Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cute Kitten!

This is not my kitten. This is not my dog. (This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!)

Never mind.They belong to my daughter and her family, but I just LOVE this photo and had to share. They adopted this little kitten today; it was a rescue. The dog is a female 80 lb. Black Lab named Feebee. My daughter had two year-and-a-half year-old cats, rescued as a bonded pair from a shelter. The female, unfortunately, was never healthy and had had a year and a half of every treatment and test known to kittens. No one could find what was causing her failure to thrive. Last weekend things got terrible, and she couldn’t walk or hold her head up by Monday. My daughter and the vet decided that there was nothing else to be done and she was euthanized. But the other cat was lonely and our four grandchildren were heartbroken; my daughter had intended to get another kitten “someday,” but not today! However, as fate would have it, a stray cat had four kittens under a neighbor’s deck and my daughter has taken this one.

The other cat is AFRAID of this little kitten; the dog LOVES him and keeps dropping her toys in front of the kitten for it to play with. Fortunately, the kitten, now called Mulder, is used to dogs from her time in the original rescuer’s home.

Dis widdle kittee is sooo cuuuute!

Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Kittens have always been cute.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

What's in a Name?

A lot of arguing apparently.

What had been called Derry for centuries, off and on, in 1613 was officially named Londonderry. And since then, off and on, the Irish have argued over the name. 

There are many factions (the word replacing tribes, I think) in Ireland, arguing over all sorts of things, and frankly, for a tourist, it gets confusing: Unionists, Irish Nationalists, Republicans, Catholics, Protestants, Loyalists, Separatists, and so on. 

But back to the signs:  those signs pointing to Londonderry/Derry from the Republic of Ireland might say just Derry, and those in Northern Ireland might well read Londonderry, until vandals arrive with spray paint. It's easy to paint out London, but harder to add London to signs just reading Derry, and we didn't see any of those. 

We stayed in Londonderry/Derry, the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland, in a B and B right across from the wall built in the 17th century. 

This was the view from our room:

This is the gate at the corner of the street we stayed on. Unlike the gates in Belfast, the seven gates through the wall are open all of the time. 

But the open gates don't mean that the disagreements are over. This sign was in the parking lot on the other side of the wall.

From what I could piece together of the various bits of history we learned, I have come to the conclusion that if the Irish weren't fighting off invaders, they were fighting amongst themselves.  

They should stoppit! and enjoy the beautiful, fascinating country they live in. Or, that is, countries. Northern and Republic of. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Socks and more

While we were in Ireland I wore hand knit socks every day---what a treat. We walked and walked and walked and my Fitbit was very happy with me and smiled every day. Usually it frowns. Judgey Fitbit.

We live in the south, so warm socks aren't much of a necessity most of the year. When I came home from the trip, I finished the Soumak, phew, and because that had taken so l.o.n.g to knit, I have concentrated on quick projects, among them, SOCKS! I am making these from what I believe is called a sock flat, yarn that has been machine knit flat, then hand-painted with dyes, and then stamped with designs. The completed sock is a totally unpredictable pattern of colors. One down, one to go.

I can't find the tag that came with the flat, so if you wanted to knit the same sock, you CAN'T!

(sorry)  (Actually, now you can!  It's Gale's Art Sock blanks on Etsy.)

My second current project is a pair of Honeycomb Wrist Warmers (fingerless mitts) and I love the Malabrigo Rios yarn I am using. Soft, soft, soft. 

And, at the SAME TIME, I am making the Lost Banner Hat from the Donegal Wool my daughter brought me from her trip to Ireland last year. It had not told me what it wanted to be, but after spending time in Ireland, seeing all of the knitwear people there wear, I realized the yarn was meant to be a hat. A hat it shall be.

And again, at the SAME TIME, I am making the Pure/Aran out of the softest non-cashmere yarn ever, WOOLFOLK FÅR.  

AND, I am making, at the SAME TIME, The Joker and the Thief. How can I keep all of this straight, you might ask. I must be a genius, you say. Why thank you! I must be then!

And since we were talking about socks and walking, and I was, a while ago, here is some walking.

These are the Cliffs of Moher, and they are spectacular. You can walk for miles and miles along them, and the National Trust has put upright slabs of rocks along the path, about ten feet or so from the edge of the cliffs. However, the brave or the crazy, I'm not sure which, choose to walk on a well-worn path on the cliff side of the rocks. It is really windy up there, and I wonder how often someone gets blown over the edge. It must happen, just based on the odds with so many people walking on the wrong side. 

Not MY thumb.  I'm a better photographer than that!

Odd how the publicity for the place doesn't mention the falling off the cliffs death toll. 

There are warning signs, but clearly, people disregard them.

And more walking---this time to get to the Carrick-a-Rede bridge. This is a better photo of it than mine was.

This is just a part of the long walk in to the bridge:

And THIS is the climb down to the bridge. It was scarier to climb this than it was to walk on the bridge itself.

Carrick-a-Rede is at the very northern part of Northern Ireland, and while we were so far north, we went to a couple of towns, including Belfast. Kind of a strange place, Belfast. It's an industrial city with a huge focus on its past, primarily its wars. 

This street is locally known as RPG street because of all of the rocket-propelled-grenades launched at it by the British, during the Troubles. The Troubles come up a lot.

And this photo is of the wall that separates Protestants from Catholics (? not quite sure how this all works out) at night. During the daytime, the gates are open so that people can go to work, school, run errands, and shop, but voters keep choosing to close the gates at night. Just in case???

This is one of two huge structures that were used during the ship-building era in Belfast. They aren't in use now except as a tourist attraction (? not that exciting, Belfast) since ship building has given way to the construction of wind turbines. Belfast is unaccountably proud of the fact that the Titanic was built there. Every tourist shop, every post card display, has souvenirs stating in some form or another:  Belfast --- Home of the Titanic. 

And now, for something completely different, but potentially not more cheerful than wars and deaths from falling off of cliffs, a sign in a tiny cemetery in a tiny town somewhere in The Republic of Ireland, aka (according to me), Southern Ireland.  

I think it's a DIY cemetery! Based on what I saw of Irish tv, the residents are really fond of reality tv.  Maybe this place will get its own show.  
Probably not.
I hope not.