Monday, August 28, 2006

The Down Side of Paradise

It's a bit gloomy around the condo at present - our 11 year old cat, Basil, did not return from yesterday's little jaunt in the garden. The down side of living close to nature is, well - all the naturally large and toothful beasts living right alongside. Every morning run contains the ever present likelihood of a bear encounter (Rob and I have had several over the years of vacationing here), and although I have never seen coyotes while running, they are apparently in abundance, and have a taste for domestic cats.

We considered trying to make Basil into a house cat, but after 11 years, he wasn't about to change his ways. He was frustrated in a small apartment, every coming and going became an ordeal of "watch out for the cat," and the kids were subjected to an unending litany of nagging about windows and the patio door. And being resourceful, he would have ultimately have escaped anyway. It seemed that he was going to continue his routine of sticking close to home, sunning himself on the patio and chasing butterflies in the garden, and we hoped that would keep him out of harm's way. It would appear not. (I'm not going to write his eulogy because there's always a chance..... Besides, writing Lightning's was just too heart wrenching and I'm not up for another one so soon.)

No amount of rationalizing and logic entirely blots out my (Rob has that enviably robust male guilt-proof ego) creeping sense of guilt for choosing not to confine him to the house. I suppose it's a dilemma I will face with my children (though please God, not so drastically) - the need to wrestle with and permit degrees of freedom and risk to a creature whose well-being remains my responsibility (not to mention fervent desire). Is there anything more terrifying than parenthood?

On a happier note, here is the sweater I'm presently working on. I had a hankering for a classic navy / white striped cotton sweater for shoulder season - I've always liked the look, and they seem to be very much in fashion at present. I wanted something just a little different, though - predominately navy, with little bit of vertical interest, as opposed to great swaths of horizontal white. As a design challenge, I also wanted to conquer the heaviness and inelasticity of cotton, making something sleek and fitted. (That entails the thorny process of honestly measuring myself and bravely keeping ease to a minimum - my first cotton sweater design might just as well have been a gunny sack). I'm knitting it at a fairly dense gauge, which thus far looks like it will yield the desired effect. It will be a closely fitted crew neck, knit in the round with set in sleeves - another challenge to match up the pattern at the curved seam. I'm experimenting with ways of avoiding the "jog" at the end of the round as the body progresses - I think a little invention may be called for, because the standard method looks messier than a "just live with it" jump in the pattern. Still better than a seam, though.

It is immensely weird and frustrating not having a computer at my fingertips, but on the other hand, the brisk 15 minute walk to the Internet cafe is better for the bulgies than simply slouching out of the kitchen with my morning coffee!