Curiosity is terminal

Monday, 12 March 2018

No, It's Not Caturday (or: Everyday is Caturday!)

I haven't felt much like writing. I haven't felt like much of anything.

Lucy is cat number 3. But really she is my favourite cat (don't tell the other cats, they all think they are the favourite). Lucy is two now and these are kitten photos.  She is very cute in them, but in reality she was kind of weird looking.  When she first woke up from a nap she looked very like Sid the sloth from the Ice Age movies. (sorry, you have to look that up, I don't feel like looking for permission to post Disney pictures)

I am cute and you are in the kitchen. Why are you not giving me all the good things?

Lucy is always hungry. And she is up to try anything you are eating. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, meat, veggies, fruit, whatever; Give her some! Once she has tried stuff she leaves you alone. Except for ham and Doritos. She always wants more ham or Doritos. And she is smart.  If I don't get up shortly after the coffee pot starts doing its thing in the mornings she will either get up on my dresser and start chucking stuff on the floor or go in the bathroom and knock over the stainless steel wastebasket (why do we have a stainless steel wastebasket?).  

Lucy taught me to play fetch.  When she was a kitten, what she really wanted was to learn to knit. When I was knitting, she wanted, nay, she NEEDED to inspect yarn, needles, tools, knitting bag; NEEDED to be on my lap (she is not usually otherwise a lap cat),  NEEDED  to read the pattern, taste it, sit on it. She was an impediment to a relaxing pastime, frankly.  One of her toys is a plastic  spring coil from a coil bound book. It happened to be nearby one early morning when I was trying to knit and so I tossed it across the room. She launched after it, and damned if she didn't bring it back on the run.  So I threw it about a dozen times. She raced after it and brought it back to me lickety split and looked eager and expectant each time. After a dozen times she walked the spring back to the couch.  And after another half dozen throws she dropped it on the floor out of my reach and curled up on the cushion beside me and went to sleep. It was a bedtime routine for months. Now she brings me the spring in the middle of the night or the early morning, and occasionally when I am feeling blue. 

Meili was 2 when we got Lucy.  We thought Meili and cat number 1 would be companions but cat number 1 wanted nothing to do with Meili and we thought she was lonely. So we got her a kitten.  Poor Lucy. She was fascinated by the big cats, but cat number 1 ignored her completely and Meili followed Lucy around and made threatening noises at her constantly. For two weeks. Then, one evening Lucy was playing in a nylon tunnel toy, amusing herself, and Meili came flying across the basement, tumbled Lucy through the tunnel and they have been friends ever since.  

We think the addition was ultimately successful. This nap will eventually turn into a bath(ing each other) and then it will turn into a wrestling match, back into a bath and then back into a nap.  They are pretty amusing. Which is a good thing. I seem not to be much amused lately, but I am trying.  

Monday, 26 February 2018

Theatre Set and Socks

All I have been doing for making things is building a set and knitting socks.

Here are some construction pictures of the set. I worked on it in between hospital visits.  It was good to have something to occupy my hands and my attention sometimes, but they were wonderful at the theatre about letting me work whatever hours I wanted and taking off at a moment's notice when I needed to.  Beloved worked on the set with me too. He is also a carpenter and I worked some evenings and weekends and he came along and helped. It was not really a one man job, this particular set; the arch at the back is 8 feet high, but the panel on the far left and right are 9 feet wide and 15 and 16 feet high.

Completed walls and the mouldings going on the wall. I never work on the trim. We have a couple of guys who come in after the main construction is done and they do trim and also run a/v and light cables and things.  

The set has a bit of roof.  These are the pieces of it, and also the base coat of paint on some of the walls. 

This is the roof up and the beginning of the crown mouldings as well as the final colour of the walls.  It is also a mess. I made a mess that day.  Some days that is all I do is make a mess, but on this day I also installed a roof and cut weird crown mouldings. Weird because the set is designed with a forced perspective, so the angles are a bit challenging. As I told the designer after it was all done, I like a challenge, although sometimes not while it is happening.


Here all the trim is up and the columns on either side of the arched opening are in place. The painter has also started the wallpaper that covers the roof panels. It is still a mess.

This is the finished, painted and mostly decorated set. The bookcase you see peeking out at stage right of the archway (which is on the left) will be fastened in the centre of the archway. For the first scene there is a piano in front of the bookcase. 

And here it is finished and lit.  It's quite elegant, I think. There is a nice little pot bellied stove to the left of the white chair that I cannot seem to get in one shot.  I might try to get some shots sometime when I have the theatre to myself before the play is over.  It's hard to take a good picture of it; it's very wide and so hard to get the whole thing in one shot. I joke that it is so wide it probably has two official languages.  

I knit socks while I was at the hospital and hospice with my dad.  I can knit socks without a pattern and they are small and portable, so I nearly always have socks to take places with me.  I knit five and a half pairs of socks at his bedside. 

The other two pairs are in the Great Southern Metropolis with The Offspring and her Boyfriend.  

During the run of the play,  I operate the sound and light boards. There are about 90 light cues in a 130 minute play, and about 50 sound cues, so I have some idle moments in the booth. So I knit in the booth too. Again, just socks because I can do them without thinking and frankly, I am not up to anything complicated right now.  Since the play opened on February 16 I have knit two pairs of socks. 

Yes that is two and a half pairs, but you will notice there are two of the patterned socks on the left of this photo and only one of the same sock in the photo above. One of the pairs spanned hospice and the play opening.  

It's a good thing that my life currently consists of pushing a button when my stage manager says, "go," and knitting, because I am not really functioning all that well.  Maybe I will write about that soon.  

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Lawrence Arthur Herman Anderson June 27, 1938 - February 9, 2018

Pop. Papa. Papa-San. Daddy. Dad.

I grew up believing that he could do everything.  In 1976 he started construction on the house he and mom lived in for the rest of his life. He dug the basement, some of it by hand and he did all the framing, and the main plumbing and electrical himself, with professional help only with the parts that needed legal permits. He could fix engines. He knew all about the birds and animals and trees and plants on their land. He  loved science and technology and he liked to invent gadgets and gizmos to make his work easier.  He loved history and storytelling.   He was a carpenter and for the last 15 years of his working life he did residential finishing,  renovated kitchens and installed cabinets for a local manufacturer. He retired at 70 because he was finally ready to.  

I was always allowed in the shop, was always allowed to use the hand tools. I hammered and sawed and tried to use the bit brace when I was little and the smell of sawdust will forever be the smell of home and of my dad.  I don't know if he was proud or pleased when I took up carpentry in 1994 because dad was not a hugely demonstrative guy, but he must have been okay with it, because while I was an apprentice he taught me to do finishing and cabinets.  We worked on hundreds of homes together.  He taught me to be careful. If my corners were not perfect he made me take them apart and do them again. If things didn't line up, he made me take them apart and line them up right. He taught me how to use levers and cleats and clamps with cabinets that were too unwieldy for one person to install. He made it look easy.  He taught me that mistakes were not tragedies unless you didn't learn anything from them.

He was unfailingly kind. He was unflinching about doing the right thing, and he alway just seemed to know the right thing. Family mattered.  

There was no one in the world he loved more than my daughter.  He read to her and walked in the bush with her and showed her birds and animals and taught her to drive the tractor. He had more wooden boxes in his shop than he needed because she liked to build boxes and he liked to do what she liked to do.  When she was a teenager he took her to work with him and had her assemble and help him install cabinets. She is confident with tools today.  When she was four he found my old toy sewing machine or he bought a new one and he showed her how to sew. He put her on his lap and he operated the foot pedal and helped her feed fabric through the needle. She is a professional seamstress today. 

I believed that he could do everything. He believed that I could do anything.  

I will miss him so much. 

Saturday, 3 February 2018


We interrupt your regular Saturday cat post to bring you Wednesday.


Wednesday is The Offspring's boyfriend's dog.  She is a lovely good dog who invariably does that with her ears when she has a camera pointed at her. She is particularly perturbed in this picture because her boy and The Offspring had gone off climbing for a couple of hours and left her in my company. She is very rarely out of the boy's company, and both she and the boy get antsy without one another. Wednesday is likely to howl the blues when she thinks she is alone in the house - I know she is singing the blues because she does it very softly, almost to herself.

Wednesday thinks she would like to be friends with the cats. Alas, the cats do not all share her interest. Meili likes to follow Wednesday around, so she knows what is going on, but when Wednesday notices Meili, Meili makes mean noises. Cricket follows Wednesday around and occasionally even greets Wednesday when she comes in the house with a boop on the nose (with her own nose, not a paw). Cricket and Wednesday can be found, a few times a day, laying in close proximity and gazing at each other. We are all hopeful they will become friends, but just as things are beginning to look good, Cricket turns into a hissing, swearing demon.  There have been no actual fisticuffs, and nothing initiated by Wednesday.  She just keeps looking disappointed that no one will snuggle or submit to belly washings.  The two cats you have not met hid from Wednesday for the first week and a half, but now are sometimes seen in the same room.

Wednesday, her boy, and my Offspring are all here from the great metropolis to the south to say goodbye to my father and to help and comfort my mother.  Mom and Dad live outside Atmon, about a half hour to the west. They have 18 acres and a house my dad built that they share with Spike, the cat to whom Cricket is a 15 year younger doppelgänger.  The kids and Wednesday are splitting their time between Mom and Dad's place and our house, with daily visits to Hospice.  Mom is glad to have company while she copes with things and sorts out what is happening next.  Beloved and I cannot take time off completely, although both our employers are being wonderfully flexible about our schedules, and we are grateful that the kids are being so good to my mom.

Wednesday might be a kind of practice dog for me. I like dogs. We had dogs when I was a kid and when the Offspring was a child too. But I think dogs need much more companionship than cats and Beloved and I both work, sometimes long hours, and he travels quite a bit and I don't like the idea of leaving a dog alone a lot. I am enjoying having a dog around.

Wednesday's main interests, aside from being with the boy, are running and sniffing. She and the boy go off on long adventures every day, usually to some multi-hectare park. If there were not feet of snow everywhere, they would adventure by mountain bike, but they are making do.  Once she is sufficiently fresh-air-and exercised she likes to lay near the boy and be petted. Mostly Wednesday is having a good time here. Except when they go off without her. Or you point a camera at her.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Environmental Post

I have not done any rebel rousing or demonstrating for nearly 2 years. I just didn't really care about anything any more. Our local paper had become a mockery of actual journalism and I seemed to be surrounded by the economy-is-king types.  I was tired.

On my way home from the theatre last evening, though, I caught the provincial news on the CBC.  There was a story about a plastic bag manufacturer trying to overturn a plastic bag ban in Victoria.  Obviously, the manufacturer wants to save its livelihood.  Immediately after this article, though, was an article on ocean plastic.  A little later in the evening, I heard something about an estimate of when there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.  

If we ever stop privileging the economy over the environment, we will have to come to terms with the fact that some jobs are going to have to stop.  I don't think we have it in us.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Tuesday Trees (For RossK)

At my little old house, I had a spectacular flowering crabapple tree in the front yard.

I have a real thing for trees.  That tree was one of the things that made the move hard. My new home has a bigger yard and more trees. And the first thing that Beloved and The Offspring did was buy me a new flowering crab tree.  It's very little and having a hard time establishing itself,  and I have no good pictures of it yet.  

We share some unhappy looking cedars with my next door neighbour. There is a May tree and and unidentified tree in the front yard, along with the Crabapple and a Pear tree we brought with us from the old place. There are four Mountain Ash trees and an apple tree in the back yard. There were four lilac bushes here, one of them a lovely dark purple. One of the light lilacs is right up against my front window. Last spring, the blooming of the Lilacs and the May tree overlapped a little bit, and I could see this and it made me think of RossK.  

I moved to my new home somewhat reluctantly.  I had not moved in 25 years, and I was clinging to all those memories. RossK reminded me that I will have the memories wherever I go, which helped a lot. I felt, after the first night in the new house, as though I had lived here all my life. 
 This is the best spring time picture I have, but I have enough garden pictures to get us through to this spring.  

Saturday, 27 January 2018


Good heavens! I have now written more posts this year than in the previous two years combined!  Thank goodness I have a lot of cats.

Meet Meili. According to Google translate, Meili is the simplified Chinese word for beautiful.

I mentioned last weekend that Cricket is not our most therapeutic cat.  Meili is.  If you are feeling bad it is Meili who will come and enquire as to the reason for your tears.  She is very purry and affectionate. She is also kind of the house mother. She needs to know where all the other cats are and what they are doing before she can relax. She has a busy, inquisitive look sometimes that I have never been able to capture. She will crane her neck in all directions, looking around when there is some air of cat activity that I cannot discern with my puny human senses, and I imagine her saying, "What's all this? What's happening? What's going on honey?" a al Karen Walker in Will and Grace.  She is much less selfish than Karen, but she does have a weakness for cat cookies. 

Currently she is spending a lot of time asking me what is wrong because, of course, I am crying much more than usual.  Dad has been in hospice for a week. Last Thursday, when we got word that there was a bed in hospice, he looked terrible. He was grey and wan, and oh so thin. I thought he would not last the weekend.  Friday morning, after he was whisked into his hospice bed, washed of the hospital smell, and tucked under a beautiful blue handmade quilt, he was ever more relaxed and his colour was better.  On Sunday, when I walked into his room, he was sitting up, eating ice cream and watching tv, he even had an air of cheer about him.  He had stopped eating in the hospital.  Dad has always had a thing about eating everything on his plate. It is just one of the things he has never shaken off from his childhood (desperate, irrational fear of doctors and hospitals is another). In restaurants, for the last several years he has greeted plates delivered to him with horror that he must eat so much. Now, if you give him too much,  he refuses it completely, even if he might want a few bites.  Hospital meals were all too much, and sometimes comically so.  One night, I swear on my cat's lives, there was a cup and a half of peas on his plate.  Please. I like peas and I don't want a cup and a half of them with a meal. Well. Unless they were picked and shelled before they were steamed. Then a cup and a half of peas might be all I want. But these were frozen peas. Sent from Ontario and microwaved before they got to my dad; there was nothing appealing about them.  (ha!)

Speaking of peas, when I was a child, dad contrived a game to make us eat our peas. He would estimate how many were on our plate, and we would count them as we ate them to see if he was right.  He did it for years, and he got really accurate. We always ate all our peas, too.  Of course, we ate everything on our plates, because that was what you did.  Nights when we had peas, we also had the song about peas, "I eat my peas with honey; I've done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny but it keeps them on my knife." He probably let us put honey on our peas at least once in honour of the song.  

Meiji doesn't like peas. Or any human food. She seems perfectly content with kibble, and occasionally has a few bites of canned food, which the other cats get morning and night. She likes cookies and she is quite demanding and insistent about them.  Some days we cave to the pestering, other times not so much. Meili is also the house murderer. She is our fat cat, but she is lightning fast and a stealthy hunter. I read last year that bird's eyesight is better than their hearing and that they particularly see bright colours.  Cat colouring is usually camouflage, which is why birds don't see them in time. I tied a bunch of strips of brightly coloured quilting cotton to her collar. She looked like she was wearing a ragged Elizabethan collar. At first she was mad, but she is also dreadfully vain and  we were able to convince her that she was very pretty, and then she wouldn't let us take it off. It worked: she was not able to catch birds.  

Meili does not have as many nicknames as the other cats. She is our second cat, so she is sometimes called Two, and we call her Kitty Girl and Pretty Girl, and I sing her a song with her name in it that goes to the tune of "Make it Go Away" by Holly Cole. Meili comes to me whenever I sing.  She is gentle and very snuggly, but on her terms, as most cats.  She really does make you feel better, which she managed to do this morning  just by me  writing about her.  

Have a happy Caturday.