Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The weather outside is...

...still abysmally not good. Oh, sure, it isn't -36 F with windchill, and going to the grocery store isn't an expedition requiring acute survival skills as it is in Nunam Iqua, Alaska, but it is still down to freezing or below at night, and far too sunny and warm (60s and sometimes 70s) during the day, making for another year of drought and requiring even more drastic water conservation measures than the last two years. I expect we'll see more mosquitoes as, with the winter season still upon us, people are not dumping out standing water (I won't even mention all the scummy mosquito larvae-infested pools littering the cityscape as foreclosed homes sit empty and untended) and a boon for the ticks and their larvae, increasing the amount of tickborne disease as well.

Oh, quite the happy camper I am! Okay, out with the grump, in Mike!

Still on the cold weather theme, I pulled out some older photos and took a few new ones.

Here he is modeling the cotton scarf I made for Robin, fisherwoman and writer for Western Outdoor News. She currently spends most of her time in Baja, writing about the local sportfishing, so she doesn't actually need the kind of clothing we need up here during the winters (her usual daytime garb is tank top and shorts grrrrr...), so I knit her this scarf for those "cold" mornings fishing in the surf.

I hate hats. Well, more precisely, I hate wearing hats. Nonetheless, I do bow to common sense and wear one when it gets really really really cold. For me. Here's the one I knit in Fiamma Stampato, using my friend Juliette's small hat pattern. The hat really isn't as small as it looks here - I folded it up a bit to fit on Mike.

Speaking of Juliette, here is a remarkable example of true friendship. Juliette has been knitting for 45+ years, and owned a local yarn shop for 10 years until she retired a year or so ago. Juliette's color preferences are vivid greens (from chartreuse to deep forest), oranges, reds, yellows, and purples, and prefers them several or all together in one garment. Juliette knows my favorite color is black, and so, over the course of a year, she knit me a black blanket, using two strands of black cotton.

If you're not a knitter, you don't know that black is difficult to knit in general, unless you have a very bright work light. If you're not a knitter, you don't know how heavy a blanket knit out of one strand of worsted weight cotton is, let alone one knit with two strands held together. So, an all-black blanket for someone whose brain, eyes and hands are happiest when knitting bright, vivid colors was a labor of the most heart-felt kind.

Before I knew she knit a blanket for me, in our conversations, she had mentioned knitting a cotton blanket, and the sewing in of all those ends. Sewing/Weaving in ends is not a favorite activity for either of us, because of the various musculo-skele-tendonal problems we both have in our hands and fingers. Cotton, being slipprier than wool or acrylic, requires some stabbing through the strands to anchor the ends (two ends for each ball of yarn, of which there were 18 or so in this blanket) so they don't pop out and unravel during use or washing.

It wasn't until I offered to work on some of the ends for her that she confessed that a) the blanket was all black, and b) that it was for me! So, now I have the blanket and all the ends to weave in! Here's a close up of the pattern, an interesting sort of basketweave or brick pattern:

As for HRG (His Royal Grumpiness), he is finally becoming resigned to my bedroom being off limits for, well, bed. He figured out last year that he was no longer allowed to sleep in my bed since he got rather too possessive of it, so he took to sleeping under the bed. During the summer and early fall heat waves, that was fine. During nights cold enough to hang meat in the house? Not. Testing the waters, he still tries to go in the bedroom every afternoon, but I head him off at the pass. Or, once I tire of doing that 10 times or so in the span of an hour, I close the door. I have to close the door when I leave before his usual mid-fternoon perambulation time, else he'll go in there and plant himself right smack in the middle of the bed UNDER the bed, requiring maximum amount of effort from me to get him the heck out from under there.

You shouldn't think the poor boy has only a plank or something to sleep on. Nooooo. Along with his towel-over-heating pads-over-throwrug, he also has a variety of pillows and fleece blankets for covering. Here are two of his four pillows, one of which is actually a folded up blanket that used to cover a much smaller Mike. The socks (knee-his I made in the Jaywalk pattern) are now used to put between his chin and the metal window sill, when he falls asleep at night with his chin there.

Nonetheless, I know this is where he dreams of sleeping: back in his bed...


I thought I'd take some just-Mike photos, and found him sprawled on my old body pillow. I gave it to him a couple of years ago, the very first time I went away for a couple of days, thinking the smell of me might help reduce his stress level. Well, I think what actually reduced his stress level was having his friend Martha come over a couple of times a day, to bathe him, feed him, pet him, and bring him nasturtiums to munch on. I take comfort in the fact that he does use my, er, his pillow. (Note: while it looks really dark outside of the direct sun coming in the window, it wasn't really that dark in there when I took the photo.)

Here's a bug, or tortoise, eye view of Mike. For those who haven't seen the photos in my Spring doth creep... blog last April, here's what it looks like to be one of my tortoises when Mike's around:

And, today's close-up:

Does this make my nose look big?

And back, sort of, to the HRG. While I was taking the photos, Mike was just fine. As soon as I stopped and lowered the camera, he charged towards me and started bobbing, and even gave me an open mouth threat. For those not conversant in iguana, that can be roughly translated to "Get out of my space or I shall draw blood!"* So I quickly raised the camera and switched it to video...and of course he immediately stopped bobbing and just stood there, posing. Brat.

* An astonishing number of people think iguanas (and all non-venomous snakes, for that matter) don't have teeth. They do. I have a lovely photo at my Iguana site's Green Iguana Teeth page, in which you can clearly see their teeth. Cyclura iguanas like Mike are similarly well endowed. Mike has bitten me a couple of times, just in the past 2 years (August 2007, October 2008 - warning: graphic photos), thanks to the onset of his annual breeding seasons and adolescent stubbornness. Ah, the joys of living with large, intelligent, pheromone-sensitive lizards!


Blogger Knatolee said...

He's just so excruciatingly handsome!!

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe in the last life you were an iguana or something since you enjoy being around them! LOL

10:21 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I think it more likely that I was a predator who ate iguanas, and am thus living a sort of karmic payback kinda life this time around.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iguana slaves! LOL

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's one pampered lizard... uhh... do you want to take me in as your pet?... lol!

10:54 PM  
Blogger Lupie said...

I found your blog on the ravelry group Knitting in our sleep. I have a group The Lesser Known Skeins I will send you an invite. Mike is just beautiful and I love the pictures.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Robby said...

Spoiled like my snakes. Hello Melissa. My name is Robby and I blog about my snake adventures: and I invite you to check out my blog as it invites people to be kinder to herps they encounter. I would be honored to be listed among your "Herp Literature and Discussion" section on your Herp Care Collection site. Will you let me know what you think?
Thanks, Robby

2:14 PM  

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