Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

button up

What am I going to put my new  buttons on?  The big blue dragonfly goes on a hat that needs a little freshening up.  The red dragonflies - I dunno yet.  The fishies?  I don't need a project in mind to buy fishies.  I will keep them and love them and fondle them now and then.  They don't even need to be on display.  I'm happy that they will just be.

My friend, Tim Young, wants to paint some buttons.  Not with a rattle-can, but with a tiny brush.  He wants to paint miniatures on buttons.  He needs a brush so small that he's going to have to make it himself.  He's thinking, maybe 3 cat whiskers.  It's spring and cats will be shedding.  Tim, wanna post a snail mail address for folks to send the whiskers of their cats?

Buttons ARE nice to collect.  Unlike antique cars, they don't take up much space or require much maintainence.  Unlike paintings or rare stamps, they're not expensive.  Well, most of them aren't expensive. As with anything that people collect, if someone wants what someone else has, it becomes more valuable.  Serious button collectors can spend thousands.  That takes a lot of the fun out of it for me.  My buttons, like my tea-cups are items of fun, and the hunt is part of the pleasure.  I have even been known to buy a second-hand dress because I was so charmed by the buttons.

Since I enjoy mindless garter-stitch knitting bets of all (It's so meditative!) I often produce stuff that might be a bit boring or generic.  A single accent button pops it right out of the ordinary.  And when I knit those sweaters for the orphans, I like to think that a bright, whimsical button can make an ordinary warm sweater into something special.  And we all need something special, don't we?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Yesterday was one of those fully overcast days when you don't actually throw a shadow.  I finally figured out that it's because the light is diffused and reflected through the clouds untill it seems to come from every direction except straight up.  It bounces off all those water droplets hanging in the air, refracting and twisting around untill a photographer is ready to weep for joy. 

And what am I doing on such an illuminating day?  Taking my regularly scheduled yoga class and meditating on enlightenment?  No. Getting my eyes checked.  Yep, there they are.  Two.  Somewhat symmetrically placed.  Aging gracefully.  I still don't need perscription lenses, just the grocery store magnifiers for reading.  Afterwards, I gave myself a treat and met LG for lunch, then hit the Button Emporium to use up a birthday gift certificate.  Squeee!  there's one millefiori button in dark red and black the won't show up well  on film but has two fishes swimming in a yinyang shape.  And here are some of the others:
The dragonflies on glass just had to come live with me.  They speak of hot summer days and creative indolence.  And the fishie - how could I leave such a charming little fishie?  It's made millifiori style as well, and it boggles my mind to hink how one would construct a rod of clay in such a way as to get a fish in every slice.  Humans are awesomely inventive creatures!
Got any buttons you love?

Monday, March 28, 2011

cat assist

 Every author needs assistants to help her stay motivated, on target and excited about her work.  Every knitter needs supervisors alert to any possible slipped stitch or error.  Of course every cook needs a vigilant mouser to keep the pantry vermin-free.  I, evidently am neither author, knitter nor cook since my assistants are thickly furred lumps of profound indolence.  These cats are olympic-class nappers.  Do you suppose they need little bitty c-pap machines to help them with their sleep catnia?  Good luck getting thm to wear the mask!

Ben likes taking the spot on top of the big file cabinet so he can watch the action on the street.
But there are occasions when he is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I have no idea what he was doing up there - probably trying to eat the tulips, but he does look attractive, doesn't he?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

yarn shop hopping

Knittech and her delightful daughter Perky were in town yesterday, (Phone call: "We're lost." "What do the street signs say?"  "Walk and don't walk."  "OK, I've been there.") and we went yarn shop hopping.  Started at the Yarn Garden, but as full of yarns as they are, nothing spoke to us.  Then we went to Angelika's over by the Lovejoy Fountain.  She has Lorna's  Laces mohair and boucle for $5 a skein.  Can you believe it?  $5 a skein!!!  Want me to grab some for you? I snabbled up most of a bag of silk and merino worsted weight in the Red Rover color, some pink  mohair, and some luscious blue boucle.  (I have an inspiration for a cowl.)Perky will be getting som awesome socks in a fetching green and purple combination.  Knittech almost got a sterling silver necklace with a lovely pendant holding  elegant beaded stitch markers.  She kept petting it, and putting it down, petting it, and putting it down . . .

Then it was lunch time, and Knittech said, "Take us to your favorite place."  So we hit Sully's and had breakfast because they no longer serve lunch on weekends.  Quell yum!  And after, we walked down to Make One and petted their yarns, totes, and accessories. Also tried to get photos in front of Dark Horse comics with their full size Alien and Predator models in the windows, but the reflections foiled us. Then, it was getting time for me to go shopping with DH, so I took them back to their car and gave them directions to Omsi.  All in all, a fruitful day.  Hope they had as much fun as I did.

Friday, March 25, 2011

hodge podge

Adam's apple tree doesn't show much change.  Still gnarly and tough.  There are shoots emerging, but they're mere spindly twigs thus far.  It'll be a year or two before we get the apple artillery again.

But bright things have happened indoors.  We got a solar tube put in the dining room.  This used to be one of the darkest corners in the house, and folks at the knitting parties used to try to avoid that dark end of the table, but it's like having a picture window beaming down on you now.  I just dance and dance in the light.  Turn my little face up like a sunflower and smile!  I can't believe what a difference it makes in this part of the house.

On other fronts,(heh heh) I went in and got my mammies grammed today.  I have five friends who are here today because they were diligent about their mamograms and caught it early.  Do not put it off, ladies!  Take a couple of asprins before you go in and tell the nice radiologist that you can't wait to get home and put on your deodorant.

I also went to the dermatologist and had all my spots checked.  I have a place on my forehead that is getting thicker, but the doctor tells me it's not skin cancer.  I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from higher up my forehead a few years ago, and he suggested it could just be sort of a lymph collection resulting from that surgery.  Not to worry unless it itches, scabs up or hurts.

I also went to my regular doc for a regular check up (I try to do all these around my birthday so I remember to get them done.)  My cholesterol is a bit high, my blood sugar is close to high, and I need more exercise.  How many times will I have to hear that, from how many sources, before I actually get of my dyin'ass and move?

And then there was the doorknob symptom.  You know - the doctor has her hand on the door knnob and says, "Is there anything else you can think of?" and your mouth, completely without consulting your brain first, says, "Well, now that you mention it . . it probably isn't anything, but . . "
I was driving home on a very familiar street the other day, and suddenly, it was as if my inner compass rotated and I no longer recognized the street because it was going the wrong direction. , I pulled over, considered the landmarks, and got myself home, but I was seriously disoriented for several minutes.  The doc checked my carrotid arteries, and asked if I was prone to fall asleep during the day.  Well, I'm an olympic class napper, and about ten minutes after I sit down in the recliner, my eyes are rolling shut. 

"Do you snore?" she asked.  DH tells me I snore like a buzz saw and sometimes stop breathing.  So, I'm scheduled for a pulmonary consultation and maybe a sleep study.  I'm not crazy.  I'm oxygen deprived!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On the soapbox again

 After being unwillingly forced to lose a perfectly good hour of sleep to accomodate the notions of bass-ackward beaureaucrats who should just get up earlier all by themselves if they want to, half the people I know are  whupped, bushed, and coming down with something.  My DH is even laid up with a case of feelingcrappyallover.  Someone should do a study of how much work time is lost due to illness the first two weeks after time change.  It causes lassitude, dopiness, attention deficit, appetite surges, innumerable lapses in judgement, increaed annoyance and a sense of wanting to bitch-slap the next stupid fucker who looks at you the wrong way.
Some people have even grown anntennae.

Keep smiling, folks.  Let's all declare Sunday a universal pajama day and everyone sleep in.

Monday, March 21, 2011

post launch post

The snackies came off wonderfully well.  Fruit kabobs and a chocolate fountain are hard to beat!  Everyone assembling the kabobs managed to stab themselves at least once while shoving apple wedges onto the bamboo skewers. The strawberries and pineapple were not nearly so bloodthirsty.) but life did not come to an end and blood did not get on the bananas, so all was good.  There was sangria and fruit punch, and DH contributed two trays of sandwich rollups from Costco's party deli.  Cheese and crackers pretty much finished it off - oh, and the pitcher of ice water with limes in it needed to be re-filled twice.

Here's me with the posters  of the four books that are out now.  The knitting hands are my cover.  Is this too cool or what?

Here's about a third of the people jammed into the lovely house that the owners loaned to us for our launch.  We had a great turn-out and I am so grateful to everyone who came.  Especially because all the noise and crowding drove me nuts.  I clearly am not a party girl.  I had to go outside and sit in the car for a while, to count my marbles and put them back in the bag.  Are there actually people who enjoy this type of party?

Sanna is available as an e-book on Smashbox.  Nook is loadinng.  Amazon is in process.  I am on line!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

coat photo

Benita is getting ready to weave fabric  for a new winter coat.  Here's my handwoven coat.  The fabric is a fluffy wool boucle, and the garment structure is wayyy simple.  Dropped shoulders, layered front.  Fastens with two big snaps.  Blanket stitched raw edges.  Warm, dashing and versatile. 

I got a look at the place where the launch party will be held and came home with my mental engine just racing.  Now I know what colors will be good, which serving pieces I need to bring, how we can arrange the food and punchbowls, . . .  oh, I'm much happier.  I do like to plan ahead!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Blanket sewing goes on anyhow

There are people who, when they hear you are sick, show up on the doorstep with home-made chicken soup.  And there are people who will come over and clean your house if you will let them.  Other people might be happy to drive you to and from the doctor.  When I know about someone in distress, I want to make sure they can stay warm. The troubles in Japan have my sewing machine out and running.

Housework?  Why yes, our house works very nicely, thank you.  Wall to wall floors and ceilings, all the usual American appurtances . . .

Cleaning?  Oh, you mean, like cleaning the house sort of house work?  Bwahahahahah!

What?  You're serious?  But - but - what's the point?  I mean, you dust the whole place and then all by itself it gets dirty and two months later you have to do it all over again.  and it's not like you ever get ahead of the game.  The only time I'mcompletely caught up on the laundry is when my husband and I are standing stark naked, folding clothes together.  Like that'll ever happen.  I'm 61, friends.  I just don't do stark naked as well as I used to.  Not that he complains, mind you. . . And he still looks like the blue-eyed lean haunched man I fell in love with, so maybe  we should give it a try. 

Oh lord, the sap IS rising!  I always get extra frisky in the spring.

It's all elbows and . . .

I've been head down over the preparations for the Sunday launch of "Sanna" as an e-book.  I set up an author page on facebook (Roxanna D Matthews) and have been making rather heavy work of the learning curve.  Still haven't figured how to link to it, but Lisa Nowak, a fellow independent author, has been a godsend! 

And the preparation for catering the launch party has taken more time than I expected.  Rose, don't worry - there will be much besides huumus to snack on.  Vegies, a chocolate fountain with fruit, cheese and crackers, 7 layer dip and tortilla chips, punch, and I'm going to put out a pitcher of cucumber water along with pitchers of ice water with lemon or lime in it.  But there is only one place in town that rents glasses and plates, and it took a while on the phone to find that out.  Puddletown Publishing Group is green, and we're not going with landfill clogging plastic plates and glasses. Meanwhile, a post-apocalyptic romantic comedy is nagging me and demanding to be written.  I sure wish I could fast forward to those hours spent playing solitaire and use them now.

After the launch on Sunday, I'll have a week of medical visits. If i plan it all around my birthday, I can remember it.  Regular check up, mamogram, and a visit to my dermatologist.  Lots of waiting room time to knit and develop plot twists.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Decorah Eagles Webcam

Decorah Eagles Webcam

This is just too cool! Even if you're not a birder, you'll be thrilled.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The year of seasons: Adam's apple

Not much change in the apple tree so far this spring.  But, ah, spring is finally on her way.  Guess Persephone got a flat tire on her chariot, because the daffodils are about a month late.

That just makes them so much more welcome when they do show up!

Now, on another topic, those of you who follow Dave Daniels at Cabin Cove will remember this gorgeous silk and merino scarf that he just finished weaving.  I squeealed and asked how muchhe wanted for it because well, it's silk and merino and pink and lavender and a cool log cabin weave structure and the only thing that could possibly make it more attractive to me would be to swathe it around a kitty, and I know that has already occurred. 
So what did this astounding guy do?  He offered to swap.  He sent it to me, saying that he knew I would find something to send back.  Lessee - his favorite color is plaid, and the Pendleton Woolen Mills outlet store is about a mile away.  He loves to cook, and Oregon is the home of hazlenuts.  He likes what I write and the 4th book in the Sanna Chronicles is coming out this year. 
Oh, speaking of the Sanna Chronicles - - did you know you can download the Nook App from Barnes and Noble FREE onto your laptop?  It's easy! Even I can do it.  And they have FREE books to go with it!  My first choice was, The Princess and the Penis.  It was that or Daracula or Jane Eyre.  Decisions, decisions.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Yesterday, we saved the daylight!

Let's have a show of hands.  Who thinks daylight savings time is a good idea?  Anybody?  Hellooo?   OK, things to do today:  1.Blog, quilts, 3.plan book launch party catering, 4.get copyrights, 5.find out how to start a petition to cease and desist Daylight Savings Time.

After knitting yesterday, TW called from an estate sale she had stopped at on her way home.  It was the home of one of us mega-stash yarn ladies, and things were a bit pricey on Saturday, but Sunday was the 50% off clearance time.  TW e-mailed everyone in the knitting group!  The discount sales started at noon.

So DH, being the sweetest man in the world took me over there.  At 11:40 there was a line.  We signed up and were #62.  When they finally opened up (five minutes late of course) they let  in only 30 people at a time.  And you had to be there when they called your number, or you lost your spot.  We waited 20 minutes in the rain for the sale to open.  After another 20 minutes in the rain I was wet, and chilled to the bone.  They called number 44, and I gave up.  You had to wait till someone came out before they would let you in, and clearly the people who made it inside were taking their time.  I have yarn.  If I need more yarn I will support my local yarn store.  I don't need to freeze myself and my husband just to feed my insatiable yarn appetite.

He turned up the heat in the rig as we headed home and we both steamed gently as the squelchy clothes warmed up.  Yes, we do have proper rain gear, but somehow neither of us anticipated 40 minutes in a downpour.

Then we passed a  buxom young woman walking down the sidewalk who was REALLY not dressed for the weather.  She had on sheepskin slippers, black lace pantyhose, and a dark hoody sweatshirt over a grey tunic which the sweatshirt had pulled up in the back, exposing her hiney and her baggy granny panties showing through the lace.  I was too stunned to even suggest that we turn around and say something to her.  And DH is a strong believer in leaving people alone because they might look like that on purpose or they  might be violently crazy.  But the poor girl!  The hoody had to be soaked, and her legs were that purplish blotchy color.  I can't help wondering what the story is, and hoping she's just a fashion victim, suffering for her beauty.

So I got a hot bath and changed into dry clothes and off we went to see "Stomp!"  MJ and RW took us to celebrate my birthday.  Oh my gosh it was too cool for school!!  I can see how all the skits evolved, too.  You get a natural percussionist, and they will drum on just about anything.  There was one scene where five of the cast were rattling matches in boxes and played them like precision instruments for minutes on end.  Can't you just see a couple of drummers sitting around, rattling matchboxes, tapping them, riffing on the rhythms?  In another scene, guys came out with metal sinks slung in front of them from cables around their necks.  Drummers usually have to take any job they can pick up to keep food on the table between gigs.  A couple of drummers, side by side washing dishes in some kitchen somewhere begin playing with the noises they can make.  Squeak the rubber gloves on the sides of the metal sink.  Tap on the tin cup as the water pours out of it, changing the tone.  Bang the pot against the side of the sink.  Give them a metal spoon, and all work comes to a halt while the muses take over.  They had water in the sinks, and one guy was splashing wildly till another guy threw a cup of water in his face.  At the end, they stood over buckets and opened the sink drains to let the water flow out, like a bunch of guys lined up peeing.  And the mad splasher drained and drained - and drained, and kept on draining long after the other guys were done, and when he finished, he gave his sink a little shake.  I howled!!

They played everything in every way you could imagine.  Plastic wash tubs, garbage cans, tire rims, and in one scene, they used truck tire innertubes slung around their waists like bizzarre hoop skirts and pounded on them with dowels.  Stomping their feet, clacking the sticks against one another, drumming on the innertubes, it was a heart-stirring symphony of sound!  They worked like maniacs for the whole performance!  What athletes! I was jazzed for hours afterwards.

We went to a local Chinese restaurant for dinner and MJ and I played with our napkins, making rhythms untill the waitress gave us the hairy eyeball.  But it was FUN!  I still feel all foot-tappy today.  If you get a chance to see the show, I think you'll love it as much as I did.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Everyone gets a violet.  Many of the girls tied theirs around their wrist.  So dainty!
Strawberry cupcakes - Chocolate chip cookies, shortbread cookies with lavender buttercream,  salmon openfaced on rye bread, clementines.
The living room annex

The dining room set-up

Friday, March 11, 2011

Knitting, acapella and literary society

It's tea time again tomorrow.  The theme is violets.  

More photos tomorrow when the table is fully dressed.  The pink strawberry cupcakes and the pretty salmon salad on rye bread will make it look a lot fancier.
I may as well just make up my mind that I'll need to open the living room annex from now on.  We are such a jolly group that we have out-grown the dining room.
Besides the strawberry cupcakes and the open-face salmon mousse sandwiches, there are chocolate chip cookies, tiny shortbread rounds with lavender buttercream,  clementines, and a big box of chocolates I got for my birthday and have GOT to share around.  Oh, and I have to dash outside and pick violets tomorrow for table decoration.  I'll get a photo of the full monty before the guests arrive.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

You get a rep and then . . .

I've been having such fun giving these knitterly teas!  Now, my new publishers, Puddletown Publishing Group, is having a launch party and wants me to cater it.  For $3 per person including wine?  I will NOT get the box-o-wine with a headache in every glass, so we have to cut down on the food.  Humus and pita, salsa and chips, and the signature for the writers we know- when something good happens, you have to have chocolate.  So there will be a chocolate fountain.  Who wants to prep strawberries?

As for the wine, there will be five or so authors, 2 publishers, a couple of artists, some investors, and assorted friends and family.  How much wine are they gonna drink?  And when do I cut them off?

The launch is Mar 20th.  Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice will then be available for your Nook or Kindle. 


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

How the mighty are fallen

Here is the little maple, which in reality was a sweet gum.  A guy DH works with will be by to pick up the wood for his fireplace, but he'd better hurry, because two people have already offered to clear it away for us.

The rot was pretty well established, and it would have taken down power and cable lines to two houses when it went down.  We'll give the yard a summer of full sun, then look into some birches.Meanwhile, the birthday celebration continues.  Heide, the darling, gave me a gift dertificate for Dave Daniels Cabin Cove shop, and I picked out three gorgeous skeins of yarn.  Dave, being the lad that he is, included three more for his birthday present to me.
What did he include?  Satyr's Dance, Forest Climax, and Orgasm # 9.
Looks like I'll need to knit some more Peter parkas.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Year of seasons cut short

The little maple tree in  the front yard is enjoying it's last morning.  We had the tree guy over this weekend, and the little maple tree is split at the crown and rotting all the way down the inside.  And her branches are interferring with power lines.  Today they will take her down, rather than wait for her to die and fall over in the next good storm.  We are thinking of replacing her with birches.

So what tree shall I follow now for a year of seasons?  Our backyard walnut?
The neighbor's tree?

Or shall I document the rebirth of the old apple tree?  This is the one that had grown tall and was dropping fruit onto the porch roof, making a sound like artilliary fire.  Very hard on the nerves of our neighbor who is a military vetern.  We are going to encourage low-hanging fruit.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Will the leopard change his shorts?

DH and I have been married for 16 years, and dated for 5 years before that.  And never, in all that time, has he shown interest in a barbecue grill.  But he got a quarterly bonus check, and we spent all day yesterday looking at steel and canvas gazebos, and propane grills, and patio furniture.  To our immense dismay, we thought we were going to have to go with a Martha Stewart table and chairs, but then we founf something we liked even better at Sears for less money.  Now we need to wander around the yard and decide where, exactly, the gazebo goes.  It's rather like siteing an outhouse.  You don't want it too close to the house, nor do you want it too far away.  I think I will request a paved path from the kitchen as well.  Already, I am planning knitting soirees under the trees. 

Time will tell.  Will DH actually venture out into the yard for summer pleasure and leisure, or will the attractions of the air-conditioning prove too strong?

The theme for this month's knittinng is "Violets."  I'm looking for candied violets to put on the strawberry cupcakes.  There are violets blooming in the yard and will be on the table for decor.  I even have several pieces of china with violets on them.  Already we will be 12 strong.  That's the tipping point. We can squeeze 12 people around the table.  Any more, and we need to seat in the living room as well.  I am thinking lavender shortbread and chocolate chip cookies, clementines, and some sort of salmon spread on Rye for the savories.  Openface, with basil and perhaps a bit of tomato for garnish.  Anyone got any suggestions for salmon spread?

By the way, my beloved copy editor, Pat Lichen, has started a blog, and her first post is about possum penises.

What more can I say?  You gotta read it all!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Happy to meee!

 Today is my 65th birthday, and this is what i saw on the table when I headed for the kitchen to feed the cats.  Flowers!  Presents!  Ribbons!  Pretty!

The round pink box contains Sees peppermint patties because they were all out of my favorite coconut bonbons.  He loves me so much he even knows my second favorite candy,

The square box contains the grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid mixer.  Rum balls are gonna be ever so much easier this year without needing to spend an hour hand-cranking the vanilla wafers through the old meat-grinder.  I am sorely tempted to make a sample batch just to see how it works.  And the knitting teas will have a lot more finely mixed sandwich spreads.  How very cool!
After breakfast, Pepper offered me the exquisite opportunity to rub her belly.  Is this a great birthday gift or what?  Who could resist that fluffy tummy?

Soon I will be joining a friend for breakfast.  I have bread rising in the microwave. (hey, after I made my tea, it was warm in there, and I know it was draft free.  It's not running, just being a a warm place.) After breakfast,, I am going to treat myself to a huge splurge.  I'm going to buy a new mascara!

Heide, the enchanting, adorable, generous sprite that she is, sent me a gift certificate from Dave Daniels Cabin Cove yarn store, and I bought his prettiest colors.

Earlier this week, LG took me out for lunch at a little deli near her job.  We sat in the window and laughed and feasted, sang happy birthday to me, and had, as always, a marvelous time.  Then the owner came out with a plate of sweets and delicacies on the house, and wished me happy birthday!  I felt like the blubird of happiness had built a nest in my hair!

Blogger and facebook has been full of good wishes, and the e-mails have made my heart hop up and down with joy.  I do SO enjoy my birthdays!

Tonight, Dinner with friends - Igor's birthday is Mar 3, ten years before mine.  Us pisces are such marvelous people!!

My birthday wish for you:  May you find happy surprises all around you, and may smiles light your way.

Edited later to add - What was I thinking?  I'm only 61.  Just a sprat - a whippersnapper - a callow girl.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Full day - maybe

I'm taking GED tests to the county jail this morning, then I have a job review, then I'll be filling in from 12 till 5 at the testing center.  At least it's no longer pitch black at 5 PM.  I hate driving in the dark.  (Betcha any number of women who have to take the bus would love to have that problem.)

Thursday, I will work from 8 til 1.  then I'm going home and bake some birthday cookies for myself.

And on Friday, I'm taking a friend to breakfast, then I'm sewing, then going out for dinner with other friends.  His birthday is the 3rd.  Mine is the 4th, ten years older.  And my favorite professor in college was born on the 5th, ten years older than that.  Us Pisces are nice people!!

And I am now publicly committing to starting our taxes on Sunday.  Please hold me to it.  I'm lazy and late this year.  It's so easy to forget.  And everything else is funner.  An entire afternoon playing solitaire with a deck of cards is funner than doing taxes.  The only thing less fun is the consequences for not doing them.  Sigh.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

post #1329

I made bread!  And it tastes like bread and it slices like bread and - and - and I am soooo proud!  DH is making sandwiches with my home-made bread and taking them to work.  Oh, success!
The roomba is a great success so far.  I just have to remember not to pile so much crap on the floor.  If I leave my boots in the middle of the living room, it spends a lot of time nudging them and wondering if it should try to climb over them or just shove them around.

Here is a shot of the back of the sofa, where the Roomba can not reach.  That is Ben's tail.  He is hiding just as hard as he can from that hideous cat-eating monster.