Friday, January 15, 2010

Kitty Woes

(Cross-posted from my garden blog)

This is Mr. Licorice, sometimes known as Mr. Fangs and Claws:

He came to us as a half-grown abandoned kitten that wandered into a co-worker's garage. Out of all our feline herd, Licorice is the only one who goes outdoors on his own. Even though he's neutered, he acts like an intact tom: aggressive, territorial, foul tempered when he's indoors; aggressive, territorial, and happy to be petted and adored when he's outdoors. Prozac failed to curb his behavior, and while tempting, I can't keep him under sedation all the time. So we had him microchipped, put a reflective collar on him, cross our fingers and hope for the best, knowing that outdoor cats are exposed to all sorts of risks.

Well, Licorice must have run head-on into one of those risks, because Monday evening he came in with an open sore on his chest that on inspection looked like an abscess that had opened up. He seemed chipper enough and had a good appetite, but the next morning it was still open and oozing and had a foul odor, so I confined him to the sick kitty crate for observation and called the vet. Most likely he'd gotten into a fight with another cat, and since the wound was on his chest, he was not the one who backed down! Yeah, that's our Mr. Fangs and Claws.

Wednesday morning (after a dose of sedative so getting him in the kitty carrier wasn't quite as bad as wrestling a cactus) he went into the vet's office. By then he'd developed a fever and the wound was still draining. When the vet got him under anesthesia and got the abscess open, it was pretty bad. It had gone deep, the fluid inside was thick and smelly, and there was a patch of skin that had gone necrotic. If we'd tried to treat this at home, he wouldn't have lasted long.

So Licorice came home that evening and went straight back into the sick kitty crate. He was pretty agitated and loopy coming off the anesthetic, so I covered the crate with blankets, trying to calm him down. The next morning he was very quiet and subdued, probably hurting from the surgery. His appetite was good, though.

And this morning he's a little brighter and demanding to be let out of his crate (sorry, it's kind of a nasty view of the drains in his incision):

He's eating well and using the litter box, so recovery looks good, but he's not a happy kitty. Hates the plastic cone. Hates being confined. Hates it when the other cats come and stare at him.

Poor, sad kitty:

That was a $600 hit to our bank account, and we were already tapped out helping my mother-in-law buy heating fuel. I think we've got just enough left for groceries until payday, but we're going to have to be reeeeal careful.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Knitting, 2010!

It's 2010, and so far, all is well! Happy New Knitting, everyone, and many wishes for a year filled with new opportunities. May this year bring an improved economy and a better world all around. As for me, while I'm fully appreciative that I have a job with benefits, I'm rather hoping for an even better one this year, so wish me luck with the job search. Or rather -- may a job that is a decided improvement over the job that I have appear in my searches, may I be qualified for it, and may I be the one hired!

Now, the old knitting: Christmas knitting is all done and presented. My aunt, who visited shortly after Christmas, received this olive beret and neckwarmer, along with homemade jelly and cookies:

Hubby got his first pair of handknit socks, made from Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in Haida, one of their Raven colorways (which rubbed black dye onto my fingers and needles!):

And I started AND finished a Forest Canopy Shawl, using a couple of skeins of DK alpaca that I had in the stash from long ago and from an LYS long gone. I still have two more skeins of the stuff to play with. The shawl went amazingly fast. Started it on the 28th of December:

Finished knitting and weaving in ends on New Year's Eve, blocked it this morning:

And wore it to the knit-in at Rose and Ram, the LYS that is oh-so-conveniently on my way to work:

I've gone over my Ravelry projects page and have done an accounting of the projects that I completed in 2009. It was a busy year, knit-wise! Counting the shawl that I finished knitting last night and blocked this morning, I had 32 finished projects listed, which are made up of the following:
  • 2 shawls
  • 1 lace kerchief
  • 7 pairs of socks
  • 3 adult hats
  • 1 baby hat
  • 25 preemie caps
  • 2 neckwarmers
  • 1 lace cowl
  • 1 pair of fingerless gloves
  • 1 cabled shrug
  • 3 stuffed toys
  • 1 baby vest
  • 2 baby sweaters
  • 1 pair of baby jeans
  • 2 baby bibs
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 1 CD drive cozy
  • 1 mug cozy
Plus 4 UFOs to finish in 2010. Holy cow, I really did all that? And people wonder what I do instead of dribbling away each evening watching TV...

To kick off a new year of knitting, I went to the knit-in at the Rose and Ram, along with several others in the Salem Area Ravelers and local knitters and spinners. A good knitting time was had by all:

Helen, one of the mods for Salem Area Ravelers, has been collecting preemie caps for the last couple of months, hoping to have a sackful to deliver to the hospital for St. Distaff's Day. Our final count was 75 hats!

Since Jan was nice enough to open the shop on New Year's Day for a knit-in, lots of folks made it a point to buy something nice. I picked up two skeins of something new to the shop, this Hacho sportweight wool by Mirasol, intended for a Lacy Baktus shoulder shawl:

After a couple of false starts, I got a pair of Sailor's Delight socks from 2-at-a-Time Socks
started for my first new WIP for 2010:

The instructions in the book are for Magic Loop knitting, and I wanted to do them on two circulars. After fiddling, fiddling, fiddling, ripping out all the cast-on stitches, casting on again, I finally got started by doing the first three rounds of one sock, casting the second on DPNs, doing the first three rounds on that sock, and sliding the second sock onto the circular needles. Hey, whatever works. I'm loving this colorway -- it's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Edgewater (208) that I bought at Dublin Bay on last spring's yarn crawl.

So on to 2010! My knitting plans for this year:
  • Last year was the Summer of the Sock, where I knit my first pair of socks and tacked several more pairs. This year is going to be the Year of the Shawl. The alpaca shawl was just the start. I'm planning to work on some lace knitting skills.
  • Finish all of last year's UFOs. Maybe... maybe... before starting any more WIPs? Maybe?
    Well, except for an upcoming KAL and whatever service knitting comes along.
  • Knit down the stash! I intend to knit down what I have until the stash box can comfortably close again! I must knit at least two skeins before buying one new one! Hey, there's a new Sock Summit planned for 2011, so I've got to free up some stash space before then! Exception: yarn purchased for gifts or service projects.

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