Friday, August 28, 2009

Emily Is...

Lucy catching up on her reading  ...thankful...

The girls arrived safely and were shockingly calm.  It really wasn't the personality shattering experience I thought it might be.  Within minutes they were exploring all three floors, basking in sunny spots, checking under and lying on top of beds, purring and looking out windows.  I am so relieved.  It really was incredibly strange to see them on his side of the video camera but it was also incredibly wonderful.

It took much longer than we would have ever imagined for them to be released.  Thankfully, the girls
were immediately taken out of their cages and looked over by a vet
which gave them a much needed break from hours in their kennels. 

New hide out I'm also - and most of all - thankful for my wonderful, cat-loving husband who has had a very long day.  Lucky him, though, he gets to curl up and take a nap with at least one grateful cat, maybe two. 

...knitting...

Just bound off the Summer Lace Shawlette.  We had some problems, that gal and I, and there were more than a few rows ripped back due to the fact that I got a little too comfortable at times and there was more than a little cursing but I'm pleased and can't wait to see how it looks once it's blocked. 

Now I guess I'll go back to finishing the reading mitts or maybe go ahead and cast on Stella's Hat just because I'm anxious to knit with the Misti Alpaca - it's so soft.



Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lucy (and Mina) in the Sky

Lucy in the Sky I didn't get a good photo of Mina before she left but Lucy's has a certain jailhouse look to it, doesn't it?  I dropped them off at the cargo center at four for their eight o'clock flight (and we complain that we have to check in early) and then found out their flight was delayed two hours.  I was already feeling bad about how long they were going to be in their kennels...I really don't like the idea of two more hours.  Hopefully they'll sleep most of the time.  And they each have half of a towel that I slept with for several days so that it would smell like me.  Not they they're entirely happy with me right now.... I'm also consoling myself with the thought that, most days, Lucy lays in one spot and doesn't move for hours.  I'll just try not to think about the fact that she normally could get up and walk around if she wanted to.

It seems weird to think that I won't be going downstairs to spend an hour to two with them tonight.  Mom just poured herself a glass of water and I thought, "I need to fill their water bowls."  Sigh.

Matt already has a great little set up for them - I asked him to send photos - and I know he'll shower them with lots of attention.  And, after two months of staying in my parents' basement, they're going to love all of the sunny windows.  Still, it'll be strange to see them on his side of the camera when we do a Skype chat tomorrow.

Wish I was going to be on that flight with them....



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meow Meow Meow!*

I have at least two blog posts from the past couple of days stashed away as unfinished drafts but I thought I would go ahead and post a little bit of news.

The girls are going home on Thursday.

Yes, I'm still hanging out here in Ohio but my two cats, Mina and Lucy, are hopping on a plane Thursday night.  I really wanted us to go at the same time but this is the last week that Delta is offering non-stop service from Cincinnati to London and we really didn't want to mess with any layovers.  A four hour check in and an eight hour flight plus at least a couple of hours on the other end was enough - we didn't need to add in a five hour layover somewhere.  

Unfortunately, the process hasn't been easy.  We thought - and were advised as much in several calls to Delta - we could call three days prior to the flight date and purchase a ticket.  We had even been given a cost - $650 for the first cat and $20 for the second.  Turns out Delta doesn't fly animals overseas unless you go through a third party shipping service.  And the $670?  Customs fees.  The ticket is that much more over again.  And then there are the fees the shipping services charges...needless to say, it's expensive. 

Yesterday Matt and I spent at least five hours on Skype and he spent most of that calling Delta a half dozen times and talking to several companies that specialize in shipping pets.  Things actually got even more complicated when we did find a company to use.  It doesn't tell you anywhere that there's a form that has to be stamped and signed by the USDA and that getting that stamp and signature could take several days or several weeks.  Thankfully, there's an office an hour and a half from here and there was an available appointment so tomorrow, after taking the girls to the vet to finalize the passport paperwork and get them checked for ticks and fleas, I'm driving up to get what we need to get them on a plane on Thursday.

I'm worried about the stress of the trip on the little fur balls but I think it'll be worth it once they have three floors of space and lots of sunny windows to lounge in.  Right now they're in the basement, poor things.  Plus, you know, having Matt to shower them with affection won't be bad either. 

So the cats will be there on Friday and my belongings are due to arrive next week which means everything will be in Salisbury...except me.  

*Kittyspeak translation: "We're going home!"



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Airplane Knitting

Gaia Shoulder Hug Collage

Considering that this was supposed to be what I would work on during my flight home to Salisbury, finishing it was incredibly bittersweet.

Gaia Shoulder Hug

Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn #S40

US 4/3.5 mm needle



Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dainty Kitty

I canceled my old blog, Dainty Kitty just now.  Deletion was shockingly instantaneous and I feel a little stunned and a lot sad.  At first I thought it was silly that it nearly brought me to tears but I've been Dainty Kitty for a long time, longer than the two years I had that blog - we had a relationship - so it only makes sense that it would be a little heart wrenching to say goodbye.   I love that name given to me by my little cat, Mina, who sits so daintily and I'm glad that I use it to so many other places - I'd hate to give it up completely.

I wish I'd taken a screen shot of it before I let it go, too - I loved that layout and the adorable banner (thanks again, Bertha).  Eventually I'll have to recreate it in its new home.



Friday, August 21, 2009

!@#$% Visa Update

I've been stewing over this for days now.  From the website of the company that is a supposed liaison of sorts (can I be any more vague) for the consulate:

"03 August 2009: Possible delays to visa processing in the US.
Due to a major IT upgrade at the UK Border Agency at the British
Consulate-General, Chicago, visa applications processed between Friday
21 August and Friday 28 August 2009 will be subject to delays. The visa
application centres will remain open and will continue to accept
applications in the usual way but we will not be able to issue visas
during much of this period. Applicants who are planning to travel to
the UK in August are strongly recommended to apply well in advance of
the above disruption to normal service."

They received my application on June 24th and I've yet to hear a thing.  I think alerting people of a week long hold up three weeks beforehand isn't going to do a damned bit of good.  If you were planning to travel to the UK in August you probably should have applied in December.  And that's not entirely a joke.  

Fridays are hard enough as it is - knowing that there's no chance of an email for two days - but today was the worst because it sounds like my chances of hearing anything next week are slim to none. 

That said, I cried a lot today.  

I'm trying to detour the sadness with a little knitting, though, and started the Summer Lace Shawlette yesterday.  Well, really I started it two days ago but I lost a stitch somewhere around row twenty-five and was in such a sad/bad mood that I just ripped it out completely and started all over.  I lost a stitch tonight but managed to keep myself in check - despite the fact that it managed to produce a few extra tears - and I just ripped back enough to correct the mistake.  I finished the Gaia Shawl this week, too, and hope to take photos tomorrow. 

Time to crawl into bed - something I've wanted to do since about 6:30 this evening but managed to put off until I was, you know, actually tired. 

Oh, I couldn't figure out why in the world I wasn't getting email alerts regarding the comments...I'd forgotten that I'd had to set up a new Gmail address since my other was already affiliated with the Dainty Kitty Typepad blog and I'd yet to set it to forward to my regular email address.  This means I also missed a reply to my comment regarding feedback on the "new Typepad."  It's much easier to navigate but I didn't like that in your comments left on other Typepad blogs the link that would normally take someone back to your blog actually linked to your Typepad profile instead.  The reply gave me a very easy fix. There are lots of reasons why I love Typepad and their customer service is certainly one of them.  It's nice to know that they're actually reading and responding to the feedback they requested.



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greetings From the Gutter

While visiting Matt in May we stopped at the Spread Eagle pub...

The Spread Eagle Sign

...for a cider and...

Nobby's Nuts 

We had Nobby's Nuts at the Spread Eagle!  My inner pre-teen had to snicker and take photos. 

Ironically, the only other pub I've been to is called The Bush.  This was the view from our table...

The Bush Again 

I'm not the only one who's looked at that photo and thought it said, "No Fucking" rather than "No Smoking."

Sorry, it's been a rough couple of days - I needed a giggle.  And, ahem, I haven't seen my husband in a month and a half.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Where I Would Like to Be

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IMG_1003 

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IMG_0996 

Stourhead, May 2009

Posted because I missed my husband more this weekend than usual.  I need to go home. 



Thoughts About Thread & A Lot of Links

While at Barnes and Noble the other day picking up Cooks Illustrated and Crochet Today (because it has the cutest acorn box pattern ever), I sat down in the craft section (cleverly placed right by the craft magazines) and leafed through a book that caught my eye, Patchwork Style.  It's been out for a few months and I've read several reviews of it but it wasn't until I actually put my hands on it that I realized I kind of wanted to own it.  I kind of want to sew again and it's been a long time.  The last sewing projects I worked on were simple things like aprons and purses, made without putting the amount of care into them as I probably would now.  A lot of projects in Patchwork Style are still simple as well but that very simplicity is so appealing. 

A day or so later I was trying to catch up on a few blogs on my Google Reader and found that - after checking for posts from my friends - I was scrolling quickly to the bottom where a few blogs I've only recently started to read were listed.  A lot of them are about sewing. Misako Mimoko, House on Hill Road, Junker Jane, Made By Petchy and mairuru - I think I have a blog crush on her.  Look at these book covers and these little drawstring bags - all stitched by hand!  I've read Posie Get Cozy for a long time and recently added a "love" tag to this post about her "sewing story."  This makes me want to quilt.  I bought a stash of quilting supplies and books several years ago but never really did anything with it.  And I have squares for a crazy quilt that some long gone relative (a great great aunt?) started that I'm determined to finish some day.  

If I ever get to Salisbury*, I'm going to live minutes from a great little fabric shop called Fabric Land (craziest website ever, I think).  I think, when my things arrive (they're due August 30th and I'm a little afraid they might actually beat me there), I'm going to have to do a little fabric browsing (although I really should use what I have - when I consolidated for the move, my fabric stash filled two plastic bins but new fabric in a new country is so much more exciting), get out my machine and do a little sewing at my little blue desk (I don't actually have a blue desk but it's something else I have the urge to own).

And I also might have to stop by the bookstore for Patchwork Style - my suitcases are already overflowing but I'll bet I could at least squeeze it in my carry on....

*Small visa update - Friday Matt called the consulate in Chicago where my visa is being processed.  He couldn't get a hold of a real person but the recording did say that they're having "technical difficulties" and visas have been delayed.  Sigh.  It's kind of good news to know that it hasn't been seven weeks just because they can't decide if they should allow me in the country or not but...it's still not great news. 



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Emily Is...

 ...knitting...

CIMG2196

The Gaia Shoulder Hug was supposed to be my airplane knitting.  You know, back when I thought I was leaving on July 12th.  Chris was making one on what was also supposed to be my last Sunday knit night (oh how naive I was!) and I thought it would be perfect.  Now I have less than one hundred rows before I'm actually finished with it.  Sigh.  

It's a bit more colorful than I'd expected - the insides of a skein of Noro (this is the sock yarn - #182, I think, on size 5 needles) can hold oh so many secrets - and a little monotonous but I still like it and think it'll look great this fall with my denim or black corduroy jacket.  

I'm also knitting up a pair of Susie's Reading Mitts with a couple balls of Poems in shades of grey.  Cute, comfy and very quick to knit.  No photo, though, as I'm doing some repair (*cough* I had it all finished but the thumb which I wasn't happy with the looks of to begin with - ended up frogging the whole thing due to some pretty serious stupidity on my part *cough*).

For my birthday I did a little splurge yarn shopping at Fiberworks in Beavercreek and, besides the above mentioned Poems and a skein of Misti Baby Alapaca (to make a Stella), I brought home a lovely hank of Fino in Black Pearl with the intentions of making another wrap.  I've cast on at least three patterns but haven't found one I'm happy with just yet.  

...loving...

Having the house to myself tonight.  Mom, Dad and Buddy are at a picnic.  My current anti-social "weekends suck because I can't get an email from the embassy" attitude made me decide to stay home. 

My husband.  Here's where I brag a little bit.  This is what I saw when the camera came up on my birthday morning.

DSCN1290The sweet picnic hamper was wrapped in shiny purple paper and, of course, the "giant so you can see it on the camera" card was still in its envelope.  :)  I had a stash of gifts and cards from him and his family that I opened and later we had a little tea party with cake and candles which he blew out there as I blew them out here.  I don't think anyone could have thrown me a better party for two from four thousand miles away.    

...reading...

Lolita by Nabokov.  Besides the fact that it's a classic and has been made in to a movie at least twice, I had read good things about it recently and was contemplating giving it a try.  When V recommended it, I picked up a copy at Half Price Books and got halfway through before I had to put it down for a lengthy break.  It's not just the subject matter - frightfully disturbing without being a bit graphic - that made me stop but the also the filling way he writes.  Mostly, though, it was the subject matter.  I'll get back to it eventually, though.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy.  On Monday I had said to Matt that I needed a good book to read.  A physical book.  I was listening to The Strain (the first in a vampire like no other vampire you've ever experienced series written by Guillermo Del Toro [of Pan's Labyrinth] and Chuck Hogan) but listening to it late at night put me to sleep and gave me nightmares (twice).  The next morning there was a coupon in my inbox from Barnes and Noble for the just released South of Broad, Pat Conroy's first work of fiction in fourteen years.  I love Pat Conroy.  I love the places he writes about and, oddly, I can't get enough of the filling way he writes.

I was only a couple of chapters into it, though, when I found out that Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n, author of the fantastic The Shadow of the Wind, had a new book out called The Angel's Game and my library had a copy in the Express section.  So I'm trying to gobble that up in the seven days I'm allowed to have it before they start charging crazy one dollar per day overdue fines.  It's not as good as Shadow but it's still captivating and while I can't wait to finish it, I also hate to think about not having it to read.  I felt that way even more so about Shadow and was glad to see that this takes place in the same area with some of the same characters.  

Okay, after feeling like I have had absolutely nothing to say for days, I suddenly can't get my fingers to stop typing.  I think, though, this is quite enough for one post!



Thursday, August 6, 2009

Things I Miss

Spider Web

Obviously I've been missing quite a bit these days.  You know, like my husband.  This morning, though, I realized how much I miss my Canon Rebel camera.  Since I wouldn't really have room to put it in my carry on and didn't want to pack it, I had Matt take it when he went home at the end of June.  Of course, I was hoping that I would be reunited with my husband and my camera just two weeks later but, well...it didn't really work out that way. 

While walking Buddy this morning I noticed this beautiful dew dotted spider web.  I managed to maneuver him away from it and into the backyard where I hooked him to his ground stake before running into the house for a camera.  Now  I'm not knocking my little digital Casio - it fits in my pocket perfectly and is always there in a pinch but I know the Canon would have really done this photo justice.  Due to the sun and not getting to hold the camera right up to my eye, I wasn't entirely sure I was even getting the web let alone getting a good photo...so I took a bunch and this one turned out decent at least. 

I can't wait to take walks and lots of pictures again.  With my husband by my side.