Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Has Moved

As of today, I've relocated from Blogger to a new site with my own domain name --> All future posts will now be on the new site. Update your bookmarks, if I can flatter myself with the idea that anyone has bookmarked me.

I've imported my old posts from Blogger, and it still looks pretty rough-drafty over at the new site (to me, anyway). It's evolving, but come visit.

Kitten Playtime

Dear God, I must squeal in Japanese now.


This serves no purpose whatsoever except to be egregiously cute. Sometimes egregious cuteness is all I'm up for on some days. Enjoy your the rest of your weekend, cats and kittens.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I Has a Vision

I'm thinking about, and taking steps to accomplish, moving this blog onto my own domain name and using WordPress as my publishing platform.

I'm going to blame Allan for this one. He's the gentleman who commented yesterday on my madeleine post. We've since exchanged brief emails and I've spent some more time reading his (very well-written, erudite) blog.

I covet his footnote plug-in functionality.

No, seriously.

I must have footnotes that allow the reader to click on the footnote number, automatically go to the bottom of the page to read said footnote, then click on the "back" button to return to their place in the text.

Go over to his blog and play around with this. I realize I'm a blogging neophyte, but I hadn't seen this before. Considering my methods (or lack thereof) of writing, this could have some serious consequences for It's Furious Balancing. Lots of footnotes and other madcap blogging hijinks will ensue, I'm certain.

As to when this move to WordPress will actually occur, that's up in the air. It depends on my learning curve.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Photo courtesy of Meme Cats

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Dude, Where's the Lime Blossom Tisane?

Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it. - Vladimir Nabokov
It started with a post today on Feministe -- a blog I read fairly frequently (if not everyday). It was Mikey's post on madeleines. Starbucks' madeleines in cello-wrap, or shrink-wrap, or whatever one calls it, complete with pictures and a link to a very interesting Slate article on Proust's Belle Epoque madeleines and one man's attempt to reverse-engineer the recipe based upon hints in the famous madeleine-tea-Aunt Leonie's lime blossom tisane-Combray passage in the first volume of In Search of Lost Time (1).

This lead to some comments about the awfulness of Starbucks' pastries, and the awfulness of their coffee, and their mega-chain evilness (but still how it was oddly comforting to find this mega-chain when out of one's element). Even though I could have put in some digs about how I believe Starbucks is the Wal-Mart of coffee houses (2), my first thought was that I should go home and bake some madeleines. My second thought was I should then blog about it. One of the commentors mentioned that she had seen the madeleine-tea-memory reference many, many times, but only knew of one instance where madeleine was a recurring blog tag to mean "memories" (3). I strongly feel that madeleines require greater blog presence -- of any sort.

I actually own a madeleine pan. I bought it for myself after I first began reading Proust. I've made them only once before, but tonight I'll give it another go.

I'll take pictures, don't fret.

(1) It is NOT translated to Remembrance of Things Past. That title was foisted on Proust's work when it was translated into English. That's actually a phrase that appears in Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 30.

(2) Sorry, but I live in Ann Arbor and frequent an independent coffee house where the owner knows me by sight and name as well as that I want a skim Abianno latte (no foam) every blessed workday morning, the only variation being whether said latte is a "double" or a "triple." None of this "venti" or "grande" B.S. If I ever utter the words "White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino," shoot me, because it won't be me but some pod-spawned alien.

(3) Upon a cursory review of the tagged posts, it looks to me like it means "digressions" or "opening up very large cans of worms," but that's only a cursory review. My reading list has just gotten longer. /sigh

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Antigravity Cat-Toast Device

This amuses me no end. I want to interject the phrase "cat-toast equilibrium point" or "cat-butter paradox" in my daily conversations. This has probably been out around the Internet for ages and ages, but I just found it. So there.

A more detailed write-up on can be found here.

Found Things

Today is one of those lovely Saturdays when I have absolutely nothing I have to do. My time is all mine. I can knit, sleep, read, surf the Innernets, and generally spoil myself rotten. Oh, there's a few loads of laundry that need doing, and a little bit of tidying up around the house, but nothing compelling or necessary by any means. Well, making sure I have clean underwear for next week might fall into the "necessary" category, but the upshot of all of this is that I have loads of Free, Unstructured Time.

That is a glorious thing.

First up, My So Called Scarf. I love these colors. They're a bit darker than they appear in this photo. I thought diffuse morning sunlight would show them better, but I was wrong. Ah, well. If this is the worse thing to happen to me today, I am lucky indeed.

Second, a few things Found on the Internet that I just haven't gotten around to posting:

[If you click on Anti-Gravity Cat's picture, you can get him to spin around]

Hey, it makes perfect sense to me (but now I'm craving toast, with lots and lots of Calder Dairy butter). (1)

In the "What the Heck, You Never Know" Department: Kelly at Yoga Coffee Outlook is giving away a Zune MP3 Player. All you need to do to qualify is write that previous sentence in a blog post, and put a comment on her blog, etc. Details here.

I've never even read, or wanted to read, any of the Harry Potter books, but I still am sorted into the correct house (the wise, clever, learned, enigmatic ones, I am told):

i'm in ravenclaw!

be sorted @

But wait! Here's more silly cat stuff:

Oh, I've got tons of these saved on my hard drive:

Cat pics (except anti-gravity cat, whose origin is unknown) courtesy of Meme Cats.

(1) Sweet Jesus, they have Calder Dairy Ice Cream and home delivery in Washtenaw County. ::faint:: If you haven't had Calder dairy stuff, and you live in Southeastern Michigan, you must try it. Calder Dairy is, without a doubt, home of the Best Dairy Products in the Known Universe. Hey, I'm a grain- and milk-fed Midwestern girl -- I know my dairy products.

Friday, June 1, 2007

My God, What About the Knitting?! (1)

When I left you last, I think the state of my blogged knitting was as follows:

1) Blue proto-sock OTN ("On The Needles," for my non-knitting-blog-reading readers).

2) Noro sweater pieces awaiting assembly but being ignored because I have to do a shoulder seam next before I proceed with the arm seams and the side seams. I hate shoulder seams (and the fact that it's always overheated in the cats' room where I do my blocking and seam sewing, and that it's summer, and that I hate heat, and summer, and occasionally wish I lived in the far northern section of British Columbia, or, hell, even southern British Columbia. Vancouver, say).

There are other vague, knitting-like activities -- like a hot pink charity scarf OTN that I'm working on from time to time to keep my hands busy, and to use up the rest of the hot pink yarn not used in the Kitty Pi -- and a serious desire to make My So Called Scarf out of Malabrigo yarn.

I've shown you the Malabrigo before; this stuff is woolen opium. I'm still sitting on that black-purple "Paris Nights" colorway, but I wanted a quick knitting fix for my Malabrigo addiction. So, I order two skeins of the worsted in Jewel Blue from my eBay drug, er, yarn, dealer.

The problem was, when the yarn arrived, I was not completely enamored of its color. The eBay photo showed a more intense medium blue than the actual shade of blue - which is more white-to-ice-blue. I don't fault anyone with that; getting an accurate color from an online photo is difficult (and this particular yarn was kettle-dyed in a limited lot of ten, which lends itself to all sorts of color variations, etc.).

I kept the yarn and started working on the scarf, believing that I would Learn to Love the Yarn.

I do love the yarn. I love how it feels but, Dear Readers, I could not learn to love this color. It's wimpy. It's washed out. It's limp. It's.... It's... PASTEL for chrissakes.

I don't do pastels. I don't do fluff, flounces, lace, lettuce hems, ruffles or any other of that girly stuff. (2)

Part of being Unable to Love the Yarn was due to the pattern. I really like the stitch pattern. It's unique and shows off variegated yarn extremely well. There is even a whole flickr group with pictures of this scarf pattern.

Alas, as with many goals, there is a struggle. This particular stitch pattern is challenging to me because it causes me to hold my needles in such a way as to cause a more-than-usually painful bout of repetitive strain injury.

Nonetheless, I carry on because I love the pattern and I Will Make this Scarf Even if it Kills Me, which it just may, at that; and if I'm going to die from knitting-induced RSI, I want it to be from a yarn that makes me weak in the knees.

After all of this preamble, I offer you Malabrigo Chunky, three-ply superfine Merino wool, Colorway 242, Intenso.

Further bulletins as events warrant. I need to be alone with my yarn now.

(1) [Alright - I've got footnotes appearing in the title now, for Pete's sake] Alluding, somewhat, to "Dear God, What About the Men?" from Twisty's blog, which I believe in turn alludes to "Dear God, What About the Children?", an all-too-frequent, ridiculous sound-bite, um, thing that I see in the media. I think. I love word games and references to obscure tidbits of information I find floating around out there. You know, out THERE. [Insert dismissive hand gesture here] That alleged "Real World" place. But I digress.

(2) Ok, my bathroom is pink, with white-rose shaped shower-curtain hooks, but that all started as a joke when my second husband left me and I Needed a Change.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Finally, Irises

I hate flowers. I paint them because they're cheaper than models, and they don't move.
-- Georgia O'Keefe

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some Women Buy Shoes (Redux)

I spent this morning cataloging my books -- the fiction anyway -- which is quite a daunting task considering the size of my fiction collection. I'm about 25% done: 2 out of 8 bookcases. After the fiction is entered in the database, then I need to tackle the books upstairs, the fantasy books in the study, and (whenever I get another bookcase or more shelf space [ha!]), the human sexuality and erotica currently hiding in boxes.

I don't know if this level of smug satisfaction I'm feeling is from the size of my library, my twisted enjoyment with data entry, my joy in the written word, a smattering of nostalgia as I handle each individual book (1) , or a combination of all of those plus some other factors I haven't quite verbalized yet. When I look at my books, or stand near the shelves, I feel grounded and secure. My books are my refuge. All I know is that my affection and need is difficult to explain to people who aren't bibliophiles.

There have been a few instances in the past several days when I've overheard conversations, or been in conversations, with People Who Don't Understand Books. One person used the word "purging" to talk about ridding their house of the excess books, like one would drown a litter of puppies or call an exterminator about carpenter ants.

I would sooner cut off my right arm.

I am certainly capable of throwing out a book, or putting it in a box for a future garage sale, but those are definite exceptions. They are either damaged (and I have another copy), or from a part of my life that no longer exists (2) . But throw out my LITERATURE!? Are you people crazy?!!

* * * * * * * *
(1) Especially the books from the college years. "Oh, Faulkner! I loved The Sound and the Fury from my first lit class with Dr. Griffin! And look at this, my Norton of James' The Turn of the Screw! and Wuthering Heights! Oh, I need to re-read all of these..."

(2) I've got a bunch of touchy-feely New Age books boxed up for a Future Garage Sale. I feel that they're no longer very relevant to me, so out they go.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different

A picture of a sleeping cat! I'm hoping that my long weekend will look something like this. Sleeping, going out to movies, eating, gaming. All play with very few chores. Well, there are always chores to be done -- cat box cleaning, laundry, dishwashing, grocery shopping -- but I'm hoping for more Fun than Chores, more Sleeping than Not Sleeping, etc.

I feel a Knitting Mood coming on. I've started the Proto-Sock (1), and it's coming along nicely. I'm just about ready to try the heel turn in another inch or two. I might be less optimistic about sock knitting come tomorrow, but I think it's do-able. At least for now.

* * * * * * * * * * *
(1) In order to learn sock knitting, I decided that it would be best to practice on larger needles and thicker yarn than any sock pattern ever called for. I'm making one very oversized sock, essentially. Once I master or, at the very least, figure out what I'm doing, I'll attempt to make a Real Sock.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Something Approaching Agony

I say to myself, "I don't know how I can even begin to describe the pain I'm dealing with right now." The mind goes blank. I have a few images -- a clenched fist, a bowstring drawn back to its limit -- that's how my body feels. Something approaching agony. My jawline aches from being tightly held all day. I say those small prayers -- God, oh, God ohGodohGodohGod -- until the words are meaningless.

I'm not looking for pity. I'm not looking for anyone to take care of me, pet me, cater to me. I'm just looking for a distraction.


Books, baths, cats, my computer, knitting -- these all help -- but I still have those stretches where I only have the awareness of wanting to scream. I find myself panting, like an animal, trying to make it through waves of suffering.


I'll be alright. I'm always "alright." One horribly annoying thing that came to my mind once (when I was going through the worst depression of my life), was that I never have the luxury of breaking. Gah. I'm far too solid and stubborn for that. "Breaking," crying, carrying on, grieving, whathaveyou. I carry too much strength for something that easy (damn that personal pride).

Well, enough Internal Dialogue. Here's a photo of my inchoate irises.

I imagine them -- and my peonies -- making a sound like a kernel of popcorn exploding in hot oil. What would be the onomatopoetic word for that?