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October 6, 2010

Rainy Day Q&A

Yes, it is raining today in Los Angeles! It's a perfect day. I woke up to the sound of Frankie whining about the Meow Mix situation, but after that little problem was rectified I got to lay in bed and listen to the rain pattering down on the sidewalks and rooftops.

There are days when I feel triple-decker-happy to be free from commuting into downtown and this is definitely one of those days. When it rains the freeways all become parking lots. Today I am happy at home in my pajamas and some Hemingway.

Reader Debby wrote in to ask which version of the book I'm reading for the book club:

Hi there, Laurie =-) I am wondering if the edition you are reading is the revised one Hemingway's grandson put out or the original, unrevised edition? I have the original in hand that I got from the library today and will probably read that, since most of the recent reviews I've read of the revised edition are not all that favorable, and the original is the one that all the many, many years of reviews have come from. I was just curious which one you are reading as it was hard to tell from the Amazon link whether that edition was the original or not. I'm looking forward to the discussion on the 29th. What a great idea this book talk thing is! Have a good weekend! Debby

Thanks for the note! I am reading the original version of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. If you click on the link above, that's even the exact cover that my copy has and the same version I bought for last month's chat winner.

However, while I was in the store I also picked up a copy of the revised version, which is called A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition. I haven't read it through yet (I figured I should read both since some folks will have read this version) and the one thing I can say is that the ending, in my opinion, was perfect the way it was and shouldn't have been tinkered with. If you have the "restored" version the real ending of the book (to me) is on page 220. I believe everything after that should have been appended or clearly delineated as an addition, not stitched together as a new ending.

But I'm not a Hemingway scholar, just a fan of the original book's beautiful last line.

The version I'm reading.

No matter which one you choose, don't forget to chat with us about this book on Friday, October 29th!

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November Book Selection

I know some folks aren't Hemingway fans or are busy or don't have time to get through a book in three weeks, so I thought I would tell everyone in advance about November's book club pick:

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I have not read this novel so I'll be experiencing it for the first time with you but I've heard it's really a good read. I have read Elizabeth Strout's novel Amy and Isabelle, and it's one of my favorite books. I'm looking forward to reading Olive Kitteridge and we'll chat about it on November 30th. I figure that gives people plenty of time to recover from the Thanksgiving turkey hangovers.

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Beverly asked:

Who IS that woman at the top of your blogsite, if I may ask? I don't
think it's you, is it? Just curious. I really enjoy your postings.

That is not me, although I do think she is rockin' a swanky getup. That is a model from a vintage Bernat knitwear catalog. The pictures in some of those vintage pattern books are HEE-larious. I liked her look and her many poses in a sweater.

I also get about one email a week informing me to update the wording in my header but I kind of like it, even though it's no longer exactly perfectly descriptive of this exact day in my life it still makes me laugh and I am a nostalgic, maudlin person by nature. I guess part of me still wants Roy back, he was cat #4. Or cat #1 depending on your way of looking at it.

Eventually I do want to figure out how to get a leaderboard ad in the header without it looking like an adfest but for now, for today, it is what it is.

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Carol asks:

I am writing from Ottawa, Canada. Just wondering if you have any advice for me. I own two cats and just recently one of them is not using his litter box. Has that ever happened you? What did you do. Also I know that you don't use harsh chemicals, what do you use to get rid of the urine smell? Thanks if you can help me out! Carol

Hi Carol!
I have indeed experienced this issue, the Queen Sobakowa had some rather challenging litterbox issues on and off for almost two years of her kittenhood.

The first thing anyone will tell you about litterbox challenges is that you should have the cat checked by a vet. Sometimes infection can be the cause of potty troubles.

I can tell you what worked in my house, though every cat is different!

Soba did not have health issues, she was just being Picky and Regal and needed the litterbox to smell like rainbows and unicorns. if not, she would find alternate places to go. Here's what worked for me:

• The first thing I did was to get rid of the Booda Dome I had been using as a box. The shape and size was not working for our house.

• In fact, I got rid of the enclosed box concept altogether. I have heard from more readers who say doing this one thing alone has eliminated litterbox issues! Here at Chez Poopsalot we have three open litterboxes with plenty of room for lots of cat sand and no cover over them.

• I switched to Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat ''Cat Attract'' Cat Litter which solved the primary problem of getting Soba back into the habit of choosing the litterbox first.

• To get rid of the out-of-box "accidents" I used Nature's Miracle Stain and Odor Remover. There is also a Dr. Elsey's Urine Removal treatment which I hear is great. After you very thoroughly clean the area you may need to cover it with tin foil. Sounds weird but cats hate foil and won't walk on it. If your cat has one spot he just loves, this may be your best bet for re-training him away from it.

• Finally, and most importantly, you must keep the box clean, clean, clean. I scoop twice a day (once in the morning, once in the evening) and change the litter anytime it gets a little ripe. I wouldn't want to do my business in a stinky box and neither do they.

Hope this helps. Knock on wood, but we haven't had any accidents here since making these changes several years ago.

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Nancy writes:

I just finished a hat that I made for my 6 month old granddaughter and even though I measured, it is way too big around. Is there some way to fix it without tearing it all out? Please help!

Ah, the mushrooming hat, it happens to the best of us. Luckily in your situation your recipient will grow into it! So you have the best possible scenario.

There are other ways to fix a too-large hat but they have varying results. You could felt it if it's wool, or try your hand at sewing in some pin tucks and try to make them look decorative, or undo the whole thing and cast on fewer stitches.

But since this is a baby and their heads do grow I'd just say you did it this way on purpose, because you heard it was supposed to be a long winter and the kid will need it in February.

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Speaking of hats, I do plan to post the newest hat patterns this week. With company in town and then my Grandma getting out of the hospital it's been a little busy here and my knitting/TV time has been sorely neglected. I'm going to finish the beanie tonight while catching up on my Tivo and watching the cats jockey for position in front of the fireplace:



Soba wins.

Have a good day!

Posted by laurie at October 6, 2010 7:40 AM