. I turned around. “It looks good on you.”

It fit, too, but I have a winter coat, and declined her offer. Later, I got to thinking about. Vicuña — isn’t that a luxury fiber? I’d just been wondering what coat I would wear if I had the opportunity to go somewhere dressier than my usual haunts (that is to say, something that required more than jeans). I hated to see such a lovely coat go to Goodwill…it could end up belonging to someone with no appreciation for vicuña.

Vintage vicuña, at that. A coat like this can go for thousands of dollars today. I accepted her offer.

Suddenly, I felt like a princess. Trust me, this coat isn’t being worn on a regular basis. It won’t be stuffed in a locker at work or thrown in the back seat of my car because the day has warmed up. It will be treasured.

Vicuña are the endangered cousins of llamas, adorable creatures whose wool was once only permitted for the clothing of Incan royalty (you see why I felt like a princess). Fiber made from this precious fleece is like spun gold.

I’m running out for cedar blocks to hang in my coat closet. No moth better even think of chomping on my coat.

I’m in awe of this treasure, and thankful my friend thought of me.

Some days bring unexpected blessings.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Giving in to Cute — Crazy Cute

Aw, da kittums.

Not long ago I re-blogged a post about a book with knitting and crochet patterns for cats, Cats in Hats. I bemoaned the idea of dressing one’s cat up in costumes of any sort, but was wise enough to leave the door open for the possibility I might give in to those really cute hats.

Wise, because predictably I’ve bonded with a co-worker, Asia, over our love of cats. So much so that when I found out her kitty Jake will wear bow ties, I told her about Cats in Hats, knowing full well I was about to knit a hat for a cat. Not because she would ask me to do so, but because I couldn’t resist crazy cute.

And if I wasn’t hooked by the idea of her big orange cat wearing a knit hat, this dinosaur cap completely did me in.

IS THIS NOT CRAZY CUTE? Jake wasn’t quite as enamored of the cap as Asia and I were, but he looked adorable.


Jake the Kitty Dinosaur

Next comes a top hat to go with his bow tie. I’m going to have to create a pattern for that one, but I’m figuring it out…after all, it’s a tube on a flat circle…should be easy.

Yes, I did try it on Walter, but he immediately shook it off and gave me a dirty look. So my cats will be staying home this Halloween.

By the way, Cats in Hats was so popular there are now multiple books available with knitted kitty clothing. We really are a crazy bunch.

sibling revelry

Today I called my brother with some upsetting news. Once again, factors beyond my control were thwarting my plans to move forward.

He was the only one who would fully understand how challenging it would be for me, because he’d been with me from the start of the events that led to the distress of today.

My brother was there for me before I even knew I needed him.


Growing up, we weren’t close. It was my brother and sister who were allies, often, it felt, against me. Certainly I was on the outside.

Yet we share a history, sometimes a laughable yet now bonding one. Once, he asked if I remembered the cookie-eating bear from the Andy Williams Show, a popular variety program in our childhood.

I didn’t, and he was legitimately shocked, because I have a tremendous memory. He calls it memory for useless trivia, which is a little hurtful, because my memory includes much more than that.

Some months later there was a two-hour A&E biography about Andy Williams that I watched start to finish, just to see if this cookie-eating bear would be mentioned. He was, almost as an afterthought, in the last 30 seconds.

I sat through two hours of a biography I didn’t give a rip about just for my brother. I’d do an incomparable amount more if I could.

At the end of my phone call today, I gulped out a thank you for listening to me. He said, with a bit of surprise, “of course!” He’d said the same thing several years ago when I thanked him for flying out, at great expense, to be by my side at a time I can’t conceive of surviving alone.

He took over when I was absolutely lost, and later let go when I’d regained my strength, focus and independence. I’d never known what it was like to have someone value me that much before.

He’s two years younger than me, an age difference that become irrelevant sometime around high school. We started to connect more then.

I remember a sweet, red-haired girl who had, to say the least, a huge crush on him. We had a class together, and she talked about him endlessly to me. I really wanted him to reciprocate her feelings, but I knew full well he did not.

I was, however, proud of the way he treated her. Although he was clear he wasn’t equally interested, he let her know he thought her interest was a high compliment. Of course that just intensified her feelings for a time, but it was the right way to handle it.

me & Thom 1994

circa 1994

Now he has a daughter, sixteen years old, who no doubt brings all the frustrations a girl that age can carry. I hold my breath, then relax, as I watch him value her in the same concrete ways he values me and valued that cute girl in our high school years.

He’s proven there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for me. In a lifetime we may or may not be lucky enough to fully show our love for those who mean the most to us.

I’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of that love and sacrifice from my brother, a humbling and heartening experience for me. It has changed the core of me, my essential self.

A special thank you to those of you who have been following my blog long enough to remember this post!


It’s Always Something

I’m getting  a little tired of these petty injuries.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll take them anytime over a critical injury or chronic illness. But just as I finished physical therapy for my shoulder, my thumb gets tendonitis. The thumb heals, and I burn my arm. The bandages come off my arm, and I pull my achilles tendon.

Each minor injury has its own impact, some limitation on my life that forces me to reconsider my priorities. With my thumb, knitting, reading and even typing (excuse me, keyboarding) was difficult. There go my top three activities.

I just paid for a gym membership (granted, it’s one of those inexpensive gyms) in an effort to commit myself to the treadmill. Now, simply walking to my mailbox is painful.

As I understand it, this is something that can take time to heal. Fortunately, it’s not as bad as it could be, and I have no problem spending my evening on the sofa with my leg elevated and an ice pack. Not exciting, but therapeutic.

Lyin on my back

Keep my foot elevated higher than my heart.

The cats are loving it. They climb all over me and find creative ways to snuggle close. I’m stuck there anyhow (healing), so they are welcome to keep me company. Lying down in this way keeps me (once again) from knitting, and reading isn’t easy, either.

Perhaps now is the time to take up meditation. And I am spending some time researching tendon care.

But here’s the thing —

what has possibly been the worst time in my life is coming to end. The devastating actions of others have run their course.

It’s always something, but some things are so fleeting, by the time I finish grumbling about them, they’re done. I’ll take those things anytime.

Time for the icepack…

Image Credit: © geosap — stock.adobe.com


Unlimited Potential and Limited Bodies

Today I was listening to an interview on the radio, and heard an intriguing quote. I don’t remember the exact words, but the sentiment (as I interpreted it) was “I get angry sometimes about the limitations of my body.”

Now, I came in late to the interview, but I don’t believe he was talking about any sort of disability, unless you count geek in that category. The thought got me thinking. It is frustrating sometimes, even when we’re at the peak of health and wellness, to deal with what you can’t do.

I’d like to have a decent enough voice to be able to sing in church. Actually, I’d like to have a beautiful voice that brings people to tears. But I’d settle for decent.

AdobeStock_152704239 smallI’d like to have some athletic ability. I mean, a tiny amount. I honestly don’t know why that eluded me, but the reality is I have no upper body strength. Never have. Never could do a pull-up, push up or throw a ball. I tried and tried and at various points in my life I’ve worked to build muscle tone, but it’s as if physiologically that’s not possible.

That lack of athleticism hurt me growing up. When I was in fourth grade, we had mandatory volleyball games during lunch (yes, mandatory, during what should have been free time. I never understood their logic). I was horrifically bad at volleyball, and the other team would take advantage and shoot the ball right at me, laughing and calling me names. I’d end up bruised and crying, and all the teachers could say was, “try harder.”

Eventually, they stopped this insanity, but not before I was traumatized. It was like being bullied, but organized, endorsed bullying. It did nothing for me socially, and I was already on the outside because I took some of my classes with the students a grade ahead of me. I did have friends, but I was far from popular.

It’s important to note here I wasn’t overweight as a child, nor was I sedentary. I just was no good at sports.

AdobeStock_159477519 [smallWho would I be today if I were a decent volleyball player or could hit a ball with a bat? It shaped part of who I am, and it’s a direct result of the limitations of my body. My mind wants to do it, but my body won’t allow it.

I’ve never thought of it that way. We are confined, in a way.

Yet in another way, we are liberated. We are free to pursue those things we are good at, because we aren’t distracted by having more talent than we know what to do with. Okay, that’s a bit laughable to say. But would I be writing if I could play a fair game of tennis or sing in the choir? Certainly not as much.

That’s not to say I don’t get out and do the physical activity my body was made for, like taking long walks.

I don’t feel any anger toward my body for limiting me, but I was intrigued by the idea that something we have no control over controls us so absolutely. It affects our actions, our choices, our emotions…and while we can tone it up and color our hair, even go for plastic surgery, we are ultimately limited.

AdobeStock_112894681 [Converted]Will those limits exist in the next life? I don’t know. Will we fulfill all our potential if and when we have the full set of tools to do so?

Just another thought to ponder.

Image Credits: © geosap — stock.adobe.com


wpc: glow

Anyone who enjoys photography — and cats — should take a look at this site. Today’s post features Kitty, looking beautiful, and there are plenty of other wonderful pictures of Kitty, Teemu and Parker, as well as a lot of humorous and quirky takes on the day’s prompt.

....on pets and prisoners.....

I always called Kitty my ‘Golden Girl.’

Sitting on her favorite chair with the afternoon sun shining through the windows on her, Kitty just glowed.

Shine on, sweet girl.


Kitty Kitty, the Golden Girl…

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