Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A "Tail" of Two Kitties

Snow! At last! Snow is entirely pleasurable again, now that I don't have to drive in it. I can enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed - as a blur of white beneath a sled, crunched under snow boots on a brisk walk, or viewed through a window, cup of hot cocoa in hand.

Only two inches, but enough to freeze the last of my summer tomatoes, and to form small peaks on the fence posts.

Throughout the summer and fall, I could smell the fresh, aromatic dill throughout the back yard, but the snow has finally crushed its spirit.

My remaining praying mantis ootheca is easily visible now. The young mantids won't hatch out for many months, but the eggs are safe and warm within the folds of the sac.

Besides the recent snowfall, we had another enjoyable event...

That's right...it was my thirty-fifth birthday. I love birthdays, which are typically pajama-and-board game days in our house, cartons of peppermint ice cream in hand. Todd surprised me with, among other things, the final Rien Poortvliet book for my collection. Rien Poortvliet was a Dutch artist, born in 1932, who painted beautifully detailed nature scenes and depictions of rural life in Holland. His accompanying comments make his books a joy to read, as well.

I love hearing from far-flung friends. My good friend Sybille's package from Germany is delayed in the Christmas rush, but I got a supply of beautiful Christmas ribbons from Andrea in Scotland...

...and from Heather in Chicago, these amazing copper-dipped leaves. They are unbelievably beautiful, and easy to hang with their brown satin ribbons.

Actual leaves are used in the production of these ornaments. You can easily see the leaf veins when you hold them to the light.

They were a fortuitous gift, because we've been a little slow in getting our Christmas decorations up. So far, all I've managed is a few desultory pillows. We've been so busy with our home business that everything else has fallen by the wayside.

Another great thing about December, besides snow and my birthday, is the length of daylight. It's dark by 6 p.m., which means that I can start our tradition of candle lit suppers. I love candles. I usually have our small sun room completely lit by them, at least 20 candles blazing away. This year, I've been a little slow at getting them out, but I've managed at least two. Our winter bouquets look so nice by candle light.

I really enjoy this bit of brightness on a cold winter night.

Part of the reason for our distraction lately is a small addition to our family. I love animals, but it isn't practical to have many while living in the city...in a temporary location, at that. I've contented myself by feeding stray cats and biding my time. We decided, though, that one more animal wouldn't be too much trouble.

How would Bosewichte handle an interloper? He didn't like the strays. Whenever Clarence would pop in for a visit...

...Bosewichte was less than hospitable, batting furiously at the glass that separated them.

Bosewichte should know better. He was a thin, sickly stray when I adopted him from the local pound, with matted fur and glazed eyes. After a few false starts he earned his name, which is pronounced Bo-zah-vic-tah. I was taking Intensive German at the time and had fallen in love with the hard "TAH" sound in that name. Bosewichte means scoundrels. It is apt, for while he is not, by nature, a scoundrel, he indulges in scoundrel-like behavior from time to time. Whenever Clarence comes, he skulks and scoundrels around the door frame, bemoaning his presence and begging for a chance to set things right.

Still, I have a heart for animals, so Bosewichte must learn to open his heart, too.

He got a chance to practice this week. I brought home one of the little kittens I've been visiting. She's a little girl we've named Tabitha. Here she is at one week old:

Here she is now, nine weeks old and a bit of a scoundrel herself.

She spends half the day sleeping...

...a quarter of the day riding around on our shoulders like a strange grey parrot...

...and the rest of the time trying to entice Bosewichte to play. He tolerates her, but I frequently catch him glaring at me. He knows I'm responsible for this discomfort, but I'm sure, with time, that they'll become good friends.

This week, too, I've been frantically knitting on last-minute Christmas gifts. It seems that I've acquired quite a bit of yarn over time, but I somewhat shamefully added to that pile recently. Branching out a bit from my usual earth tones, I bought the Sweet Sheri colorway from Yarn Love.

From the Unique Sheep, I selected Dark Earth in worsted. So soft!

Knitpicks was having a 30% off sale, so I couldn't resist. These two skeins of sock yarn will make a beautiful bit of colorwork, I think, in socks, hats, or mittens.

These bright tonal sock yarns are perfect! Colorful, cheerful, and cheap. You can't beat $6 a skein!

I've been working on a pair of socks, but my heart is in the sock yarn blanket that is gathering dust in a project bag. I've managed to whip out a few squares, but I look forward to the time when Christmas knitting is over and I can relax and blissfully produce stacks and stacks of squares without guilt.

I've done a bit of cooking this week, but nothing of interest. Time constraints have me pulling out the crock pot or telling Todd that it's "every man for himself" night. We're blessed to be so busy, though, because the money we earn during the Christmas season will sustain us during slower times.

All in all, these are pleasant days, with Todd working on his dissertation and two cats sleeping contentedly by my side. I look forward to the days ahead - the blur of holiday visits, greetings, and gifts, and then some time to relax and reflect before we start the process of moving.

I hope you're enjoying your December days as well. Have a good week!

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