Monday, December 21, 2009

Never a dull moment

Snow Day!!
I didn't really think we'd get one. Surely not - we had all day on Sunday to dig ourselves out of the drifts. But this morning, I received a text from Watsuki - "you got your wish!" (I'd been wishing all of last week for a snow day - just one). I couldn't believe it. We consulted KYW - our 24hr "news" station, and sure enough - right on the top of their website, Philadelphia schools are closed. Hallelujah!
I decided to be very productive today. I ran errands this morning, and then spent most of the afternoon putting plastic up on the windows on the first floor: It is amazing the difference. No more drafts when you walk past a window, and when you leave for a bit, and come back the room actually retains its heat. Will wonders never cease.
Now, despite having a snow day, the email went out that we would still have our holiday party. Sounded like a lot of fun, dim sum, making our own, at a local Chinese restaurant. At 3:45, I was done with the windows and I went down to the basement to plug a few holes I knew of down there. Sure enough there was cold air blasting through cracks. the main one I stuffed with left over fiberglass insulation bags, and the other culprit will have to wait until next year for some serious work. I decided to use the spray insulation foam stuff to really plug things up. After working for a while, I realize it's a quarter after and I need to be at this party at 5. I put the empty spray foam bottle down and call Jacques to go upstairs.
As he passes me out the door of the basement, I see that he has brushed against some of the spray foam. While I'm getting tissues to get that sticky stuff off of him, I see him shoot past me down the hall. When I finally catch up with him, he is "aacking" and is foaming seriously at the mouth. He has tried to lick the expanding, sticky foam off of himself.
Time to panic.
Call my vet - tell them they are too far away and what is the number for the UPenn vet emergency.
Call UPenn emergency, and this ding dong who has to over-explain everything, tells me I have to call the Animal Poison control hot line and get a case number before he can help me.
Call the hot line, and the most calm, nerve wracking voice starts giving you options for whom you might want to speak with!!!
Meanwhile Jacques is still foaming, we are upstairs, and he is running around the place - I'm not sure what his goal was.
Finally I get the correct option: (press one to speak with a veterinary specialist), only to get another message in the calm, not-a-care-in-the-world voice: "Because we are a non-profit organization there is a $60 consultation fee payable by any major credit card. Please have your credit card ready." Unreal. But who cares. What I don't want is for the foam to expand on Jacques teeth, jaws, whatever and have his mouth weld shut.
Finally a very nice person came on the line and started taking info. When we figured out what it was that Jacques tried to lick off of himself, she informed me that Dow Chemical (the manufacturer) would be covering the consultation fee! (Thank you Dow Chemical!)
The bottom line is, the stuff is not poisonous. Thank goodness - BUT - he still needs to be watched because the concern is that perhaps he swallowed some and if it lodges itself in his intestinal track and expands it could cause serious trouble. The vet recommended that I give him wet food with Metamucil in it (to help him with his movements). That didn't go over too well. Six hours later he seams fine, but we won't be completely out of the woods until Wednesday.
After the initial panic had subsided, he sat on my lap, let me wipe some of the left over foam off of his mouth and started to purr. And later when I started going to the drug store for the Metamucil, I noticed him trying to like the matted residue off of his fur. His tongue promptly got stuck in it and as he tried to pull it out, it would take a hunk of fur along with it and he'd give a little yelp of pain. So I got the scissors and the electric razor and went to town, butchering all of the offensive stuff out of his fur.
Of course he loved the attention, purred the whole time. But now he looks like a five-year-old whose been given a haircut by a three-year-old.
And I didn't make it to the Christmas Party. Oh well...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not for the faint of heart

Ah, yes, we had the big snow yesterday. And for all of the talk about a "storm", it was the most tranquil storm I've ever been in. The snow just drifted down, dense and thick mind you, but it just drifted gently all day. Everything was quiet and so beautiful. A soft white blanket covered everything.
This morning... well, let's just say I finally found one disadvantage to having a property with a double lot - double the amount of sidewalk to shovel. But it wasn't really that bad. The snow was still very powdery so it was easy to shovel. I still got quite an abdominal work out. My car is buried under piles of snow made worse by the snow plows. For those of you not living in a snowy climate - the snow plows are the garbage trucks with an attachment. They didn't bother to plow my street until early this morning. I decided to brush all the snow off my car before it has a chance to melt and freeze and melt and freeze. That's when it's a real pain in the patuchus to clean.
But what I really wanted to blog about was a cat's amazing capacity to find the warmest spot in the house. Jacques is like a divining rod in that respect. Usually it's my lap, unless I'm busy, in which case it is the new bathroom floor (if I'm on the second floor), or right next to the space heater on the first floor. And I mean, right next to the heater - as close as he can get.
And since he is the divining rod for warmth - he was not interested in braving the snow. Oh sure he went with me to peek out of the 3rd floor windows:

The snow drifts have covered the bottom quarter of the window.
But when I went downstairs and he thought he might be interested in going outside, he was thwarted by a bank of snow at the back door. I think he was quite astounded. He actually just sat down and stared at it. Then he looked up at me as if to ask - what is all this? Since I was not going to stand there all morning with the door ajar while he figured it out, I grabbed him, closed the back door and tried the front door. We didn't get much further.
Yes, he braved the edge of the porch, (see first image) and then went around to the side of the porch, shaking snow off his feet as he stalked along.
He came back around fairly quickly, this really was not his cup of tea and for the first time since he's been able to go outside, he decided he was better off inside. Later when I went out to shovel snow, I gave him the option to go out again. He just crouched in the doorway and looked at me as if to say, "You have got to be kidding!"
Right here is where he'd prefer to be, of course:

Good Night

It snowed all day. there are now huge drifts in my yard, the juniper is heavy with snow, and the table I forgot to put away has a measurable foot sitting on it, and the snow is heaped up against the windows.
I went to UArts around three to print some things. I was printing on the 6th floor and had a beautiful view of the city. I printed until about 10:30 and then headed home. I was going to - should have- taken the subway, but the snow was so pretty and things didn't seem to be so bad, so I thought I'd walk home, 26 blocks. Around block 18 I started having second thoughts about this. At block 19 a bus passed me as I was walking in the middle of Walnut St (because the sidewalk haven't been plowed yet) when bus passed me. I thought briefly that I should try to flag the next bus down and see if the driver would take pity on me. I dismissed the idea as ludicrous, we're talkin' Philadelphia people here. And as I thought that thought, another bus came up behind me, slowed, doors open and the driver shouted "Where you headed?"
"40th" I shouted back.
"Get in here" he yelled, and without a second thought - I hopped in.
There was another poor soul in red Reebok's, he's also taken pity on. She got out at 38th. I was very glad I didn't have to walk the last 7 blocks, that was the uphill bit. I still had to trudge a few blocks up 40th to get home. Passed another bus that was stuck in the snow. He was only a little bit from my house, so I grabbed some of my rock salt and took it back to the driver. He didn't want the stuff at first - but then accepted it.
I unwound with a kitty on my lap.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Good Morning

Good Morning to us!Apparently we will be getting two feet of snow in this storm. So far it's quite beautiful - but I haven't been out yet to shovel the sidewalks. This also means our farm share probably won't be coming in, and I need to trudge to UArts to do some things. But at least it's through absolute beauty. Yippee!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December, Snow, Holidays...and door moldings

Well, we had our big annual Book Paper Scissors event last Saturday. This is a big book arts fair, hosted by the Free Library, and in the past it was a big success. This year however, it was a toss-up... between the weather and the economy - I'm not sure who won. Suffice it to say, I didn't do as well as I have in the last two years. Now granted it was raining pretty steadily most of the morning - and then it turned into snow in the afternoon. It must have snowed for a good five hours. Big beautiful snow flakes, but sadly, none of it stuck. It sure was fun watching the big giant snow flakes falling outside the huge windows of the library. I love the snow.
It put me in the mood for the holidays and I have finally dragged out decorations and am slowly attempting to get them up. And The Inspector was in full swing, making sure I had not forgotten anything in the boxes, and making sure things got put up correctly:
I bought this beautiful little door decoration at Ten Thousand Villages:
It's one of my favorite shops - the best place to buy gifts for everyone/anyone. However - this beautiful door decoration looks terrible without the molding:
The molding has been missing since Jeff put the door in, back in January. I've just been stalling. I don't know why. But now that decorations need to go up - things need to LOOK better than this:
So I got one side finished. Started sawing for the other side and got distracted by wanting to finish putting up Christmas decorations.

Philadelphia has been hosting a Christmas Market a la Christkindle Markt which is basically the German equivalent. It's really sweet - hosted at City Hall with lots of cool stuff to buy. I really hope it picks up. It has a lot of great German cookies and stuff for the holidays along with lots of great crafts and some German Christmas Decoration Vendors, which is nice. So yesterday I splurged and bought a 30ft. pine garland, (it was cheap) and my house smells so good! I wanted to hang it under the arch and book shelves and hang a ton of little glass balls from it. I guess I'll have to finish the outside molding tomorrow night.
While I was waiting for the images for this blog post to load, I knitted a bit more on my newest hat:
I'm pretty excited about it. It's 50% Peruvian wool, and 50% plant fiber from the same region. It's really soft and shiny. I just also hope its warm.
And in other news:
James McBride, author of The Color of Water, came to HSP last week to do research for his newest book... and I got to meet him! He is so nice. What a great guy. I asked our President to bring him up to the conservation lab if he was interested and she did. We got to show off the work we are doing and go to talk with him. After he left I sat down at the computer and got to brag about meeting him to a bunch of people, including my cousin who introduced me to him! She wrote back and said her students were reading his book at that moment! How crazy is that.
WELL, to bring the story to full circle, not only did he take a membership for more research, he sent us two cheese cakes for all our help last week. We had cheesecake sent by James McBride! How cool is that!? I'm sitting here giggling about it. What a great guy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Entry with no pictures. sorry.

I've been really bad about blogging. Sorry. I've been swamped and I've actually been trying to figure out why I'm not blogging.
The truth is - my studio is now mostly functional! And all I want to do is work in there! I can sit at my desk and the book shelves are mostly stocked and working and I can get so much finished. It's just great. I wanted to blog over the holiday, but got carried away with editioning one of my books.
Suffice it to say, I've editioned one book. Worked on setting up the next adventure of the Australian Book Arts show. Cooked like crazy for Thanksgiving (I made Martha Washington's "Lettuce" Tart). And I am happy to report that after an hour and a half on the phone with Jeremy from Apple Support and the last ditch resort of checking to see if my wireless receiver was ON, I am now wireless in my little house. It's really great. First item on the agenda is to listen to This American Life Podcasts in my studio.
This week I am madly preparing all kinds of stuff for the annual Book Paper Scissors, book Arts craft show at the Free Library. So once again I am swamped. sigh. What else is new.
Hope all is well with all of you.