30 December 2008

Snippets of stupid

In the unclear of concept category I'm starting today with a but why would you do that or buy that moment.

I had no idea that a whte bird of paradies plant existed until I happened upon this tag on an immature plant.

Perhaps I'm just out of the loop but if this isn't a naturally occurring variation, I can't see why anyone would create such an thing. Even if it is naturally occurring, I just can't wrap my brain around it.

I particularly can't grasp why, unless you were doing a whole total artsy install, you'd choose a white bloom over the usual vivid joyous display of the more typical bird of paradise.

Why not just go for a plant with less vibrance/colour? Or maybe even no bloom?

Not sure whether I'm the unclear on concept here but it seems off and worth a note here.

A more clear unclear of concept comes from a paraphrase of a snippet overheard on US network television recently, "It was like being in a documentary film, except that it was real". Hmm, yeah, you know all those documentaries are pure fiction.

In the distinction without a difference category this one is from a radio spot for a jewelry company "jewelry that has to be seen to be appreciated" because, you know, all that other jewelry doesn't need to be seen to be appreciated you can just, I dunno, read the descriptions, price tags, feel the facets or sniff the size.

Finally, a how appropriate moment. In case this link fails, the basic story is that a 21 year old striker for Chippenham Town received a red card (expulsion) for a wild tackle within three seconds of kick off in a match against Bashley. This is a new record for earliest expulsion for a professional/senior side. Brilliantly, the striker's name is Pratt. If I have to explain it to you I probably also have to explain side, pitch, and how no, no, really it is football -- explaining not going to happen. Check Wikipedia (Google will get you there) and consider making a donation while you're sucking up knowledge.

Seems the amateur crowd is still just a bit quicker off the mark and also off the pitch. In 2000, the offense wasn't a wild tackle but rude language about a noisy starting whistle -- two seconds.

I keep telling people that rugby is more genteel but they don't seem to believe me.

29 December 2008

More art --plans and planning

Finally, a photo of the other piece from this year's art splurge.

A little out focus but the piece itself has some blur of its own so that's my official excuse beyond the clan of cave bear apartment issues.

But here's the quiz, do you see:

  • a face
  • a figure in motion
  • both with face dominant/preferred
  • both with figure dominant/preferred
I'm in the both with figure dominant group.

The whole provenance discovery process on this is going to be fun.

I don't so much care for myself but at some point I'm either going to sell, donate, or give this to someone and it would be a good thing to know for certain who created it and be able to document that for this and my other "who knows" pieces.

The good news with this piece is that I have something more than a "generic Aaron brothers tag" on the back or similar say what good luck clue to refer to and the original framing shop is still in business.

The oil of the Japanese mountain (generic Aaron Brothers tag on the back) is sitting behind me waiting to discover which wall of the office/computer room it is going to be adorning. I'm leaning toward the wall I face while working on the Linux boxes and the laptop and dividing up the long wall behind my chair into functional areas with a mix of bulletin boards, magazine/file racks, calendars and such.

To keep that functionality from creating a "run away, run and hide" response, I may bring one of the now retired ornamental oriental fans into play.

The short segments of the window wall are looking like good candidates for the pyramid of green. Said pyramid being three graduated in size pieces all with green mats and wood of one sort or another frames. The subjects include (small to large) a piece of Italian/Spanish Gold (thrift shop find with a Philistine story), a William Morris inspired bit of paper (Wilsden, West Yorkshire purchase), Asian inspired multi-media piece (clearance sale Pomegranate).

Corner shelves above the mostly Windows work area is a little more iffy as is whether the odd wall created by the bump out of the closet will be all whimsy or the Chinese Mirror that has been cycling on station hoping for wall space for some time now.

Whatever I do, I will need to reconsider the window treatment in the room. A blue and white striped vaguely nautical feel is just not going to work with the turn to the East.

I also have an obi that really should be framed up in a shadow box of some sort but that's staying in the stretch goal, at some point, like to do at some point bin for now.

28 December 2008

Calendar quest, art moves & signs along the way

Having spent all of Friday inside moving heavy things, I decided that I really did need to get out into the world on Saturday.

Hey, finding the MIA pedometer without a huge mount of heavy lifting was an omen I couldn't ignore.

So, after a morning of more moving, tossing, dusting, artwork athletics, and hoop jumping at the Red Hat home page to activate my license subscription, I headed out the door a little after 3pm with my sights set on Horton Plaza and the annual Calendar quest.

Either my timing is later in the season this year, my usual source has learned the lessons of reduced inventory, or my picks have become more mainstream. Whatever the case, this year I will break with my two year tradition of tracking my weekly events with a Happy Bunny weekly planner as I couldn't find one at either Calendar Club, its lower level annex, or B. Dalton.

I was a little torn over whether to go with any cat calendar let alone a black cat calendar but in looking at the two versions on offer, I decided that the one that began with a cat that reminds me of Maka and didn't include a serious Kali like image before June would probably be a good "gives closure" choice.

This year, the current look for the weekly planner is Anne Taintor, the at home calendars are the aforementioned Black Cats and Antique Maps. My cubicle candidate is The Golden Age of Travel but if CWRU were to send me a complimentary calendar, I might keep that beautiful piece at home

I considered snagging a couple of San Diego calendars to send back to Cleveburg exiles but the colour in the photography was just really off. If they hit a 75% off bin I may reconsider and include a note apologising for the "retro" feel of some of the colour shots.

Artwork athletics explained. Having decided that the tropical fish print (another thrift store find btw) was moving to the kitchen/dining room area, on Friday, I set about the business of planning the installation.

I calculated roughly where the 31"x 36" not very light (read freakin' heavy) piece should hang on the wall and made my marks and set it aside to simmer.

Yesterday, I measured again. noted that the vent it was going to be under was so not plumb, checked the marks, hung the picture hanger and then tried to get art and picture hanger together on the wall.

I tried, tried, tried and tried. The catch the picture hanger with the wire was the major fly in the ointment that had me in a cycle of try, set aside, rethink, regroup, try again, that was very near ending in a leave it to the "must have help to accomplish" suite of stuff. Oh yeah, and I'm doing all this while holding this piece off to the side and almost above my head -- pish.

Hanging wire on picture and picture hanger on wall finally mated and the picture is on the wall and gives me about 6" above the still not installed shelf. I think keeping the shelf to picture space limited may help keep the shelf clutter more controlled.

The "must have help to accomplish" suite of stuff is still pretty much limited to get old retiring rug out from under coffee table currently operating as a television stand.

I did off load/move some of the stuff that had been on the still to be shifted bookcase but my guess is that the remaining major furniture swaps along with the server file swaps will be happening in the first few days of 2009.

Photos on the day are from recent outings. I'm particularly fond of the sens-a-tive sign and the "use next door" is clearly a lost in translation moment when the intended meaning was "other door."

Not much on the knitting front other than today's volunteer knit enabling at Sharp Mary Birch. I think that some of the knit a square make a toy animal farm knitters have either delivered or gone home to (hopefully) deliver at a later time without all the monitoring and 4th floor fussing. Still, I went armed with my own supply of polyfil and ened up writing out a recipe for a knitted horse and supervising the sewing up of a sweet little knitted lamb.

26 December 2008

The ones what brung me -- the paternal grandparent edition

One hundred years ago today, the 26th of December was a Saturday so it wasn't boxing day but rather the day after Christmas, and on that Saturday, one John Bowen, curate presided over the marriage of the Jones/Broadhurst paternal grandparents in the church of St James in the parish of Norton Canes. I know this and also know that the certificate required a one penny stamp.

I know the important bit of this (the marriage part) because I'm looking (and now so are you) at the original certificate, complete with original stamp featuring Edward VII. The certificate, along with my college ID card were "safely" tucked away in a wallet that was also on the missing list.

It wasn't until I bought the new desk and finally tackled the dysfunctional table that wallet, ID and certificate turned up. All three are once again safely tucked away but this time I can put them to hand at a moment's notice.

Certificate is on the must be framed list. It was clearly once taped into an album and the tape marks show. For the seriously nosy, it appeared on page 71 of the registry.

A bit of a surprise to me included the fact that my grandfather's younger (as I recall) sister was already married and acted as a witness. Also a witness, a Titley (a cousin I think) of my grandmother.

Yesterday I was saddened to learn of the death of one of my favourite playwrights, Harold Pinter. The Financial Times defined Pinteresque as "full of dark hints and pregnant suggestions, with the audience left uncertain as to what to conclude" and I like that definition rather better than his style created a sense of menace or brooding. Pinteresque for me will always mean precise language, crisp, often staccato with smoldering silences.

I don't believe I'd read Pinter before seeing his film adaption of Beytral in 1983. I don't recall whether I saw it with PDJ or not but I do recall that we had a major row over who, if anyone. was the villain of the piece. PDJ, not surprisingly, voted for Emma and, AIR, I found Robert to be more of the bastard with Jerry just the dreadfully disappointing.

Spent today in stable muck out mode.

The first order of business was putting piles of knitting books and magazines back into the STASH room in something approaching order.

For additional fun and excitement, I moved furniture back and forth across the living room, dining area and kitchen.

I was not initially pleased to discover that, no, no, really, I was right the first time and the mid century modern monster mahogany stereo unit is best in the dining area and not imitating a console table under the window behind the couch in the living room.

I was particularly not amused since that meant that the metal storage that I had already moved and staged to move into the computer room to serve as a home for wayward printers and their supplies, is back playing console table until I can find a better answer

And since I was feeling like a glutton for something, I decided that I might just as well do the butcher block island shift too. So I unloaded the not doing anyone very much good corner bookcase and moved it into the dining room and moved the butcher block island into the bookcase's former home behind the front door.

I like the now mostly loaded bookcase's new home but I don't like the look of butcher block so it may just be transitioning out the door or it might look better if I move the shredder into the office and reorient the piece.

My next moving madness involves another loaded bookcase swapping with a secretary laden with fragile bits.

Art is also moving around. The very large tropical fish print has left the office/computer room.

When I first bought it I wanted to brighten up a windowless bathroom but the wall wouldn't support the weight so it came to live in computer room as punch of colour and whimsy. It's possibly too big for the bathroom with less wimpy walls but that's a fall back position as it throwing it back overboard.

The current plan is for it to take up most of the dining area's wall. That's going to be a big shift from the living room's aesthetic so I have some concerns but it's just nails, hanging art and adjusting -- or not.

Crazy bit on the new art, I was going to do a whole wall scape combining the new brush work, some Aisan inspired multi-media pieces, and a Chinese mirror. Then I put the new piece up above the fireplace just for photos. Twist of fate and bad lighting, the shouldn't be that low, should be hung higer, doesn't fill the space right, doesn't _really_ work is starting to grow on me.

That's bad news for the office/computer room since I still have that wide expansive of wall that was supposed to get the new guy and the refugees from the living room but I think I can work it out.

Photos on the day, other than the hundred year old marriage certificate, are from yesterday's walkabout.

25 December 2008

Soggy Seasons Greetings San Diego Style

I had two different images in queue for the Xmas blog posting. The one not chosen is a festive holiday cactus but the ducks fit the weather better.

If the forecast was rain mixing it up with patches of sun then it was accurate.

I'm sure I'd already missed a rainbow or two by the time I rolled out to face the day.

The television marathons on offer for the day included A Christmas Story (filmed in part in Cleveburg btw), Priscilla Queen of the Desert, House and Star Trek the Next Generation -- none of these, the prospect of moving furniture or even the rain were enough to keep me inside on the day.

The big trick for the day was staying warm and not getting totally drenched while still getting in some much needed exercise.

Speaking of exercise, the apartment's black hole, having returned a few items, has taken others. In the latter category, it seems to have gobbled up my pedometer. Last seen on the 19th, I think it's here some where but it could also be in the chaos that is my work desk.

I was about a mile into my walkabout and heading into the park by the zoo when the rain decided to become a bit more sincere (read come down sideways) .

The carousel was closed, the train ride open but there were no tourists or tykes lined up for tickets as I went by on my way into Spanish Village where only one studio had an artist working on the day.

Rolling through on the other side, the rain gave it a bit of a rest before kicking it up again as I was crossing the Laurel Street bridge out of the park toward 5th.

It subsided soon enough and around 2 or 2:30 the sun decided to make a cameo appearance over the bay.

But the sky to the North East was still water laden and dark as the second and third photos show. From that point on, I was pretty much stalking/trailing the storm as it headed deeper into the county.

If you were looking for a meal or even a place to stop in from the wet, to get warm your choices were pretty slim.

I suppose because so much of the fun of holidays is of the dysfunctional kind, bars were open but sweet F-A else beyond the odd liquor store, 7-11, Ralph's, Cafe Bassam, the Hong Kong Restaurant on 4th between Robinson & University, or Donut Haven on Robinson.

Although I took some other signs along the way, that will appear in some other posting, I did note that Cafe Bassam has a room, room, bar distinction that I don't quite get. I concede that tea bar doesn't have a convincing ring to it but I think that bar, room, bar has a better ring to it.

Although I took the first photo on the 6th Avenue side of the park, there were at least as many such signs on the lawn of the War Memorial Building too.

BTW, speaking of conditions too wet, remember Sunday's blog entry with the photo of the should be switched off sprinklers? Today, same story 'round about 3:30pm as I was winding my way home witness this next lovely shot.

Meanwhile, tucked up on the day with the walkabout attire drying and the fish afghan calling my name.

It's a nice night to knit on something that will help keep the chill off while working it.

Still no good picture of the other art splurge from the other day but the weather makes an challenging space for photography even more challenging.

Ducky ho ho hos complete with coal

24 December 2008

Twas the day of the night before and all that jazz

Yesterday was supposed to be a break in the storm action for most of the day.

It sure looked that way when I headed out from home but the dark clouds were hovering over RB and opened up over BAE systems and some Sony buildings.

It was kinda kewl but it was also a reminder that the truck needs new windshield wipers. Still, I got a quick look at a rainbow in the middle of the honking huge grey spewing rain cloud to start the work day.

If I were a better blogger, I'd a photo. Who knows? Maybe I'll make mounting hunky chunky old digital camera to the dash a 2009 resolution.

All things considered it was good work day with plenty of progress on current projects.

Although the skies were threatening, I managed to get home before the predicted rain happened or perhaps I was running South ahead of the rain.

Today's my first of five days away from the office so I slept in, brewed up a blend of Sumatran and French Roast before doing some number crunching and software shopping.

I'm sort of surprised that San Jose State doesn't support using Open Office as an alternative to Microsoft Office but it looks like I can pick up a copy of the latter for about 100 bucks (about the same price as one of my required texts) and I'm thinking that I may opt to go to Framemaker 8 by buying the technical creative suite (includes Acrobat 9, Robohelp, Framemaker 8. and Captivate) for not much more than the Framemaker 8 purchased alone.

That way I can stay with Framemaker 7.1 , Webworks 7 and Acrobat 6 on the current XP box to stay mostly compatible with the day job work environment but also grow my skill set on the newer software. Given cash flow, the Technical Creative Suite purchase will not be a top priority in 2009 but it is on the objectives/agenda.

Another big reason for crunching numbers today was, of course, the art question. My id, ego and superego had a wrestling match. My calculations told me that if art was eligible for the 75% discount, I could swing (although it will a trade off) at least one if not both of the two pieces if they were still there.

So shortly after 1pm I walked out into the world and, shock, amazement, bought art.

Art was 50% not 75% off and while I was ready to just roll on home based on the balance sheet in my head, John ran his numbers and a compromise deal was reached. In my world view I spent 2x more than I planned but got a 2-fer.

So I paid, walked home, and drove back with truck to transport my treasures.

When I got home, I staged and shot in the failing light some photos of the new to me art. Only the oil of the Japanese mountain (aka the lesser valued piece) made the cut of photo inclusion.

Interestingly, the piece that stuck in my head (aka the Chinese brush stroke piece) at purchase point was the one valued higher and that I loved rather less.

Now that I have both home and have had occasion to see both without the clutter of other images, I understand why the piece that stuck in my head stuck.

It is an abstract piece, which is a bit odd for Chinese brush work, and when I saw in the noise of the other art, I bought into the idea that it was a face.

Now that I've had it isolated I am convinced that it is a static expression of a figure in motion.

Even if I'm wrong from the point of the artist's intent, I'm right to how it spoke to me and demanded to come live with me. I'm going to try to track down the history of the piece from the framing information.

While it would be interesting and clearly valuable to know if it truly is an X original at Y value, for me it would be even more interesting to know if, assuming an X if X's vision was face or figure. Cheeky bitch that I am, I might even enjoy sending X a missive suggesting that his face is actually a figure in motion study.

Today's photos include an update on the still scary ugly 10th and Robinson, a less than ideal image of the lesser valued oil of a Japanese mountain, and, in scary face mode, a sidewalk art Maggie face image.

23 December 2008

"Server," she said shifting gears.

The lap top isn't ready for its closeup and the flat panel/wide screen is still sitting patiently in its box in the loving room.

I did turn the lap top on and off a couple of times just to make sure nothing died in transit. I fitted it with its wireless mouse transmitter and tried to test the built in webcam, microphone & speakers.

I say tried 'cause it was a mixed result of whether the computer and/or I agreed about the relative success of the test. Call that just one of the many kinks I'll need to have sorted by the time classes begin.

Meanwhile, about that server. So far the bad thing about letting Dell do the distro and kernel build is that a lot of the software needs a bit of an update (Firefox is 1.5 with very old plug-ins) and the yum rpms are not as up-to-date as I would like.

Noted that the yum rpm story might be one of those stuff I need to config complete as I make the slow transition from an old school and old distro Red Hat senior server (last kernel build July 1999 just before bb died) but the bigger server story is a big X-wow moment.

The insanely good thing about the Dell do the distro, and indeed the new distro story is how the x-environment has developed while I was just playing guardian. My senior server's x-environment is FVM which is pretty far from user friendly and occasionally it has also been less than stable.

Red Hat 5's default x-solution is Gnome. It comes up in 1024x768 which is nasty on a wide/flat screen but thankfully that's easy and quick to fix. Indeed, the auto-config write the info to file is just heaven for those who remember the joys of writing xconfig files and hoping you got it right on the next restart.

Gnome is more user friendly than Windows. No, no, really.

It is Linux/Xwindows for dolts. This dolt, of course, had some issues with all the extra hand holding and had to go for manual edits of most of my config files but that's because I'm still not a good GUI girl. The GUIs don't intuit me so I was delighted to find that changing session meant I could shift gears to KDE.

KDE is a big shift change from FVM that doesn't quite walk down the Windows-lite world of Gnome. For some folks, especially the weaned on Windows crowd, Gnome is a great interface solution. I'm a little more of a dinosaur so KDE is way more better for me.

I can have my familiar light on dark console and a/xterm windows with the convenience of a much more robust array of applications. I feel confident that I can shift my mutt and emacs to a KDE environment and not have to make too many adjustments.

Besides the bandwidth issue with senior server and still functional but a tad date 10/100 switch network, the major reason for the cygwin experiments and upgrades involve the dying dinosaur of a CRT. The flicker in the photo is not from the inherent noise of photographing a computer monitor, the screen really is compressing and expanding as the CRT slowly passes into the recycling bin.

22 December 2008

Laptops and widescreens and whispers of kittens

I'd already been on line for a couple of hours when my dentist phoned asking if I could shift things and come in earlier.

It was still too early to see whether I could arrange for a back up signee for the lap top and wide screen so I was a little reluctant but in the roll the dice moment, I figured that the worst case scenario would be that I missed the delivery and could tag out and run a few errands rather than being tied to the apartment/computer in the hope of St FedEx soon being there.

The day's errands included dropping off bags and packing material for St Paul's, making a Fry's run for new cabling (cat 5e or 6 to go with the new switch), a grocery store run, and picking up Kali's ashes -- such good times eh?

The rain was relentless and I considered driving but that always seems to jinx the parking story so I packed myself up into a couple layers of sweatshirts and a rain slicker to brave the falling and already fallen water.

I got drenched, or as I wrote to a co-worker "moisturised" walking to my appointment. I came back University rather than Robinson as the still inadequate storm drains are somewhat less inadequate one block up on a more "main" street.

I hadn't been home, changed. and in the process of drying out very long before the
FedEx not fairy rolled up outside. Had I kept the original appointment I'd have been looking at a hang tag and planning on a cycle on station Wednesday.

Boxes waited patiently in the living room as I finished off the work day and rolled out in the hopes of getting the errands finished before the evening commute limited my escape routes.

Bags and packing material delivered, Kali's ashes collected, truck's gas tank replenished, cables (went cat 6) acquired and other life essentials were all wrapped up and I'm mostly pau for the holiday must do list.

Whispers of kittens is a reference to Kali's ashes, not the near potential of a new mewer in my under foot life.

I'm a having a certain amount of can't go there reaction to collecting the ashes. When Maka died, the staff at the hospital had really bonded with him -- hell, everyone bonded with Maka -- and there was the whole grieving package and crazy weird appropriate hibiscus styled paw print. Yes, all a bit more rainbow bridge-y woo-woo than I can get misty about but his death was a more shared death and I got the fact that that woo-woo stuff was as much (if not more) about their grief than mine.

Kali's death not so connected and the gestures not so on point. The whole business much more standard issue, well meaning but ultimately empty gesture moment that just leaves me, well, empty. Perhaps it is just too soon or the contrast is just too stark but the intended comfort is highly uncomfortable.

21 December 2008

Stop -- Whistle -- Not and what about that water

A Whistlestop weekend and I'm not going to be there yet again.

I did get some licks in on the slim diagonal connecting strips but I'm not in love with the progress I'm making.

Yesterday when I got back from walkabout I went into mini marathon laundry mode. There's plenty more to do but I got the priority items done before the weather shifts again.

The duck and blanket were priority but I swear they came out of the first wash looking worse than when they went in and a second wash still has me not 100% happy with the result.

I'm not sure whether I'm being hypercritical or if things are just not coming together.

Meanwhile, today's photos are a semi-random shuffle oddities that caught my attention during recent and not so recent walkabouts.

The first is a big irk me image of sprinklers in over drive on a mostly concrete lot for sale at the corner of 7th and Robinson. It's particularly annoying in light of Southern California's water shortage and recent rain that make the sprinkler activity especially redundant and irresponsible.

Next up is a wake up call for all who were under the impression that you were the centre of the universe.

According to this sign seen during a Reader puzzle drop off back in August, the centre of the universe has moved to pier-littleitaly.com.

I've not been monitoring the progress of the condos at the centre of the universe but perhaps I'll put it on my list of things to do when I make my annual Horton Plaza trek for discounted calendars for the new year.

20 December 2008

Walking without knitting, art for art's sake

No FedEx hang tag and no wide screen on the patio were waiting for me on Friday's homecoming so I'm guessing that the laptop and monitor will be coming back out on Monday -- hopefully on the same truck.

I'm hoping that the timing works out since my work out of his home go to neighbour (aka Sweet James) is home in Texas for the holidays and I have mid-afternoon overdue dental appointment so it might all work but it also might all go so very South.

Since I've been rarely in the world other than to day job and back of late, there's been but little walkabout knitting or not.

Today I decided to take a break from the continuing clear the computer room's clutter in prep for the last of the hardware equipment's arrival to actually take a walk and visit some of my peeps.

Actually, I got an early start on the day and had made a big of progress on clearing the desk and correspondence when I headed out. The incoming mail reminded me that I have a few more, surely late, holiday cards to get written and into the mail come Monday.

John and company over at St Paul's Thrift shop were sweet not to give me grief over my on again off agains. I was too late for the ritual fix the crossword puzzle exercise but I did get a good dose of Tyler's -- just the cutest little bundle of Benji-esque goodness -- unconditional puppy love. Tyler is the only big sloppy kiss guy in my life right now and I'm good with that.

In the last few months they've had some great art donations and a few weeks back when I bought a few of the more affordable pieces, my standard issue canvas carry in case of shopping bags wouldn't accommodate the larger piece which, to be honest, is a bit more graphic art than art IMO but

I hated having to use their resources but getting it home safely without was dicey, so I promised to bring the heavy duty bag and bubble wrap back to the shop for reuse.

I've not been back since and I swear, as I was leaving home today I stared at the bags and bubble wrap but decided that I couldn't make one trip with it and the outbound trash.

Seeing the state of bags and packing materials when they're having a deep discount sale in the run up to Xmas gave me a big twinge guilt moment. So as I was leaving with my schwag (nice black linen big shirt, wacky earrings, a couple carved birds and an oddment of knitting/crochet bits and bobs) I promised to dig around and try, FedEx willing, to drop at least that bag and some others into the shop on Monday.

Although some of the art got away, I swear, if I wasn't doing the student thing, I swear I'd dig in and blow bucks for one of the Chinese brush work pieces they have hanging at the moment.

I'm taking Wednesday as a vacation day so I should probably give the shop a wide berth although, if the art is eligible for the 75% discount rather than the 50%, that one piece is almost affordable and it would work back to a lot of my Asian pieces. Then again. a lot of my Asian and other pieces are currently not on walls and some aren't even framed or need reframing.

In my defense on that front, I've cleared a bunch of wall and floor space in the computer room and some of my recent purchases have inspired new groupings to further freshen and inspire, so more art in waiting will be hitting the walls soon and some old faves will be getting new digs and new neighbours.

Note to self need to buy books, need to buy software for lap top, need to buy new cables, do not need to buy art. Yeah, like my id will listen and actually, art is a good investment because even if it doesn't increase in monetary value it does other very good things.

On the walk home I did some poking around in the little stops and starts of 8th Avenue in a find Dawn's childhood home tour.

Pictures soon and a bit of a puzzlement on that front. There are three blocks of 8th that end in a canyon -- 3600 block starts at Pennsylvania and runs South toward Balboa Park and the Marston House on 7th. The 3700 block starts at Robinson and runs South ending in the canyon just North of Pennsylvania. The 4000 block is a jogging continuation of the 3700 block but it runs North and ends North of Washington Street.

It wasn't the longest walk and my bitching shins made it clear that it was just long enough to trigger my perpetual faux shin splits pain and not long enough to walk it off.

19 December 2008

Believe it or not

Madly somewhat related events follow.

On this date in 1644, the observance of Christmas was outlawed in England -- can you say civil war & Cromwell? Sure you can.

Six years later, Edinburgh Castle (which btw, had had a blush with plague in 1644) surrendered to said same Roundheaded Cromwell.

Ninety-nine years after the observation was outlawed, Dickens' A Christmas Carol was first published.

In another
important Christmas related moment, corrugated paper was patented by one Albert L. Jones on this date in 1871.

Other stuff happened on this day, including some of my what's up with women's moments, but in the stays with the theme mode, the one that matters is that Robert Ripley started his Believe it or not column in the New York Globe -- no, no, really.

18 December 2008

Surface street San Diego survival guide

Although today offers a break in the rain, today's photo is from November of 2007 and a rainy morning commute that capped off a particularly bad commuting month.

When I started making the daily trek to the wilds of RB, my commute was "against" traffic which meant that although I was making a 23 or so mile one way trek, I had many a day when a coworker less than five miles from the office faced a nastier and longer drive time than I did.

Back then the North/South thing wasn't the issue so much as the East to West choices. The 56 started and stopped at the most inconvenient places and without a 4x the choices were very limited.

Before there was a 4S Ranch development, there was a stretch of less than improved Black Mountain Road and some fire roads that took me from the wilds of Rancho Bernardo out to the coast.

Ultimately you came out right around the Evergreen Nursery on the equally less than improved Western part of Black Mountain Road. It was a much better choice than the 15 South and Mira Mesa Boulevard option or some of the other bit of this and bit of that cut through the residential neighbourhood to get to Carmel Valley Road hodge podge.

I daresay that if I ever tried to retrace my old route I'd probably run smack dab into a gated community with lots of open space now enclosed for the enjoyment of the few. I actually have some experience getting lost in some of that newly developed luxury land when I tried to navigate my way to an alum event last year.

Anyhow, now that the I15 corridor "improvement" means that vehicles entering the Southbound freeway at Carmel Mountain Road have to make three lane changes in under two miles to be in a lane that doesn't disappear. This has made an already highly unpleasant commute much nastier. Add earlier darkness plus rain and you've a lovely recipe for finding another way South.

I already knew the Penasquitos (jogging South, West and then South again to catch the 15 below Poway and the usual congestion) routine by either continuing on Carmel Mountain or trying to get on the 15 and opting to take the 56 one exit when the lane changes were just not going to happen and the swing South through Poway and West through Scripps Ranch run but Monday night I was in the market for something just a bit different.

So the combination of getting lost trying to get to an alum event and my rethink of directions to a an after work knitting social event got me looking into a farther West then South route.

When Bernardo Center Drive crosses Camino Del Norte, you don't go very far before it magically turns into Carmel Valley Road. About the same time that happens, you come upon a sign that tells you that the road is ending. That sign lies and so do a lot of maps who appear to believe the sign is the final word on the status of the road. The next signs informs you that the next bit of road is maintained by the County rather than the City of San Diego -- like that matters.

The road actually goes through a few more magical name changes before disappearing again in Del Mar Heights. I've yet to take the road all the way West but I have taken it as far as the North/South stretch of Black Mountain Road.

That segment of Black Mountain becomes Kearny Villa when it crosses Miramar and Kearny Villa, in turn, becomes Ruffin when it crosses under the 52. Kearny Villa is often a much better alternative to the 163 to cross the mesas. On Monday, I swung West on Balboa and picked up the 163 for just a couple of exits. Last night, went 100% freeway free opting to overshoot West (and thereby avoid the mall traffic) and came home through Old Town and Mission Hills.

17 December 2008

Bit of this, bit of that and coffee culture closures

Today's first photo is another one of those sidewalk oddities that tend to catch my eye and camera lens.

This one isn't public art but likely the legacy of a business that either once was or still is but has lost its luster.

Today's another rainy day and I'm not going to complain after my rant about Santa Anas.

Monday's rain had me map out a newish minimal rainy freeway route home and today I refined it a bit.

All told, it took an hour and change to get from RB down to Hillcrest but considering that a non-rainy evening commute can sometimes involve taking 23 minutes to travel 4 miles, I'm pretty happy with yet another way to avoid freeway crazies.

Today also marks the last day that I'll walk downstairs for my afternoon pick me up of espresso plus drip coffee pick me up and a bit of chatter with the lovely barista, Michelle.

I've only really been doing the coffee culture at work thing for a short part of her tenure but we bonded pretty quickly and I'm going to miss her sassy self as well as the coffee.

In a twisted way, a more important loss is the cross department social and professional interchange that came from coffee culture bonding.

Seriously, you're on line waiting for your latte, Americano, espresso, or chai and you get familiar with the faces and you share some chit chat. Then you see the same faces in the elevator, hallway or meeting, and you acknowledge each other and the conversations and connections develop.

These are real connections based on an external connection than creates a web of interest. Michelle was/is a great catalyst for that sort of connectivity. As I told her recently, you know you're really popular when your friends don't have to like each other and it's okay.

Her "boss" is less successful and it will be interesting to see how the new year sans Michelle will be interesting. With a bit of luck, the established connections will continue to grow in the physical absence of the coffee catalyst but I'll probably be joining the take advantage of the return of the free coffee crowd.

Speaking of coffee culture, last year I noticed that there was a new independent coffee shop where the 2nd Starbucks in San Diego had previously operated. When I finally managed to stop in, I found that it was a nice little shop and I really enjoyed having conversations over coffee with one young man who worked there. So I was saddened to note that it appears to gone out of business.

On a completely different note, an email alert from Dell today confirms that they are ahead of their ship by date and that the wide screen and laptop have left Reno and are on their way to San Diego
to connect up with already resident mouse and docking station.

In true not quite having it all together mode (yes, I did do a stint as an expeditor so I'm picky that way), the Dell dudes in Reno didn't co-ordinate wide screen and laptop FedEx pickups so the order will likely be two different FedEx bills of lading -- pish. ETA on the monitor is Friday and ETA for the laptop is Monday.

16 December 2008

Duck feet not soup for duck weather

In a who knew that may be more of a why did you have to remind me moment, apparently, on this date in 1976, the song Disco Duck hit #1 on U.S. music charts.

Five years earlier saw the release of Don McLean's 8+ minute song American Pie. It hit #1 in January of 1972 and overplay mode very shortly thereafter.

Anyhow, back to the ducks. Today's first photo shows the basic duck foot square, an in process duck foot with the contrast yarn to show up the sewing cheat, and the finished shape of the sewn foot. The second photo is a less that ideal close up of the sewing cheat/trick.

These get lightly stuffed -- light because there's already plenty of fabric folded up in there -- and sewn with the wide side forward and seam down to either side of the bottom of the duck body.

I'm still worrying the size of needles I have to go down to to get a duck bill/beak that doesn't look like Steve Tyler.

Rain has finally come to San Diego. Last night I opted to take the almost no freeway route home. It took almost an hour which is probably about the same as the freeways would have taken but with no spin outs and such.

15 December 2008

Accessories be here and the post that isn't here/there

The different Dell shipping structure continues to amuse. There were two packages from Dell software & accessories waiting for me when I came home tonight. The two probably could have been consolidated into one but the mousie boys and the docking dudes (aka the Logitech lads and Kensington kids) may not work and play well together.

Still, while the ruby red laptop and the 19" flat screen monitor are still "being built" which I believe is code for in queue and/or on a slow boat from China, the companion ruby red nano mouse and my wow what a difference in less than a decade docking station are here in San Diego cycling on station -- and hopefully not disappearing into my apartment's infamous black hole in the interim.

The mouse came in a sweet little box inside a padded envelope. Batteries (not nicad) were included but the truly tiny transmitter was almost overlooked and trashed -- seriously. Unless that's a planned purchase a replacement strategy, putting it into a three channel plastic bag with the "desktop USB extension" would be a better packaging solution than the single channel separate plastic bag option..

Have I ever mentioned that, during my Kaypro days I worked very closely with the mech engineers to figure out how we could make documentation (including binding choices) and software decision that would allow us to simplify the packaging of our systems? In Kaypro talk, that was sort of optimising things so we could use the same "pizza box" for software/pubs with systems regardless of whether it was the full bundled software suite or just the O/S and drivers.

Just a different form of spatial real world Rubik's cubing. BTW, I suck at Rubik's cube and the like. Somehow, for all my love of seeking patterns, those puzzles lack real world meaning to me. Maybe because they all have a predefined outcome and real life has more of an open ended find the constants then work back through the variables to find best answer that will work for as many permutations as you can find/define.

That little twisted paragraph walks me down the path of the post that isn't here. Bit of a mish mash about meta tagging, blogs, and the tension between rigid taxonomies/controlled vocabularies and Liberty Hall folksonomies. If you're a careful reader you'll note that my blog tagging is erratic at best and that isn't just because I'm an admittedly lazy blogger but also because I have very ambivalent feelings about that tension.

If your eyes are glazing over from the "onomies" I'd not be shocked. And that's yet another reason why that's the blog entry that isn't there/here. For the moment at least, I'm acknowledging the tension, recognising the value of all views and opting out of the fray at least until and unless I go on a wild indexing/tagging spree.

Today's photos is the beautiful Barbie in the red dress that got away.

14 December 2008

More ducks and such -- some in the square style

First up, Dylan's duck's head/mug shot.

Duck and blanket still need to have a date with the washing machine but everything's on target to at least be ready for Lucy's return to work in the new year.

On the same baby boom note, I'm hopeful that the fish afghan will finally start to come together in time for it and me to make our way to the next Whistlestop knitting.
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Since that's coming up on the 21st and just happens to be both the solstice and start of Hanukkah, I'm having a gee Brent, I don't think I will get that dreidel done in time moment. I know you'll forgive me, after all, you do have a handknit teddy bear.

Shifting gears again, every other Sunday when I'm not contagious, I don the ever so not figure flattering white jeans and pale blue polyester smock, and make my way to the 4th floor of Sharp Mary Birch Hospital where I encourage knitting and other needle arts activity.

This week it was me and Kelly with the ladies in waiting. We also encourage lots of laughter and silliness.

One of the knit a square make a toy duck knitters had reached a now what phase with body and head pieces ready for sewing and stuffing.

I had in hand my example sample to show the sewing bit of the exercise. So I loaded up a tapestry needle with yarn and got the sewing going.

The trick/cheat in the make a square into a toy is in the sewing.

As you can see, three of the four corners get rounded off and tucked away inside. There's about a 2 inch opening where the head gets sewn on.

For the more experienced knitter, its a bit of a waste and they could just as easily do the bind-off and/or decrease to form the shape but for the new knitter, the cheat's a good thing.

Other than the body and the feet, so far my experience with this particular toy, the sewing up is pretty straight forward. The wing and tail pieces are a simple diagonal fold, sew and stuff a bit before attaching to the body.

Remembering that we were low on fibre-fill the last time I was there, I had snapped up the nearly full bag before heading out the door which was a good thing because once the body and head were mostly attached, stuffing was the next logical step.

Student out performed teacher and this firmly stuffed little duck is ready for his wings while my samples are still in the to be sewn phase.

That's fine, it just means more photos and more blogging so the moms in waiting can make progress whether they or I am in hospital.

The stuffing and sewing was so inspiring to the other moms in waiting that I finshed off the day writing up square "recipe" cards for two knit a square lambs so I guess I'll be knitting some lamb parts in the not too distant.

But before the lamb parts hit the needles, I'm going to try again to get a good image of the sewing of the duck feet. The orange is not the most photo friendly colour so its taking a few more tries than the other pieces.

13 December 2008

Shop she said and other plans

I'm feeling a tad guilty for not:
  • going to Sharp Mary Birch today for a holiday thank you party thing
  • doing more stable muck out and network reconfig
  • doing the final finishing and laundering of Lucy's entrelac blanket & Dylan's duck
  • doing long languishing personal laundry
  • getting in lots of exercise
I did, however, manage to clear the queue of a backlog of blog entries, start actually sewing and documenting how those squares become a knitted duck toy and get a head shot of Dylan's duck now with embroidered eyes.

I also made good on my ride shotgun on a shopping expedition. Its been a long time between a good girls day out and I've always been a good shopper whether it be for me or friends. I have an eye and I don't lie -- in the old evil versus vicious drag queen joke, I'm the evil one who will tell you that the dress makes your ass look like an Airbus A38.

No worries about Airbus sightings on this trip -- other friends' joking not withstanding, in the grand scheme of things she's much more of an experimental ultralight.

Fashion Valley, or any mall, isn't exactly my idea of a good time even under non-holiday conditions. But, we had a general plan of attack to hit the most likely shops while being open to window shopping for other options.
Hey, she was topping off a day that started with a first year law school Property law final, so hitting a mall during the hols for a friend seemed way more fair.

Honestly, it was a lot of fun. We had a couple of dresses that got away -- out of budget, not the right size or just the wrong cut -- but we scored big time with four garments and very different but very classic looks that will work for many years to come.

We also had quite a few laughs at the expense of some buyers who had clearly bought too much into some non-performing trends/styles and some totally wouldn't play in Cinci outfits like the first one in this blog entry. The colour is so not true but trust me, in person, in the shop whose name I can't recall where the sheesh what a hottie she is dress fit her like a dream but got the can't justify budget axe lived -- (good luck parsing this sentence after
sheesh), it was damned near my Jam's World cabbage roses dress Aloha wear gone mad.

I'll have to clear it with the beautiful Barbie before I shift up her image in the red dress that got away from the same shop -- memory moment, upper level, to the East side, dresses that drew us included a tightly horizontal pleated blue graduated colour dress with a wide patent black belt and a full length vertical pleated
blue graduated colour dress.

The second photo is of the stunning little number (
Travessia Dress) we found after scoring at Banana Republic and H&M while circling back to Express for the first dress she tried on and just to check audition of a style not previously considered.

Travessia was one of the oh blow the budget and not the right size variety. The Anthropologie web page does so not even remotely do justice to the Parisian retro colour, embroidery etc. of this baby in public. It would be amazing on Barbie but, as we put it on the day, saved by the not immediately available in my size fairy.

I dunno, I'm still having visions of Barbie channeling Audrey Hepburn with a picture hat, this dress and flats. Me? I'm kinda loving it more that the hot red number that was a bit more Marilyn.

On a totally different note, my indulgence on the day was at Papyrus where I went just a tad mad refreshing my holiday card assortment on the buy three get the fourth free deal. I went mad enough to get two, count 'em two of the BYOB canvas bags for $5 each. As a serious bag hag, I can attest that this really is a great bag.

12 December 2008

Did you really think we were done with ducks?

And yes, I have acquired a few more into the collection.

The bad news on that front is that retailers like Cost Plus Imports have figured out that there are big time rubber duckie collectors and they are no longer discounting the seasonal/holiday themed duckies. The good news is that they aren't ratcheting up the regular retail pricing.

Now, onto the knitted ducks part of our programme.

Photos and blog postings about the duck additions and the square progress will be in a forthcoming blog posting or three.

One of many things I wasn't crazy about in the original McTague pattern and finished duck was the lack of separation between the leg and the foot of the duck.

To be fair, the original pattern did not work foot and leg in one piece, but even with the knit and sew story, the foot and leg's stuffing flowed as one and that leaves us with a duck who seems to be continuously on webbed pointe.

I'd already decided that I wanted the feet to be a bit less "stuffed" than the legs and created a template to cut some quilt batting in the general shape I wanted the foot to take.

As things worked out, I augmented the double thickness of quilt batting with a bit of ploy-fil to get the "just right" foot look I was after.

The executive summary of what I did was that I used crochet and the "wrong side" of the work to my advantage and achieve the sort of thing I would have worked external stitching to delimit the planes back in the day when I doing soft sculpture with a needle and thread rather than two needles and yarn (with the odd crochet hook into the mix).

The somewhat more detailed bit is that I sewed the legs to the body and stuffed them. I squished, I fussed, I stuffed some more and when I was happy with it, I shoved all the leg stuffing up into the leg bit.

In my case that was the end of the decreases, in another that might be start of increases or where the bits were sewn together.

In any event, I turned the foot bit inside out and single chain crocheted the adjacent garter ridges to each other. In doing that, I created an invisible, but highly functional, channel/seam between the leg and foot.

I could then stuff foot separated from leg. Just because, I continued the crochet rather than sew bits together but did add a bit of sewing to cinch up and heighten the webbed illusion of the foot.

If I were doing soft sculpture or puppets, I would secure the two resulting planes together with a few basting stitches to keep foot and leg -- if not perpendicular -- at least not parallel.

In a full confession/disclosure mode, my end product duck has less than symmetric feet and less than symmetric eyes but he's damned cute.

11 December 2008

Squares, sidewalk art and Book-off buy for a buddy

What little knitting has been happening here of late is in the Knit a Square, Make a Toy variety.

I got turned onto the whole idea from my guild whose members will, by the time of this blog post, have collectively made a bunch and delivered them to Polinsky Children's as the culmination of the year's focused altruism/charity give back effort.

I clarify that whole focused effort because I know that plenty of guild members as individuals and/or in concert in groups do lots and lots of charitable knitting but the guild major gig is for Polinsky.

My tie into this is my own current charity gig. My thinking is that even the beginning knitting ladies in waiting (aka the high-risk mommas to be) at Sharp Mary Birch can knit a bunch of squares and put them together to be something more than a bunch o squares.

The photo at top left is a set of squares that will, in the fullness of time, become a somewhat less fully fashioned plush knitted duck than Dylan's duck from Fiona McTague's Knitted Toys and recent blog postings.

The fullness of time is, of course, expanding. My get another set done and document how the first transforms into a duck has gone to shite as other stuff has jumped queue but it will happen.

I finished knitting this lot and snapped the snap back in late November and I'm sorry to say that I'm still a couple of beak bits short of a duck to show and a duck to show in process documented.

Also from late November and the break in muck out mode, is the snap of the urban stencil sidewalk art that I took on the 29th.

On the knitting front, I've had this "great" idea that I should do bias knit garter rectangles to connect the fishy Jen/Tony baby blanket panels and I've even staged all the bits into a project bag. Sadly, I've only been toting the bag about and not making any progress that remotely resembles knitting.

Cash flow worries notwithstanding, I managed a recent Book-Off detour. No great knitting titles jumped off the shelves but some fun critter crochet titles reminded me of my co-worker Jessica so I just had to dig down and pick up these two titles.

There were four contenders for my limited buying power but since budget was tight only these two truly stood out. Jess won't see either until she's back from a mixed work/vacation Oz trip but she knows that some crochet critter projects are awaiting her return.

What she doesn't know is just how amazingly cute the kat book is and how much pressure I'm going to put on her to crochet me a cat from that book, She's software engineer and a crocheter so I think she can handle it.

On Wednesday night I automatically closed up the computer room before crawling into bed. When I woke up it struck me that that was one of the adaptive behaviours I've fallen into to accommodate and protect both Kali and electronics from her unpredictable seizures and general shakier existence.

I'm sure plenty more of the "oh I don't have to do that" moments and the companion "now I don't need to worry about that" thoughts will continue to become clear and also give some strange mix of relief and guilt in the coming days and weeks.

The computer room now has the desk installed and the new and old servers paralleled so I can slowly but surely shift configs and control from old to new. I also broke down and retired some shelving units that are currently cached in the STASH room.

I also raided the STASH room for an underused table that may just be an interim solution for dividing the Linux and PC segments of the network into discrete but functional work groups. I'm sorry to say that I had to stack out and pack out into the living/staging room knitting related publications that the STASH room really had no room at the inn for.

I'd love to report that that pack out and stack out has resulted n a rework/reorg of bookcases but so far it is just a still stacked story. I think physical tired has merged with emotionally tired but I'm going to need to turn that around soon.

10 December 2008

Pessimism, Pee in the Park, shuffling & Santa Ana squawking

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised. - George F. Will

Photos today are courtesy of residents trying to preserve their lawns and stave off the damage wrought by
pet urine and other deposits.

The subject line shuffling refers more to $$ than stuff. Last year I'd said yes to a line of credit thinking that I would use it to start the MLIS programme. I didn't start the programme as planned due to Kali's diagnosis and vet bills so I didn't use any of the monies and the cheques just expired.

I'm not a big fan of taking on debt but with all the expenses of upgrading my network, tuition and the like hitting all at once, I was considering taking advantage of one of those offers and perhaps even using it this time. The alternative was to liquidate some already non-performing assets in my brokerage account.

What does that mean? I've been crunching numbers and re-crunching. Among the different scenarios I considered was not paying the server and other current card balances off in full this month but I couldn't justify paying even a couple days of credit card interest to preserve non-performing assets to keep the balance up in order to take advantage of the continuing opportunity for bargains in this troubled economic time.

I finally opted to go the liquidation (no reference today's pictures intended) route and spread the numbers across the non-performing (surprise I actually have one performing asset) although it was a near thing. Timing is so tight that if I hadn't done some additional account transfers I'd been looking at my first overdraft in decades.

Today my chequing account balance reached an historic low when two scheduled credit card payments hit one day before the brokerage account troops arrived. That is scary, scary stuff.

So what did I do yesterday? I took on debt and bought a lap top to meet the computing requirements for the degree programme. Dell and Citi bank were more than happy to finance the purchase and monthly payments are something I can work into the budget.

With a little luck and a lot of hard work, once I have a semester or so of coursework under my belt, I'll have current contacts and references to seek scholarship and grant support for the degree and take some of the pressure off. Until then, most of my academic references are either stale or expired.

With all the not quite as I'd planned progress on the 2nd, when I went back to work (read wilds of RB and day job) on the 3rd, I had already mostly determined that Knit@Nite was not going to be on my December schedule.

Since the ends woven in, wash and eyes embroidered phase of the duck/blanket combo still hadn't happened and the fish panels were still in disconnected mode (and they still are), I didn't have any completed items to show and with a tight cash flow story, the extra run to UTC/JCC and over long day when frankly I was near knackered was just not on.

Between the 3rd and the 5th, I didn't get much more than the number crunching and more Rubik's cube strategy planning done on the stable muck out. I more than made up for it on the weekend. Between the weather and the work, I was walking dehydrated wreck with a leaking faucet of a nose.

I am so, so over this Santa Ana give way to fog give way to Santa Ana weather. I know it isn't sympathetic to people dealing with "real" late Autumn weather but it's December, act accordingly you crazy climate.

09 December 2008

Purr-less popoki puddles. Pondering petlessness

About this time last year, evil kitty Kaliko'opo was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure the same thing that killed her litter mate brother Makahupo.

Although her name had nothing to do with the reference, the cosmic consciousness winked and endowed her with a personality that made her short form name of
Kali, quite apt.

She wanted nothing to do with the Rx food that would perhaps have prolonged her life and since I wasn't going to win any fight about her changing her ways at her then advanced age of 17 I didn't even try. Just recently I gave the almost full bag of food away to co-worker whose CRF kitty was auditioning various prescription foods as she was embarking on the same journey.

Kali made 18 and she was seemingly well on her way to 19 with the kidney failing by centimeters or perhaps millimeters rather than inches. Through it all I've done frequent nose, eye and behaviour checks just to see how thing were going and there hadn't been any big shift that I couldn't just attribute to pure ornery aging.

That said, of late I have been indulging her with extra lap time, and have occasionally wondered if her increased desire to be close indicated health issues. But mostly she was just Kali and if you ever met her you know just what I mean.

The psycho kitty, the hoochy kitty, the popoki with issues -- the all lovey turn on you the next kitty. She terrorised cat sitters, vet techs and even some vets and she did it all never tipping the scales at more than 8lbs of sleek limited vocabulary bitchiness. Other female cats maybe queens but Kali was a queen bitch and my baby girl.

During the recent total upheaval of prep for server reorg work of Herculean stable muck out mode, she was not amused with all the shifting of the familiar but I think the quality time with me not at work was appreciated.

Yesterday morning she was her usual demanding and follow along in front make life harder than it needs to be self but when I came home she was little more than a puddle of popoki lying in the hallway.

Initially I thought I'd arrived while she was in the midst of one of her occasional seizures and that it would pass. It didn't and as the evening progressed it was increasingly clear to me that the balance had shifted from failing kidney to failed and we were looking at end days. As if a switch had been flipped from leaving that morning and coming home that night it was that dramatic and that sudden.

When she was diagnosed and knowing what I knew and had been through with her brother I had made a pledge no matter how difficult she was I wouldn't put her down just because she was inconvenient or difficult -- afterall she's always been inconvenient & difficult -- but I would only put her down when I was clear that she was ready and that her quality of life was frankly shite. My gauge was that the day she didn't purr was the indicator.

She wasn't purring. She didn't purr at all. Kali had a purr you could hear across a crowded room -- sometimes even when she was savaging you -- and there was no purr. So this morning, I made the call, I made the damn I hate being an adult trip and I sent her on her way and stopped the pain sooner rather than later.

So suddenly. 18 1/2 years later, I'm pet less and I'm not sure I know how to be that.