Hand-made posters available here. Sold out right now, but perhaps she will make more if enough people ask.
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I saw this on Kym's blog yesterday. Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their 2009 return can deduct on their 2009 return donations to charities that provide earthquake relief in Haiti even though those donations were made in 2010. Donations must be made after January 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010. Read the IRS press release here.
The long wait is over. When labor started at 1:59 PM CST yesterday, we thought it would be short. Cubs average only ¾ pound and 9 inches long. How long could that take? Along with thousands of you, we spent a sleepless night as bouts of labor continued for 21 hours and 39 minutes. Finally, at 11:38 AM CST, Lily made some contortions, looked under her, and began the intense sweet motherly grunts that bears only make to cubs. Could it be? A loud squawk from the cub made it definite. Lily tucked her head under her chest to care for the cub and breathe on it.
A few minutes later there were more contortions. This time it was only the afterbirth. As Lily rose up to eat the afterbirth, she let cold air under her, making the cub squawk and making people wonder if it was a second cub. First litters are typically 1 or 2. We listened long and hard today but never heard two cub voices.
Now at 8:23 PM, we think Lily is done. She had a single cub. She is now breathing a relaxed three breaths per minute instead of the four per minute prior to birth. We don't see her muscles contracting like in the past couple days. Her restlessness is gone. However, just after 5 PM, Lily made a few motions reminiscent of last night. If another cub is coming, which we doubt, we’ll need the help of your eyes and ears to determine when it arrives. We can’t stay up another night.
Sharing these discoveries with thousands of people like this is a highlight of our careers. It’s a purpose of the North American Bear Center. 50 exhibits of Lily and other wild bears show some of the most interesting behaviors we have witnessed. Snippets of some of those are on bear.org.
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Update – January 23, 3:36 PM [local time, Saturday afternoon]
Lily has one job now—keeping her cub warm and fed. Instead of exiting the den periodically, Lily will spend the next couple months hovering over the cub and responding to each vocalization.
If the cub sleeps quietly or makes the pulsing hum of contentment, Lily holds still. The motor-like hum means the cub is nursing successfully. Sometimes, when a cub is just warm and comfortable, it hums too, but more quietly than when nursing.
You may also hear the sound of Lily licking. She needs to lick the cub to stimulate urination and defecation. Lily consumes the cub's body wastes and recycles those nutrients. Once we start seeing the cub in the den we may witness this behavior.
If the cub squawks, Lily moves. It means the cub is cold, uncomfortable under her, or can’t find a nipple. A little squawk elicits a little move on Lily’s part. A big squawk can elicit more movement. There may be other differences in the cries that we haven’t figured out yet, but I’m sure Lily knows. You can learn more about bear vocalizations and what they mean on the North American Bear Center’s website.
It might be weeks before we can determine the sex of the cub. Once the cub has matured a bit and is more visible in the den we may get a peek. Without litter mates competing for milk, this little cub should grow fast and may weigh 9 pounds when they leave the den in the spring.
One viewer reported coyotes barking and howling. Coyotes and wolves live in the area but are not a worry. In our 43 years of research, we’ve found tracks at dens of injured bears, and a pack of wolves did kill a mother and cubs in a less secure den back in 1972, but wolves and coyotes mostly ignore healthy bears like Lily, especially when there is only one den entrance to defend. We hope Lily is not disturbed, but she would do a great job defending herself and the cub while thousands of viewers cheered her on.
As researchers, we watch and report. If we interfered, we wouldn’t learn anything. To learn more about the research associated with this project visit the Wildlife Research Institute's website.
Thank you again for your donations. Getting rid of the debt will make a difference to what we can do for bears.
—Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, North American Bear Center
So. The second squawk I heard was not a second cub being born, but rather the first cub protesting a cold draft.
I find it highly amusing that baby bears hum when they are contented. We in the Kat™ household have long joked that the only animals to be highly prized are those which purr. I guess baby bears must now be admitted to the pantheon of animals that are Kat™-approved.
The women at the Wednesday night knitting group told me about the web cam in Lily's den.They were all very excited about Lily and the indications that she is A, pregnant, and 2, nearly ready to give birth.
Lily is a wild bear in the woods near Ely. Minnesota.
Lily is keeping over 14,000* viewers in suspense. Among them are the researchers who stayed up all night logging bouts of labor and being amazed at Lily’s occasional body slams. We suspect hard cramps are what make her slam her body around in the den so hard the camera shakes and booms. We have never heard of such behavior. Is this common during labor, or is it unique to Lily. We first observed labor yesterday at 1:59 PM CST (we’re in Minnesota) as Lily lay on her back flexing the muscles of her head as she clenched her teeth for 41 minutes. She then left the den briefly—perhaps to defecate due to pressure on her colon from the fetuses. At 4:23 to 4:30 PM, she had another bout of labor trying to stand on all fours, pushing up against the roof of the den and straining. The bouts continued all night with no particular pattern of timing. Especially violent body slams were at 10:51, 10:52, and 10:54 PM.
With help from the Associated Press and radio stations across the country, more and more people are learning about bears from Lily and from the information on bear.org. There was a 10,000% increase in visitors to bear.org yesterday than the same day last year, and we hope it keeps growing. To keep the website from crashing, we shut down the web store and membership area temporarily. This means we also had to delay introduction of the Lily t-shirts. We are extremely delighted to see such interest in bears. We again thank everyone who is helping with donations. There is so much more we want to do when the debt is paid off.
We are looking forward to the birth, not as the culmination of the watch but as the beginning of learning how Lily cares for the cubs through each stage of their development.
Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, Biologists, North American Bear Center
#2 Son called at 11:30 a.m. to see if I knew about Lily and the web cam at bear.org. I had tried to get to the web cam on Wednesday night, but Firefox wouldn't load it -- some nonsense about not being able to load Shockwave/Flash -- and I had given up. He suggested I try Safari. Success!
Never one to keep good news to myself, I passed the word.
The Safari window open stayed open to the live feed whilst I continued perusing blogs and working through my email in Firefox. iTunes was playing Requiem for a Dream when I heard a squawk and whimpering.
Lily had birthed the first cub! (Squawk = baby, whimpering = mother; everyone who has given birth or witnessed a birth can empathize**.)
The baby bear was never actually visible when I was watching, but it was clear that Lily was licking it and nuzzling it down into the warm space by her abdomen.
Share the news.
#2 Son called again to be sure I had witnessed the birth. He said his co-workers told him that a mother bear breathes on the baby snuggled against it to keep it warm.
More blog perusal and email chores.
At 12:07 p.m. I heard another squawk -- baby #2 had been born!
Hurrah for the internet!
Right now it is 12:49 p.m. and Lily is squirming again periodically. That may mean that baby #3 is imminent.
I tell ya, the excitement never stops around here!
* When I tuned in to the web cam, there were 19,000 viewers. A few minutes later at 11:38 CST, right after the first cub was born, there were 24,000. At 12:03 there were 48,000 and I was unable to get into most of the rest of the website, probably because of the huge number of hits. At 12:49 the number had fallen back to the 19,000 range. Only the hard-core watchers, i.e., those who have to/can sit in front of their computer for an extended period, apparently.
** Although why a 200± pound mother actually feels significant labor pains when birthing an infant that weighs less than a pound (200 - 450 gr) mystifies me.
I just signed up for online data backup for my computer (already have a external hard drive that backs up automatically every hour or so).
...and if I ever knit lace I will use a life line. That is all.
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I lied. That is not all.
Last night I had the delightful experience of joining four other local fiber crafters (3 knitters, 1 crocheter) for a couple hours of fibery fun, chatting, and a scrumptious chocolate dessert. I may have [finally] found my knitting group :) Thanks, Julie, for the invite!
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I found this in the readme.txt file that came with the online backup software.
"Mozy may protect you from a zombie invasion in a post-apocalyptic environment."
I had a very happy Sunday. I picked up all the stitches for the sleeves on the kimono sweater.
Music to work by:
That's a set of $10 speakers Smokey picked up a while back. I committed to provide the recorded music at a library event next month, and I wanted to test them with my iPod. All systems go so far.
I really don't know why it took me a week to work up the gumption to do this little task. I don't mind picking up stitches, although knowing I would have clear off the dining room table to have a place to work was a little daunting.
I picked up the all the stitches for each sleeve on its own needle, then decided I should count them to make sure that, 1, I had the same number of stitches for each sleeve, and, b, that I had picked up the same number on front and back. (The sweater, except for the fact that it is a cardigan, is perfectly symmetrical side to side and front to back. Such is the nature of a kimono [sweater].) Turned out I had nowhere near the same number of stitches in corresponding areas, so large parts had to be redone. But math and counting and a wee bit of measuring -- and remembering that 5 rows need 7 picked-up stitches -- saved the day. Each sleeve = 100 stitches.
Now I just need to knit the sleeves, which is perfectly mindless knitting for the first two-thirds or so, then lots of decreasing down to rolled-back garter cuffs. It is entirely possibly that I may get to wear this sweater before the snow melts.
The Stones have always been one of my favorite bands, ever since I was in high school in the 60s. For a time in my early 20s when I was plagued by depression, this album -- Let It Bleed -- was the only thing I could stand to listen to when I was down. On Sunday I cued up (queued up?) all the Stones music on my iPod and rocked out whilst picking up stitches. It was highly enjoyable.
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#2 Son was here on Saturday and Sunday. He and Smokey spent a fair bit of time out in the garage swapping out new tires on his car and attempting to install a new exhaust system. But they took a little break to fix my office chair first.
For some reason the seat of the chair has been unlevel for several months. A few weeks ago I realized that sitting askew has been part of the reason for my chronic back pain. My resident fix-it experts to the rescue; I had looked under the chair myself and found nothing that looked like I could fix.
While they had the chair upside down, they cleaned the animal hair and other snarf out of the wheels.
Snarf that included a piece of yarn. Unbelievable!
Talked to a retired sheriff’s deputy last night. He says the key to
successfully breaking up a bar brawl is to turn the siren on about a
mile out and slow down so everyone has plenty of time to clear out…
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Test your powers of observation. Link from CursingMama's blog.
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I sent this to #2 son. He sent back the following; he said it is as old as the internet, but I had never read it before. Enjoy!
Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to
continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this
end, I hold M&M duels.
Taking two candies between my thumb
and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of
them breaks and splinters. That is the "loser," and I eat the inferior
one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.
found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the
newer blue ones are genetically inferior. I have hypothesized that the
blue M&Ms as a race cannot survive long in the intense theater of
competition that is the modern candy and snack-food world.
I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen, or pointier, or
flatter than the rest. Almost invariably this proves to be a weakness,
but on very rare occasions it gives the candy extra strength. In this
way, the species continues to adapt to its environment.
reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of
the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack
it neatly in an envelope and send it to M&M Mars, A Division of
Mars, Inc., Hackettstown, NJ 07840-1503 U.S.A., along with a 3x5 card
reading, "Please use this M&M for breeding purposes."
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
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Tomorrow: actual knitting content. And dog hair. (But not knitting WITH dog hair, at least on purpose.)
But I have to confess, #1 Son shamed me into my second round of donations.
Mom, I gave $150 to Partners in Health today so they can go treat the
people being pulled out of the rubble in Port-au-Prince. Since you
have more money than me, maybe you could give more than that. Or to
When I emailed him to tell him I had donated more, he replied, Oh good, that was the idea.
#2 Son has ordered me to add this photo of he* him and his bike on a hockey rink. He suggested that a video would be more impressive because it would show how fast he can get going. I don't know -- could YOUR heart stand the excitement?
I was perusing Facebook and found some ::cough:: interesting ::cough:: photos of #2 Son.
No, not that interesting.
"I don't need no car!"
"Biked eight miles to work this morning. It was only five below (F)*."
* Note: since Christmas, he has a high-tech windproof balaclava and a merino hand-knit hat. No more of this silly ice balls in the stubble. Also, the temperatures here on the Great Frozen Tundra have (finally) risen north of zero.
I have thought about the sweaters for myself and refined my resolutions a bit. I'll state it here for the record.
I, kmkat, being of [mostly] sound mind and body, do hereby declare that intend to knit three sweaters for myself in 2010, namely:
Finish the kimono sweater
Knit the multicolor striped top-down raglan
Knit Baby Cables and Big Ones Too, hereinafter known as Baby Cables Etc.; I bought Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool for that one a year ago.
Shall we take bets on this? I'm not even sure how I would bet. It all hinges on my ability to 1, stay focused, and B, Just.Say.No. For the record, I have already come upon a potential project-for-others, gotten excited about it, and almost jumped in. Then I remembered my resolution and Just.Said.No (to myself).
Oh, and by the way, do you want to guess what is currently on the needles?