Still Life, With Cats

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Jennifer

Fruited

Well. NaBloPomo went well, hmm? Or…not. On to Holidailies, then. We’ll see if this goes any better.

Every year I try to make pomegranate jelly. Pomegranates are usually insanely expensive in the stores, which is especially galling considering how well they grow around here, so I usually try to find someone with a tree who wants to get rid of them (it always surprises me how many people have pomegranate trees but don’t like pomegranates). For the last few years, I’ve gotten pomegranates from a friend of my mom’s. She passes along a bag of fruit, and I pass back a few jars of jelly in payment once I’m done processing them. She gets rid of her pomegranates; I get to make jelly, and we’re all happy.

This year Richard and I went out to their house to pick them ourselves, since the trees had gotten a bit huge. We were a bit unprepared for the sheer scope of what we were dealing with. In the past we’ve been given a paper sack or two, with enough pomegranates for just a few batches of jelly. This time, however, we were faced with two huge trees, loaded with pomegranates – some of them of massive size. And they really wanted us to take them all.

This is what we came home with:

That is 107 pomegranates. Do you have any idea how long it takes to shuck 107 pomegranates?

So far I have made 3 batches of pomegranate jelly, 1 batch of pomegranate syrup, and 1 batch of grenadine. I had no idea grenadine was made from pomegranates, but then I am not a drinker, and before this past month I had never actually had a Shirley Temple.

There are still about 1 1/2 dozen pomegranates sitting on my kitchen island, waiting to be shucked, but I am so heartily sick of shucking pomegranates that I admit sometimes I try to pretend I just do not see them. Maybe if I leave them there long enough the magical elves will come along and shuck them for me. Or maybe I’ll just get tired of Rupert and Ingrid flinging the smaller ones onto the floor and finally deal with them myself.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies



Best laid plans

We had grand plans for Halloween costumes this year. Every year October rolls around and the neighbors send out their party invite, and Richard and I stare at each other and every single bit of any creativity we might possess just instantly disappears. And so then we show up in something really lame, like the year we wore pirate hats – his had a pumpkin shape stapled to the front and mine had a lime (don’t worry, no one else got it either – sigh). Or the year we were so desperate we actually broke down and bought something from the store but neglected to consider how something meant for younger, thinner people would work on two shorter, older, dumpier types.

So after years of being unable to come up with anything remotely creative, this year we were all set. We had the fabric and the stuffing to make spider legs. I tracked down a pattern and was furiously crocheting a giant spider web (important note – I am very much a beginning crocheter, so this was not a fast process). We were going to go as a spider and a web. It was going to be awesome.

I finished the spider web the morning of the party.

Only problem – neither of us had actually figured out the logistics of how the heck I was going to wear the thing, while still making it obvious it was a spider web. Yeah, not so much with the forethought, apparently.

I then dragged out my sewing machine to make the spider legs. The sewing machine hasn’t been used in about…oh…five years. It took me a little bit to remember how to thread the thing, and then I pressed the pedal, but…not so much with the sewing. It groaned and whined and did a few half-hearted stitches, and then promptly got itself completely tangled with thread. I ripped it out and rethreaded it. There was possibly some cursing when the entire process repeated itself. Twice. But once I finally got it to stop creating giant thread knots, it still wasn’t doing very much. The poor little thing is over 20 years old at this point and probably in need of a really good cleaning and probably a little bit of maintenance as well, but Saturday afternoon, three hours before the party started, I had no time for either (why yes, I *am* a big procrastinator!). So…no spider legs. Part two of our great costume idea, down the drain.

So…we went as zombies. And it wasn’t that bad. You can accomplish a lot with a package of face paint purchased hastily at the drugstore, half an hour before the party. I know this isn’t the greatest picture, but hey, zombies aren’t very good with technology.

Next year, I have a great idea for a costume. The best part – it requires absolutely no sewing. Or crocheting. Now if only I can remember it when October rolls around again, and we’re staring at the party invite, trying desperately to come up with something remotely creative to wear.

It’s time once again for Nablopomo.



The Squeebles, one year

As of today, Ingrid and Rupert have been with us now for one whole year. And they have definitely made our lives (and our house) more interesting and exciting.


Rupert is the classic Little Boy in personality (think Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes, or perhaps Dennis the Menace, in feline form). He is quite possibly the most active, curious little cat I have ever met, and he has only slowed down minutely since we got him. He is still determined to get into / on top of / underneath / behind anything and everything. He has managed to lock himself into rooms several times, despite the placement of heavy doorstops (we live in hope he will grow out of that eventually). He still remains firmly convinced that some day, Azzie will be his friend (Azzie still would prefer that Rupert go away and leave him alone, but he is slowly wearing down – mainly because Rupert pretty much defines the word ‘persistent’). He is extremely friendly and is sure that everyone who enters the house is there solely to entertain him. He has absolutely no fear (of heights, of the unknown, of being whapped by Checkers), and we are sometimes not really kidding when we joke that he is immune to trauma. He always has something to say and cracks us up on a daily basis, and it’s hard to imagine the house without him (although we often agree that we are very, very glad that we did not also adopt his brother who was as high energy as he is, because the house would not have survived).


Ingrid is a goofy little delight. She is still a bit shyer than her brother, and is more likely to growl when strangers come up the steps to the front door (she growls and runs away. Amusingly, since the strangers always eventually leave, this has convinced her that this ‘scary’ behavior *works*). She has yet to meet a vegetable she doesn’t adore, and we have long since given up trying to keep her away from the produce we bring in from the garden (in fact, this morning, she was helping herself to a fresh tomato, and she has been known to steal lettuce and gnaw on squash). She is all-over-floof, of the softest variety, and is not the slightest bit graceful. She often flops, without warning, to roll onto her back, and her favorite sleeping position is against a wall/bookcase/sofa cushion so that she can sprawl upside down. She purrs at the slightest touch, and has the goofiest little whine, which she employs quite often (usually while flopped on the ground, because we are then supposed to come to *her*, and not the other way around). She still carries Sock around (small stuffed sock toy), although we are a big saddened that it is no longer her favorite (currently the favorite toy is either a cherry tomato or a baby bell pepper – she’s going to be really disappointed when those are no longer in season). She makes us laugh, all the time.

It’s been a wonderful first year with these two little fuzzy goofballs (even though sometimes it’s still a little hard to remember what we had to lose in order for them to join the family). Looking forward to many, many more.



Step one

Hello everyone, and welcome to the new place. Don’t mind the random boxes stacked here and there. I’m still trying to figure out where to put things; working my way through all the old stuff and making decisions on what to keep and what to throw away, so don’t be surprised if you see things shift around a bit over the next few days and weeks.

Or in other words, after nearly 11 years writing at A Cat By Any Other Name, and 6 1/2 years writing at Knit One, Purr Too, I’ve decided it’s time for a little blogging reboot. I’m merging everything back into one shiny new blog. A few hours of poking at WordPress templates (by my extremely patient husband), and a little impromptu photo shoot with a (surprisingly cooperative) cat and a giant mixing bowl and some yarn, and a whole lot of dithering over what the new blog’s name should be (possibly the hardest part of this entire process), and finally, here we are.




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