Saturday, August 27, 2011

For Ichus

It had to have been 1997. I was working at an animal hospital and someone brought in a stray. I took him home with me and made him mine. His name was Houdini. He was a sweet orange cat who had a problem with men but loved my mom and me. He escaped the house and that was the last we saw of him. But this is not Houdini's story.

After we lost Houdini, we wanted another cat. My mother said she always wanted an orange cat. We had Zorro at the time. Zorro was a big gray tabby and he was all mine. Houdini did not stay with us long, and my brother wanted a cat too.

A friend of mine knew someone who had a barn and a litter of kittens was born in that barn on March 21st, my brother's birthday. That litter had two orange cats- my friend claimed one, and brought the other one to us.

He was more peaches and cream than orange, long-haired and fluffy with beautiful golden eyes. He was tiny as a kitten, he could fit in one hand. My brother named him Ichus, after a cartoon monster. We often called him Ick or Ichy.

Ichus with Noam the Gnome in 2009

I don't remember the year, but one day Ichus had a dreadful reaction to his routine vaccines. We finally got through to the doctor, who was able to save his life, but it was close.

My brother was married in 2004 and moved into a home of his own, and he took Ichus with him. They moved around a bit and settled at a lovely house a good two hours south of me.

In the past year, Ichus got very sick. They thought it was cancer and they really didn't have the money to treat him. So, they kept him as comfortable and happy as possible. As I understand it, he was doing very very badly on Wednesday. My brother dug a hole in the back and put the cat in it; he was going to shoot him in an act of mercy. Ichus kept climbing out, so my brother didn't do it. Ichus died in the house the next day.

He was a sweet cat and I think he had a good, long life. I'll miss you, Ichy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Well, look at that, I'm still talking earthquakes.

There was a 4.5 aftershock just after 0100 this morning. It's kind of funny how I noticed it.

I have six piercing in my ears. When I was brushing my teeth last night, I realize I had removed only five of my six earrings (????). Then I read to my kitties and went to sleep. Yep, completely forgot to take out the last earring.

I had rolled onto that side and woke up to the post poking me. I lay there thinking I should really get up and take the earring out and get back to sleep, but I couldn't summon any energy to do it. Then it got really quiet- all the crickets and night bugs outside stopped singing. Then there was a little rumble and a little shake. Then a pause, and then a little more rumble and a little more shake. Then it was done. (And yes, I then got up and removed the pokey earring.)

The cats huddled close, purring and mewing when I touched them as we tried to get back to sleep. The last time I looked at the clock it was more than an hour later. I'm very tired today!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shake Rattle Rumble

It was almost 1400 yesterday when my desk started to shake. Then just as I thought it was finishing, it really started to shake and the windows were rattling. There was a low rumble. My supervisor said "what the-?" And I said "this is an earthquake." And he said "we should probably get away from the window?" And then it was done.

So we learned that the epicenter was in Mineral VA, spitting distance from the VA Renaissance Faire grounds and the North Anna Nuclear Power Station, about 80 miles from the office. It registered 5.8 on the Richter Scale. According to an expert at the US Geological Survey, it was the strongest VA quake since a 5.6 in 1897. This one was felt in parts of NC and as far north as VT.

At around 2000 last night, there was a 4.2 aftershock. It was nothing like the first quake.

This map of US fault lines and earthquake hazard zones came from the US Geological Survey.

Quakes are very uncommon in this area. I've experienced four over the past eight years and none that I can recall prior to that. VA has far more seismic activity than MD, and I've been working in VA for the past eight years, so that makes some sense. Nothing has really been big enough to rattle much through MD before that, I guess. Or I just didn't know what it was.

The very first quake I felt was a 4.5 in 2003. It wasn't that far from yesterday's epicenter, and it shook the office in McLean for a few seconds. The second was shortly after I bought my home. There was a very brief rattle in the wee hours of a Friday morning. I don't even know the magnitude or epicenter of that one, it was by far the mildest of the four I have felt. Hmm, a quick internet search tells me that one was a 3.6 and it was centered just north near Gaithersburg MD. It wasn't the mildest earthquake I've felt after all, but circumstances made the next one pretty bad. It was a magnitude 3 and it happened while Pat and I were riding a roller coaster at King's Dominion last October. We were a mere 3 miles from the epicenter of that quake. It was the worst roller coaster ride ever, and left us both with the mother of all migraines, though we didn't know until a few days later that it was a quake.

In every case but the third (because I was on a roller coaster), I knew it was an earthquake.

It was business as usual in the office following the quake, though no one was really focused on work. I heard a building was evacuated across the street from us, but we were not, though the entire call center left the building. We were jostled quite a bit, and I had a headache and my back and neck were sore. It was kind of like someone was shaking the building as if trying to get the last coins out of a piggy bank.

At home, I found two very worried kitties who clung to me through the night. One plastic bottle fell off a shelf in the bathroom and a shell fell off my altar in the bedroom. Otherwise, you really couldn't tell that anything had happened. The kitties jumped at every noise, or looked at me for a reaction, and I tried very hard not to jump with them (though I think I looked out the window when I heard a car go by far more often than normal). The aftershock was brief and the cats stayed close. They sat with me on the bed for story time and stayed with me through the night. Poor things looked quite forlorn when I left the house this morning.

A lot of people were joking about the whole thing in the hours that followed, because it was mild in comparison to other earthquakes but disrupted the region quite a bit anyway. The worst part of the whole mess, and why I find no humor in it, was the amount of people who were in town when the quake happened thinking "this is it, this is the attack we've been fearing would happen for almost 10 years." I think DC is perfectly in rights to be jumpy. While it turned out to be nothing more than a large (for the area) earthquake, a good deal of the nerve-rattling was from memories and fears.

We all have enough to be worried about.

Next up! Hurricane Irene! She might be headed our way!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paint By Number

This is a vintage paint by number that one of my grandmothers painted from the porch of her beach house on the Chesapeake Bay.

Someone at my maternal grandmother's community has the same one outside her door, but I otherwise have never seen this kind of paint by number anywhere else. It's on a scroll!

Ah! Banana!

Do you remember this post where I proclaimed "Ah! Banana!" loudly, and for the office to hear, if people were in the office at the time?

My lovely friend Lori of myvintagewhimsy took a toothpick to her Ah! Bananas in my honor!

I love it!

Don't forget to start your day with a perfect Ah! Banana! of your own!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Said I'd Never Do It

But I had to! ArenaNet is having a little Guild Wars 2 contest, and I have to be there to enter. I don't plan to use it much. I don't really like it. It's very confusing. But I'm there anyway.

Come on over and say hello!

Thursday, August 04, 2011


"Did you say 'hello'?"

"No, I said 'allo' but that's close enough."

"Oh. You're a worm, aren't you?"

"Yeah, 's right!"

"You don't, by any chance, know the way through this labyrinth, do you?"

"Who, me? No, I'm just a worm."

I was talking with some Etsy friends yesterday about the Beholder I crocheted for Phoenix. Some said it looked like a creepy glove, some said it looked like a funky sea creature, and more than a few said it looked like something out of Labyrinth. Then the challenge was on, and The Worm was made!

This guy took nearly five hours. He is made with acrylic yarn, and stuffed with poly beads, scrap yarn, and poly fill. His scarf is recycled plastic felt and he has gold safety eyes. I think I need to embroider a line on his mouth so it's clearer that it is his mouth and add some blush to his cheeks. But otherwise, here he is!