Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

YAMD (Yet Another Memory Dump)

Filed under: Daily Life,Folkcat's Fotos,Holidays,Rats! — folkcat at 9:49 pm on Friday, April 3, 2009

My phone has been busy again!

March 16, 2009: How Holidays are Made

It’s mid-March. You are a supermarket baker. You have a bunch of plain, undecorated gingerbread men, and an excess of green icing. What should you do?

If only there were some holiday in mid-March. With green for a theme color. Where little people were appropriately symbolic of the day.

I know! It’s Gator Man Day!


March 18, 2009: We Have Achieved Acceptance

Laura and Isabella prove that ‘Bella has achieved full acceptance into the family.

March 24, 2009: Let’s Brand Whoever Branded This

Seriously, Betty? What’s up next – Eskimo Helper?

March 25, 2009: It’s PaGino’s Time

The seam down the side of their cups creates some amusing portmanteaus:

Baby-Sitting Tinty Time
Birthday Timnner Time
Night Tids Time
Game TiBirthday Time
Movie Timight Time
Friends me
Tired Timme

and my personal favorite:

Ganward Time

March 31, 2009: And Some May Be Anyhow, Depending on What They’re Here For

Our little Captain Marbles is doing well. In the first two weeks we’ve had him, he just about doubled his body weight. Now he looks more like a normally proportioned rattie, instead of a big rat head on a teensy body.

This past Tuesday morning, he went in for THE PROCEDURE. Yes, that one. The vet’s office was one I’d never visited before, but they work with the rat rescue. While distant (an hour’s drive), they were easy enough to get to.

If you are in the neighborhood for other reasons, however, please be careful where you park!

As for the Captain, he’s recovering nicely. If anything, he’s actually been friskier since the surgery than he ever was before. Which is saying something for our hyper-active little superhero.

April 3, 2009: Useful Supermarket Photo

It’s hard for Gryphon and me to keep milk around. We don’t drink the stuff, we don’t have cold cereal in the mornings to pour it over, and while we will cook with it, the occasions are few enough and far enough between that we always wind up throwing out all or part of a bottle.

We’ve been wanting to keep dry milk in the house, but we’ve discovered a problem with that. Nowadays, the dry milk manufacturers only package the powder in bulk in the giant, makes-20-quarts packages. Not an amount we’re likely to use before it goes bad! Any smaller quantities are pre-packaged into handy, 1-quart, pre-measured packets.

Gryphon and I are likely to only ever need to mix one, maybe two cups at a time. The rest of the quart, if we used their assumptions and made the whole thing, would go bad in the fridge. Or we’d have to measure out the smaller amount, find a way to close up the top of the paper/foil packet, and hope to avoid bugs or spillage.

We finally decided today to buy one of the smaller boxes filled with the 1-quart packets. We’re going to open all the packets, dump the contents into a jar, and spoon it out as we need it.

The only hitch in this plan is the the smaller box doesn’t include directions for mixing any quantity of milk other than the full quart. But…aha! The giant 20-quart box with the bulk powder inside has a chart for making several different volumes, from one cup to the entire 20 quarts at once.

Whip out the handy-dandy cell phone, aim it at the back of the box, and voila! I now have my own directions chart to make any amount of dry milk we want. Here, feel free to take a copy for yourself!

Camera Phone Picture Dump

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Folkcat's Fotos,Shopping Adventures — folkcat at 9:37 pm on Monday, March 9, 2009

Wow, some of these go back a bit.

December 8th, 2008 – Target store at the north end of Nashua

Click for larger image

We found these fused plastic recycled totes for sale for $5.99 each. I was amused and slightly annoyed. Fusing shopping bag plastic together to make a sturdier plastic to make totes, and even clothing, with has been a big deal in the indie craft movement since at least Spring 2008. This can be done at home with a simple iron and ironing board, and maybe some teflon pressing sheets.

Target’s tag claiming that “It took a combination of ingenuity and technology to create the Retote bag.” gives no credit to the source of that ingenuity – the independent crafters out there who are always finding new ways to use items that would otherwise be discarded. As for the technology required – like I said, an iron, ironing board, and teflon pressing sheets. Not exactly high tech. And certainly not invented by anyone at Target.

December 24, our living room ceiling:

A few years back, we had a nasty leak in our living room ceiling during the winter. The roof was bad, and there was a weak seam along a wall where the apartment above us is a couple feet shorter than our living room. Ice formed and backed up into the roof space there, and came in over the spot where my desktop computer was sitting at the time. (Fortunately, over to one side. Only a box of tissues and two thick books about HTML coding were soaked.)

The roof got fixed at some point, but massive amounts of ice and snow still accumulate in the area. I get paranoid about it every year, and every so often I’ll take a picture of the ceiling stain so I have a reference point in case I suspect it’s growing again.

February 19, Nashua Social Security Office:

My first time ever Kinnearing someone. I don’t know that I did it right, though – the picture is straight, in focus, and you can see my entire subject.

While Gryphon and I waited for our SS appointment, this delightful older woman came in. The colorful details on her coat are entirely handpainted.

I believe it’s a safety measure – the coat is full length and black, and the handpainting is all in metallic paints, which would provide some reflection for headlights at night. Brilliantly and stylishly done, and it gave me a nice smile.

March 8, My head:

View One

View Two

Yes, we cut that much off. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long, long time.

I grew up with long hair. I remember that my mother never cut it until I was in grade school some time, and then she did it before my father got home from work because I think he would have protested.

Most of my adult life, I’ve kept my hair somewhere between chin and shoulder length. For years now, I’ve cut it myself, with whatever scissors I had at hand, and working entirely by touch. No one I’ve talked to about it ever thought I did it myself, or at least they were too kind to say so.

Lately, though, I’ve been annoyed by even the chin length hair. It can still flop forward and get in my face and eyes, still get caught in my mouth. Still bunch up oddly under my head and irritate me at night.

Sometime around a year ago, Gryphon had found a professional grade electric clipper at a rummage sale for $1, complete with manual and everything. He bought a little of the oil used to maintain it, and ever since has been cutting his own hair. When I decided I was ready to go short, I asked him if he’d be comfortable tackling my hair.

He said yes. And so, a couple of days later when the stars aligned and we both felt up to it, I sat down in a kitchen chair with a towel around my shoulders, and he started cutting.

On that first attempt, we didn’t go short enough. My hair has a natural wave to it, but an asymetrical one. As a result, the hair on the right side of my head did a nice little wavy dance towards the back of my head. But the hair on the left side of my head stretched out into the atmosphere, like a cantilevered balcony. I seriously considered adding some hair product for strength and building a little woodland diorama up there.

So the next night, we sat me down again, and removed more length. And the cut you see in these photos is where we wound up. There’s still enough length that my waves look kind of cute and flirty, but I don’t have any architectural structures flying off the sides of my skull.

For the first time in my entire life, I can wake up in the morning, run my fingers over my head, and I’m done. In the shower, “a little dab’ll do ya” is finally true for me. The first hair washing after the cut, and my hair dried faster than it ever has.

Best of all, it’s a look that works for me, is versatile, and we can do it ourselves at home, without having to spend money on it.

Nothing new to report on the ratties. They continue to eat and play and squabble. Isabella is definitely just one of the crowd, no two ways about that. We love them all so much!


Filed under: Announcements,Crafting Miscellany,Folkcat's Fotos,Holidays,Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 1:56 pm on Thursday, August 30, 2007

…aka, Wayback Wednesday comes on Thursday this week.

I’ve got no crafting to show you, because I didn’t do any yesterday. A few of the fingers on my right hand are objecting to the amount of small work I’ve been doing.

I can’t entirely blame them. My crafting has been alternating between hand stitching 1/2″ hexagons together using a tiny little quilting sharp for a needle, and knitting socks on US size 0 double point needles.

So yesterday I gave my hands a rest. Not my body, though – I wound up doing the major portion of our grocery shopping for the week, involving 2 1/2 hours spent at an Asian grocery and two supermarkets. My legs ached last night, too, but we won’t have to pick up anything but odds and ends the rest of the week. Plus, I found a few interesting items to review at Shopping Jen in the next few weeks.

I started thinking about my Christmas knitting, too. I think I’ll avoid doing a project as ambitious as the Monk’s Travel Satchel that I knit for my brother last year. I haven’t finalized exactly who’s getting what yet, but I think I have a general idea of some things I can start knitting now, then assign to recipients later. The knitting involved is larger scale than the socks, too, so it’ll give my hands a good rest.

In the meantime, so far we’ve got a post without a picture. So I dug back in the photo archives to September of 2005 to come up with this photo of a spider that had built its web over the side surface of Gryphon’s gas grill.

Spider on BBQ Grill

I know many people are frightened or disgusted by spiders, but I find them amazing. Especially these orb weaver types, with the patterns they spin into their webs to draw in their victims. Spiders, and their webs, are among my favorite things in nature.

Coming Friday:

Today is Thursday, and that means Knitting Around at Panera tonight. So I’m likely to have some knitting to show you.

Also, tomorrow I’m going to debut Folkcat’s Freebie Fridays – a weekly giveaway of some cool prize or prizes. It could be something I made, or a collection of craft materials, or cool books. This week, I haven’t made the final choice yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a hand beaded bracelet, made by yours truly. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for your chance to win!

Hard At Work…

Filed under: Blog Admin,Folkcat's Fotos — folkcat at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, August 28, 2007

…but little I can show you yet. I’ve been busy working on the new review blog, Shopping Jen. It takes a long time sifting through blog templates! There are hundreds to choose from, but not all have good “bones” – meaning I like the layout and functionality and can easily change the graphics and colors to suit me.

Then, once you’ve got some candidates, you have to figure out banner graphics. I seem to have settled on this:

Shopping Jen Banner

That’s cropped from a photo I took in a shopping mall in the Syracuse area. You can’t really see the stores, but it evokes the ambience of a mall, the ultimate mecca of shopping. And it doesn’t hurt that the colors in the photo are really pleasant, and will make a good color scheme for the blog.

So, yes, I’ve been hard at work, but enough of it’s been for the new blog that I really don’t have noteworthy crafting progress to share. Tonight is craft circle, though, so keep your fingers crossed! I might just make it to the heel of my current sock!

Wayback Otter

Filed under: Folkcat's Fotos,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 12:59 pm on Friday, June 8, 2007

Wayback Wednesday comes on Friday this week…

One of Gryphon’s and my favorite things to do when we visit family in Syracuse is to take a trip over to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. This great little zoo is right within the city, easy to get to, and easy to spend an entire day at looking at the animals, whether you have kids or not.

One such visit took place back in September 2000. Exhibits at the zoo are always changing, and at the time, they had a great enclosure with River Otters, including a swimming pool with a glass wall so visitors could watch the otters underwater. I was lucky enough to catch this photo that day, and it remains one of my favorites ever taken at the zoo.

Bubbly Otter
Bubbly River Otter Underwater


Yes, I did knit last night. But I have to believe that endless photos showing two more inches of sock are severely lacking in interest. So you probably won’t see Socks for Folkcat, Pair Two (SF/P2) until they’re finished!

Meanwhile, I hope you have a great weekend. Ta-ta!

A Wayback Search for Floral Sunshine

Filed under: Folkcat's Fotos,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 4:19 pm on Friday, April 27, 2007

Another gray, cold, rainy day here. Usually, New Hampshire at this point in the spring is filled with blossoming shrubbery, trees, and flowers. This year, the warm sunny days have been so outnumbered that I haven’t seen much for floral relief yet.

I took a dip in the Wayback Machine, and found this picture I took on April 27, 2000 – exactly seven years ago today. Oh, what a difference!

Daffodils, 4/27/2000

The apartment we lived in at the time was of the in-law variety, attached to a 300-year-old farmhouse in the middle of fields and surrounded by woods. The landlord’s wife planted many, many daffodils along one of the original stone walls.

I hope that we eventually see some blooms this year. In the meantime, I’m glad to have this photo to remember past springs by. In fact, I think I’ll make it my desktop for a while.

You all keep warm and sunny thoughts in your hearts and minds this weekend, okay? I’ll try to do the same!

An Icy Trip in the Wayback Machine

Filed under: Daily Life,Folkcat's Fotos,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 5:17 pm on Friday, January 19, 2007

Wayback Wednesday Comes on Friday This Week

You all know what it means when I pull out the Wayback Machine, right? Yup – I’ve got no measurable crafting progress to report, nor anything else interesting to say.

Today, in honor of this week’s icy New England mess, I’m pulling out a photo from January 11, 2005 – just over two years ago. I walked out of the apartment one day, looked up, and found this odd ice formation hanging off the gutter drain from the roof.

Curvy Ice Formation

Apparently, the gutter had clogged, then melting snow poured water down the outside of the drain pipe and froze. Add a bright morning sun on a cold day, which softened the ice enough to sag, but not really melt, causing it to droop into this interesting curlicue.

The bad news was, it was a symptom showing that the problems we’d had with the roof leaking along that area had not yet been fixed. We took a set of photos into the landlord, and they got on it. We were all dry soon, and remain so now (touch wood).

The weather has been amazingly wonky all over the world. I’m not even going to begin to talk about the climate change issues, we’d be here all weekend. To make matters worse, someone on a blog I read (sorry, I can’t remember where) posted a scan of a Newsweek article from 1975 that offered a severe warning about Global Cooling – with lots of data to back it up. So I have to wonder, do we even have a clue what’s really happening – especially on the long term? (No need to answer that – it’s just my rhetorical musings.)

E.T.A. – Ah, found it! It was Maize Hutton over at Maize’s Diary, in her post yesterday.

Whatever the weather has been lately in your part of reality, I hope that you are currently dry, comfortable, and living with your preferred level of functioning technology (and the power to run it)!

Happy Knitting, and have a great weekend!

It’s Almost Here!

Filed under: Folkcat's Fotos,Holidays — folkcat at 1:02 pm on Friday, December 22, 2006

A few more glimpses from our Christmas Tree:

Spider and Web Ornaments
Beaded Spider and Web

Wire Wrapped Quartz Crystal
Wire Wrapped Quartz Crystal

Needlepoint Angel Tree Topper
Needlepoint Angel Tree Topper

The last two are items I made; the spider and web were a gift from my friend Bea.

Looking Ahead

Gryphon and I leave tomorrow for Syracuse. I’ll have my laptop with me, but my parents don’t have computers or any online connection. So I’ll be dependent on WiFi cafes, or incidental hot spots. (Last year we found we could piggyback on the WiFi at the middle school around the block from my parents – if we were on the third floor of their house! It let us post, and read e-mail and blogs. We just had to go to the local Panera to send e-mail.)

All of which means, posting next week may happen, but only on an irregular schedule at best. I’ll be back by New Year’s Day, though!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Z is for ‘Zzy-‘Zzy

Filed under: ABC - Along,Folkcat's Fotos,Spinning — folkcat at 3:56 pm on Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yup, I said ‘Zzy-‘Zzy. Which is short for DiZzy LiZzy. As in, my Lendrum wheel that just came home for the first time last weekend!

I’m still new at spinning on a wheel, and it’s taking practice to learn to draft so continuously, while coordinating your motions with a proper treadling speed. But it’s coming along.

I decided to take some glamour shots of ‘Zzy-‘Zzy to share with you, and I wrote a little musical tribute to go along with them. It’s to the tune of Sharp Dressed Man by, of course, ZZ Top

Spinning Wheel

'Zzy-'Zzy Treads

Two treads, big wheel
And I don’t know just how it’s gonna feel.

'Zzy-'Zzy Wheel

Soft wool, fast fly
I don’t need a reason why.
I’ll be spinnin’ fast, it makes my head reel
Coz every girl crazy ’bout her spinning wheel.

'Zzy-'Zzy Bobbin with Yarn

Romney, merino
Any fiber, I’ll give ’em a go

'Zzy-'Zzy Orifice

And cotswold, tussah silk
I’m spinnin’ fibers just as smooth as milk.
I’ll be spinnin’ fast, it makes my head reel
Coz every girl crazy ’bout her spinning wheel.

'Zzy-'Zzy Flyer

Laceweight, worsted chunk
Thick or thin, no spinnin’ funk!

'Zzy-'Zzy Footman

Ply it, skein it up
Soft and warm, I’ll knit it up
I’ll be spinnin’ fast, it makes my head reel
Coz every girl crazy ’bout her spinning wheel!


Y is for Yankee Webcam

Filed under: ABC - Along,Folkcat's Fotos — folkcat at 1:30 pm on Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A little west of Wilton, along Route 101, is the town of Dublin. I don’t know what else Dublin may ever have been known for, but I know it best as the home of Yankee Magazine.

Another reason I know the place is that Yankee Magazine has put up the YankeeCam, a live webcam showing what’s going on in their parking lot. (If you go to that link, you’ll find the most current image, as well as a guide to the different structures visible in the picture.)

Normally, there’s not a lot going on there. But for those interested in Geocaching, (a live treasure hunt of sorts, using GPS signals to find things), one variant of the game involves locating webcams, getting your picture taken by them, and then posting that as proof that you found the cam.

Sometimes, this involves having a friend at home with the computer that you can call while you’re standing in front of the camera. With the YankeeCam, though, if you can be there right at the top of the hour, the photo is saved at the YankeeCam website for the next 24 hours.

So one day, my friend Vicki and I were bumping around Peterborough (a little east of Dublin), and I had an idea we could pop over and get the picture.

So we did.

yankee webcam.jpg

That’s me on the left in the purple shirt. As you can see, it was a nice, sunny day, May 5, 2005. Our next destination was back home, where I captured the photo for posterity.

The YankeeCam is one of the more reliable ones I’ve seen on the web. Go ahead and check it out. It’d be a great way for you folks in warmer climates to get a taste of white Christmas – assuming we get one ourselves!

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