Thursday, May 28, 2015


It's a treat to visit Sue on so many levels.  The 17 years she has invested in her yard and garden envelope her house in a park environment.  I left here Monday morning at 8:00 and brought lunch, so we had plenty of time to sit on the back deck and spin until dinner.
But before we got started, Sue gave me the cook's tour.  She has worked for months, getting it ready for the Soroptomist's garden tour two weeks ago and 1,100 people visited over the two days,  She worked hard for months in preparation and it's reputation is well-earned.
Sue is her own landscaper, creating pockets of interest throughout her 3 1/2 acre oasis and she says she's running out of places to plant things.  I was experiencing my own little mini-retreat.
We stopped spinning and ate an early dinner because she had invited a group over for the evening.  It's been a while since we've all gotten together but we made up for lost time by talking and laughing over fiber, food and wine until 10:30.  We all kept remarking about how long it's been and now wonderful the evening was.
Lindsey showed us her spotty bunny with her dotty dress floppy ears.
I brought towels to sell at the tail-gate sale that was scheduled for before the guild meeting the next day, but the group wanted a preemptive viewing.  So they got one.  The next thing I knew there were towels all over the place.

Eva resolved the low lighting problem by using her iPhone flashlight.
The tail-gate sale was a success, followed by a program presented by Faye Schoolcraft who sculpts with raw wool.  This one is inspired by Jackson Pollock and uses thrums from Ingrid Knox.  Faye lives locally and will be offering classes.  I wish I lived locally!
She sculpted this bust from wool and her own hair that she'd saved from her hairbrush for three years.  
She also wet felts on a large scale.  I saw a sign-up sheet with a lot of names on it.  Clearly she had stirred up plenty of interest and there were groups of animated conversation when Sue and I slunk away.

The original purpose of the trip was to visit our friend Dee who is in hospice which we did that morning.  We had also managed to squeeze in a mid-day visit to see Jan Ever's remodeled house and get the full tour, and we were suddenly tired to death.  I didn't fall asleep until after 10:00 and then was back on the road first thing the next morning.

Today Ian and I are doing laundry and packing our suitcases.  Our friend Petey is driving up from from SoCal and will get here this afternoon.  Tomorrow morning we'll pile into our Forester and take off to spend a week with my two sons and their families in Bend, Oregon.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Point of Clarification

I thought it was ironic that the most recent issues of Time and National Geographic both had cover articles about medical marijuana at the same time my application for a medical marijuana card arrived.  And since I've received several questions I thought I'd clarify where I am in my recovery right now.

On September 29th it will be two years since I broke my neck.  I was put into physical therapy a couple months later while I was still wearing the neck brace, and I left physical in January with decreased mobility.  I tried yoga and massage therapy without change.  Last October I received a epidural cortisone shot in my neck which finally decreased the discomfort and improved my mobility - slightly.  I began acupuncture on November 4th and after weekly visits, I finally began to experience improvement, while all the time beginning each day with a microwavable heated pillow to  warm my neck muscles.

From the beginning both my GP and neurosurgeon have supported the use of medical marijuana to reduce the inflammation in my neck.  Dr Blake, the pain specialist who gave me the epidural last year, talked to me about the nature of inflamed neck muscles, saying that it's very difficult to turn that around since you really can never rest your neck.  It's not like you can take your head off.

 I purchased this cream on Etsy.  It's cannabis without THC and is made in Washington from hemp seed oil, however this small amount was $50 with shipping.  I've never smoked so that's not an option.  I tried my friend's pot Rx and experienced no relief but my lungs ached for the next week.  My docs think my best bet is an "edible" but there's a wide variety in cannabis strains and since no research has been permitted by the federal government, it's a crap shoot on how much to take - at bedtime, I'm assuming.  I'd also like to make my own topical cream.  There are recipes all over the Internet.  I've thrown away my Rx muscle relaxants because while they worked, they completely knocked me out.  Advil and ibuprofen killed my stomach.  

So that's why I'm applying for the card.  It's expensive!  I had to send a $25 check just to get the packet and have to send a $75 check when I return it.  Plus I have to visit my doctor which isn't covered by insurance, and I have to get it notarized.  And it must be renewed annually.

Ian and I jokingly call Maddie Nurse Kitty.  While I was in the hospital I asked Ian if I could have a kitty and that's how we can to have her.  She stayed right with me on the sofa for the six weeks before I was able to sleep in our bed again.
She still provides me endless amusement.  I've saved this box for her.  She's the one who turned in on its side and it's a much better fort this way.  She likes to give it a workout in the mornings and then ignores it the rest of the day.

This is what came in the box.  I'm a member of the Yarn Barn yarn club and couldn't resist this 8/2 unmercerized cotton priced at $8 a pound.
My plan is to use up my yarn ends, unifying them with these two colors. 
My plants were looking pretty peaked yesterday and since the rain has stopped, I spent the morning cleaning out beds and planting them.  They all seem to be going fine but it's the 13th and final plant that I'm worried about.  This tiny little thing inside the rabbit-guard cage is a butterfly bush that I ordered because it takes partial shade.
It's supposed to be 12' tall x 8' wide at maturity.  They warn you to give it room because it will be huge.  I can't imagine what I was thinking.  We live on the side of a mountain and the area that was cut out for the house and yard doesn't have much space left.  The plant will be fine for now but I may have to move it later.  I'm leaving for Grass Valley this morning and will be there for a couple of days, and then when I get back, we're going to Oregon for a week so I just needed to get it in the ground or lose it altogether. 

These are my most recent towels.  I'm staying with my friend Sue who has invited me to attend her guild meeting tomorrow evening and participate in a tailgate sale prior to that.  I am really looking forward to this visit and the chance with visit with friends.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Into Each Life.....

This is how my plants arrived over a week ago.  I've learned the hard way that the most successful plants in our garden are the ones I ordered through High Country Gardens.
I put the little guys from this order in the garage after I opened them up and let them breathe, and this is where they still are.
These shade-tolerant plants are to replace sun-loving plants that didn't survive the shade from our growing trees.  Using the physical catalog it took me forever to select them for the right size, color, rabbit resistance and shade tolerance.  Then I'd go into their online catalog to see what was available.  Since I was ordering a month after they started shipping plants, just about half of what I selected was sold out.
The problem is that it started raining right after the plants arrived and has rained for over a week.  The ground is completely saturated and it's not possible to put anything in the ground.  I thought it would be a good time to divide the day lilies but I sank into the mud.  Ian says the bottom of our driveway looks like an alluvial fan, but it's faring better than many others and some are impassable.

I've lived here for 40 years and have ever seen anything like this.  It's raining in the Sierras too so I suspect that's the end of what snow pack there was.  Although it's a week of rain, I doubt it's going to affect the drought significantly.  It's cool enough for a woodstove fire but we've gone through all our dry wood and now have to run the furnace, which doesn't produce the same kind of satisfying heat.

I chose these colors to chase away the gloomy day blues and used the my blocks and stripes pattern in turned taquete.  They're pretty but don't have the Mission-style look of the jewel-tone towels I submitted to the magazine contest.
My application for a medical marijuana card came yesterday.  The application process alone is a $100 so I hope this is worth it.  The application is about seven pages long, sad a page for my doctor to fill out and must be notarized.  The dispensaries don't open until August but I guess I had better get cracking in the meantime.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Books, Books, Books

It's been a while since I've written about books so have decided to use this post to practice my cut and paste skills.  A Toshiba tech is going to call me back this afternoon to see if the problem of a disappearing cursor pointer has been resolved, and it appears it has.

Canterbury Sisters by Kim Wright:  I read this before it was published but since it was released yesterday, I'm including it. It's a journey based on the Canterbury Tales of a group of women who are strangers to each, taking this trek with a hired guide to work out issues in their personal lives.  It's chick lit with an average rating of 4.05 in GoodReads.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins:  This is an entertaining little romp with a surprise ending.  Good for a rainy afternoon.

Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon:  This is another book I read as a prepub. I have read very little spy/espionage fiction in my lifetime so I don't know why I requested this title from NetGalley.  I enjoyed this thoroughly.  Set in Cold-War East Berlin, I was reminded of Mad Magazine's "Spy vs Spy" comic strip.  A German exile from the US after being caught in a McCarthy trap, is enlisted to help gather information by a childhood friend who is unaware that the Americans would like the same from him.  The last book I read on this subject was Armageddon by Leon Uris which was equally fascinating.  Read both!

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows:  I also received this from NetGalley and looked forward to reading it with relish because I had adored The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society.  The first half was entertaining and read like I would have expected.  The second half was a confused mess.  Overall I was disappointed.

Dead Wake:  The last crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson:  Larson braids several stories together here, that of President Wilson, the German submarine service, the individuals who took the trip and the confusion within the British navy.  It's eminently readable though The Devil in the White City is by far my favorite of his.  It's also shorter.

Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte:  Tarte is a journalist whose specialty is World Beat music.  The subject of this book however is the avian menagerie that he and his wife assemble after they moved to a small farm in  upstate Michigan.  He has had a history of anxiety and neuroses and the subtext is his journey through Zoloft and off of it, making friends with himself in the process.  It's a quick read with laugh-out-loud moments.

Monday, May 18, 2015

In with the New

I killed my computer Tuesday so Ian and I gathered information and by Wednesday had selected my replacement option.  Kevin Kelly, the editor of Cool Tools, says he considered Costco to be his personal shopper.  He trusts their research so when he needs to buy something, he buys it from them and that's exactly what we did.  We ordered this Toshiba with a terabyte of memory and 12 gb of Ram on Wednesday and UPS delivered it Friday after lunch.  There were absolutely no instructions included and since this is the new Windows 8.1 operating system with touch screen and all new menus, it's been an intense past couple of days.  Ian succeeded in recovering all my photos from the back-up drive and they're now installed here.  I bought a new back-up drive too.

The disappointing thing was that Office 2013 does not include Outlook.  It did come with an email account through but it only supports an iMap but not a pop account.  I have had the same pop email account for 12 years and was not interested in replacing it in the middle of this mess.  I only learned this after I called the Costco Concierge service who connected me with an Microsoft tech.  I had to buy Outlook for $109.99 or replace my email - those were my options.  So I bought it and she logged on to my computer and installed it for me.  When it didn't work, I called my ISP's help line and he corrected the ports and logged in as me, cleaned up the misinformation and now I finally have email.  I wish I liked the operating system as well as I like the computer.  The most annoying thing is the virtual keyboard that pops up every time I touch the screen to identify the spot where I want to type when I'm making a correction.

About weaving - I cut the warp off Arthur.  Now is not the time for an ugly frustrating warp.  I also finished the towels that were on Maudie Mae so have two naked looms again.  Meanwhile, somewhere in the middle of all of this, my contract arrive from Handwoven which I was able to print from my iPad and return.

Now I'm going to spend some more time trying to figure out the things that befuddle me about this computer, like how to highlight, copy and paste and especially how to get rid of the annoying virtual keyboard.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015



Yesterday morning I placed an order for more yarn and yesterday evening I killed my laptop, which I need for blogging. I hope to replace it tomorrow and get myself back up to speed soon. For a time Blogsy worked as a third party app, permitting me to write blog posts from my iPad, but the last couple of times I've been unable to get it to upload - hope this simple post won't overwhelm the system. My guess is that I'm caught in the middle of the Apple and Microsoft antipathy - operating system wars are us!


Friday, May 08, 2015

Doing and Undoing

My Schacht weaving bench arrived in this small but very heavy box - actually it wasn't a bench but all the pieces needed to assemble a bench.  It took me quite a while to get it together, partly because I had to Google for images of the hardware.   They said I had four carriage bolts and four truss head machine screws but I had a hard time telling the difference between a lot of the hardware included.
I really like except for one thing.  It was option to slant the top or keep it flat.  I'm tall, and since the Gilmore bench is slanted and I like it, I opted to set this bench at a slant.  I don't know what the difference is but I keep sliding off the front and am going to have to take the time next week to undo it and make the top flat.  I dragged the Gilmore bench out and am pleased with the space it has left behind.  I really don't think I need a second bench.  This one is solid but it's also easy to move it from one loom to the other.  I'm taking the Gilmore bench up to my son's the end of the month for a complete overhaul and then I think I'll sell it.  We also put my Dorset workshop loom in the car this afternoon for the learn-to-weave class tomorrow.  I was surprised that the bench weighs more than the loom!

Since I was putting another short warp on I decided to give the flat lease sticks another try.  Getting them tied on was a little awkward on Arthur because he's 40" wide and one end kept falling while I tied the other.
I must say that the flat lease sticks are a clear winner over the round ones attached to the breast beam.  I like being able to see the cross.
I got frustrated trying to find the pairs and sley them so put the second bout in my hand.  Within five minutes it was done and much neater.  I've decided that when warping no more than two threads per dent, dressing the loom from the front with the cross in my hand is the method for me.  More than two warps per dent really needs to be warped from the back with a raddle and lease sticks.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
This is not what I had expected!
I triple checked the tie-up and kept staring at the draft, willing it to tell me what I was missing.  And then the obvious hit me.  It's a two-color weave and I only warped one color.  So I unwove and spent some time looking through the 8-shaft drafts in Strickler's book.  I've found one that I've been wanting to try anyway and will only have to change the tie-up.  Always the beginner.  The only good thing I can say is that mistakes no longer strike fear into my heart.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Spring Wildflowers

I saw these on my walk this morning for the first time in the 13 years we've lived here.  Our wildflower book calls them Desert Evening Primrose.
It says that each flower blooms for only one night and then it will wither in the light of day.  But as the flowers dry, they turn pink and lavender making almost a bouquet on each plant.
I think it's astounding how they can grow in dry sandy soil.
The primrose are in a neighbor's yard.  We have Crane's Bill in ours, like we've never had it before.  The good news is that it's a ground cover of sorts and seems to have crowded out the nasty and highly flammable Tumble Mustard.  The bad news is that it's a sticker.  It's name comes from those spikes, because they look like the bill of a crane when held sideways.  However, each one of those spikes when it dries will produce four stickers.  Our poor dogs.
I also saw lupine for the first time this year.
We have a few Desert Peach, but where it normally punctuates the sagebrush landscape in May with splashes of pink, there is just a smattering.  The early spring weather last month followed by a week of killer frost was a game changer.  
I finished my laprobe from our Shetland wether Ollie.  I thought the brown was Shetland but it's something else, without the typical Shetland luster.  I was disappointed the light brown stripe so took it my guild meeting yesterday.  They suggested a closer sett or a thicker yarn, but they all liked it the way it is.  I have plenty more yarn where this came from :)  Our final meeting of the 2014-2015 guild year was a combination dye day and death by chocolate.  Oh my, did we have lots of both and you can read about it here.  
And I also finished the scarf from novelty yarn warp and plain weave weft.  It's nothing to write home about and I've decided in the future to use a yarn like this in combination with something else.  It would be a whole lot more interesting.  I'm already planning a mixed warp using Tom Knisely's method of designing in the reed.
I got this warp on Maudie Mae last week and have secured it on the breast beam with lease sticks using these fancy holders that Melissa gave me a long time ago.  I haven't used them in years and thought it was time to try them again.
I've decided to take a break from the studio for a couple of days.  I hung my sun catchers in the tree after breakfast and then cleaned out the flower bed a little.  We planted this bed over ten years ago when it was in full sun, but we have lost some of our sun-loving plants as the trees have grown and created shade.  I spent an hour on the front porch with my High County Gardens catalog and have made a list of plants to order tomorrow, xeric plants that tolerate partial shade and are also browse resistant to rabbits.   It took a while but I'm ready to place my order when they are open tomorrow.