Problems and Quests

Long ago (mid-late 90s) I gave a dinner party for all six of my friends.  One was vegan, and as I was setting out appetizers or something like that I mentioned that I’d checked a lot of labels to find crackers that were vegan.  She laughed and was appreciative, but surprised and a bit apologetic that I’d gone to the trouble.  Another friend of mine said, “Robin is a problem-solver. Of course she’d look for food that would work for you.”  I had never thought of it like that, but it’s true.

This story came to mind when I was looking through a box of yarns that are mostly 10-15 years old and wondering why I had so many of a similar color, which, while nice, isn’t really a favorite color.  And I remembered that I have a nice jacket that my mom made that I really like, and when I started knitting in 1998 or so I wanted to make myself a hat (beret) that matched it.  (I had already made coordinating beaded earrings that match it really well, that being my primary craft prior to taking up knitting.)  She’d made the jacket from, among other things, some Italian yarn she’d knitted into a fabric and then cut, and coordinating colors of woven wool fabric.  The yarn was black and grey mohair with dark magenta accents, and the jacket has a dramatic V of magenta fabric edged with the knit and then the charcoal grey forms the body of the jacket.

I had a bit of the yarn left over at one point in my life, which may not have ever overlapped with my knitting life. (I still hope to find it again someday, but it’s been 20 years.) Greys were not difficult to find. But I have SO MUCH magenta yarn that’s almost but not quite right.  I think I last purchased some around 2012.  No, the hat has never been made, and I haven’t worn the jacket in a while (though of course I still have it.)

This is less problem-solving and more of a quest.  And even when I’ve decided that I probably won’t make the hat it’s still sometimes hard to not get yarn that might work just in case.  It’s not the project that I kept buying yarn/fiber for even after mentally conceding that I won’t do it any time soon. (Another one was to make a cabled hat to match this shirt I bought my husband back in 2001, so he could wear his favorite shirt and the hat and match his Mii. Would he actually do this? No.  Yet, I have actually hand-blended fiber on my drum carder to spin yarn to match the shirt, which is cross-woven red and blue so it’s pretty much impossible to match.)  The quest never ends.

It was when I got to this point in my thinking about the yarn that I realized: I’m a NPC in my own life.  The story around me changes and I still have a (side)quest that will never end, walking in place in my house.

(That ending really calls for a wry screenshot from a game, but I don’t have one.  So here’s a cat photo.  Feel free to count them.)

cats in sun 2018-06-05 17.43.26.jpg

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It’s the Little Things

It’s been someting like six months since I’ve posted an entry.  I’ve taken photos, I’ve had random thoughts, whatever else would go into an insignificant personal blog without a particular theme.  What’s the holdup?  Nothing really big, just…annoying.

First, in I think November 2016 (maybe even 2015?), Windows updated its Photos program and totally dumbed it down by replacing its color/temp/cast/whatever controls with a limited number of dumb useless filters.  I discovered this when I was about to edit a whole bunch of yarn photos, for which I actually rather care about their exact colors, and was so frustrated I was about in tears.  Why…why would you SUBTRACT features that worked and replace them with far less applicable ones?  I was far from the only person to complain about this, but that didn’t fix it.

I did find another photo-editing program that basically served my needs without being too oversized, but as far as I know it doesn’t have the simple capability of browsing my photos from the folder they’re in and seamlessly doing some minor editing on them and saving the duplicate.  Which is really all I want.  If I needed to do serious editing, I have Photoshop on another machine, but I don’t want to do that.

This problem is less of a problem now because I also changed phones and the new one has a better camera, so I have less adjusting to do (and I can do some of that on the phone).  But my phone should not be more suitable as an editor than my laptop, darn it.

The second molehill I kept tripping on is that my main laptop was getting harder and harder to use, not because of software or hardware issues, but because the touchpad was becoming impossible to click.  That laptop has a touchscreen, which I have always disliked because I really don’t need to make things happen every time I brush away the ibiquitous cat hair, but for the first time I actually had a use for it as a substitute touchpad, sort of.  The scrolling functions still worked just fine, but I couldn’t click anything without extreme pressure.  I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts, but not for cropping photos.  And of course the photos that I’ve been saving for posts are all on that machine.  Occasionally I’d try copying a few to my other laptop for posting, but then I never got around to it.

A week or two ago I finally complained enough about it that spouse looked into it and found that this wasn’t an uncommon problem with that laptop due to battery swelling.  Which is what had happened.  The touchpad was literally being forced out of the keyboard surface.  So he ordered another battery and put it in and also replaced the hard drive and now all I have to do is reinstall the software and I have my functionality on it again, with its larger screen and fixed hinge (as opposed to the flexible hinge of the Surface I’m typing on, which is not so useful when one actually uses laptops on one’s lap).

Have I done that yet? Of course not.

However, that’s no reason not to put up a post with more recent photos.  Of course, none of these things were sufficient reason not to post anyway; the underlying problem is that I have, as spouse has put it repeatedly, the attention span of a goldfish.  But I should at least be able to manage a post per month.

Crud, it’s no longer January.  Oh well.  Still a good time to post a Find the Cat, right?

Quot hiding 2018-01-20 02.49.28.jpg

That one may have been a little obvious.  How about this one?

Hiding cat 2018-01-05 21.48.00.jpg

Better? No? Well, I’m out of practice.

Count the Cats – Expanded Edition

count-the-cats-treats-2016-11-17-07-50-00

I hope you already did your counting, because I can’t help but spoil it with my delight at achieving this: I got ALL the cats in one photo!  Lifetime achievement unlocked!

(My joy was somewhat inhibited by the horrid “update” to Photos that happened in the last couple of days, removing most of the useful features and replacing them with crummy filters, but I’m still happy about it.)

As you might imagine, treats were involved.

Two Calicos

First, the answer to the previous Count the Cats is six.  The tricky one is here:

count the cats from spouse (2)

Quot was hiding in the shadows back there.  (I kept Five-Spice in the crop to match the post title better.)

Here’s another cute picture of Five-Spice that reminds me a lot of one we have of CMY as an adolescent climbing in that same shelf.

Five-Spice in shelf 2016-07-19 13.43.44

A few weeks ago at the vet I saw (and got to hold) this adorable dilute calico kitten waiting for her very first checkup.

calico kitten 3 2016-07-16 14.53.36calico kitten 2 2016-07-16 14.52.50calico kitten 1 2016-07-16 14.52.43

Naturally I had to go look for photos of Five-Spice at a similar age.  This is probably the first one I took of her, before we trapped the kittykins:

Meringue and Five-Spice outside Oct 15, 11 36 30 PM

Five-Spice doesn’t look much different, other than size.  But look at little baby Vanilla:

Meringue, Five-Spice and Vanilla kittens outside Oct 15, 11 37 26 PMMeringue nursing Five Spice and Vanilla Oct 15, 11 37 43 PM

See, she really was vanilla-colored.  (We just called her White Kitten at the time, and her family was White Cat, Calico Kitten, Orange Kitten, and Gray Kitten.)

 

Count the Cats Again

First, here are the followups to the previous Count the Kittykins post, rather late.  As I stood up from taking the photo in the previous post, two heads popped up, and there they are. 🙂  Again, sorry for the lousy lighting — but they’re still beautiful.

I’ve had various things planned to post but it’s been too hot to have a laptop on my lap.  I think this is the first time we’ve hit triple digits at this house since we moved here in 2012.

Anyway, here’s a Count the Cats pic that spouse sent me recently:

count the cats from spouse

Good luck.

In other news, I made batch #4 of maple fudge recently (fortunately the hot days still mean cool-ish nights).  I think I got the texture right this time.  I skipped the corn syrup, but cooled the bowl of fudge on a bowl of ice before stirring, which I’d also read as advice to keep the texture consistent.  I also, um, added about three tablespoons of butter at that time.  When you already have a cup of cream in a recipe, what’s a little more dairy fat?  Result was delicious.  (Batch #3 was much like batch #2 in that it was fairly crumbly, but it also was maybe a little light on taste because I either put unsalted butter in or skipped the butter, I forget which.  I ground a little salt onto the fudge while it cooled but it wasn’t enough.)