Thursday, August 27, 2009

End-of-Summer gardens

We have been struggling with gophers all summer long! Even though our home is in the suburbs near Los Angeles -the Santa Monica Mountains- it borders an arroyo (creek) and with that comes all the life that happens around any body of water. We have a lot of frogs, squirrels, rats (yuck), owls, hawks, snakes, coyotes etc that wander through the property at one point or another.
Anyway, back to the gopher issue...over the spring the city was working on the other side of the creek and the sewers and I think all the pounding drove the ground animals to our side of the water to get some relief! Naturally they found my yard especially fun with an abundance of chicken food, vegetables, water, and stupid dogs who have no idea what they SHOULD bark at, a haven indeed. The garden was been totally disrupted with gophers digging holes, I had to plant tomatoes in big pots that I dropped into the ground (not too successful), the brick pathways started sinking in from the tunnels. I couldn't even grow a darned squash plant. So Robert called the gopher exterminator, and even that didn't work. He was certain it was because of the mess in my vegetable garden that the exterminator couldn't find the tunnels...I disagree but what difference does that make? So he spent 2 evenings after work clearing out my entire vegetable looks horrible...just a bunch of dirt. But I'm already fighting against it and replanting things.
We did get to harvest some goodies are pictures...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

grooming the bunnies

Riley believes in reading to her bunnies!

I bought two beautiful angora bunnies back in January from a nice lady up in Oregon. We picked them up on a trip to drive Jillian home for her final semester at college (yes if you've paid attention she is now living back down here). The white bunny is named Snowball and the black one is Midnight, Riley named them. They are very sweet and like to bounce around our house a bit. I haven't gathered that much fluff from them yet but here are pictures of Riley & and w/ Midnight.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

what do you do all day?

A long time ago I homeschooled my children...
One day at ballet class another child asked my youngest daughter the inevitable question "what school do you go to?" Upon hearing the answer the other little girl proclaimed loftily, "what do you do all tv!" My daughter was very upset by this comment, she just wanted to make a new friend. I tried not to be upset by that attitude myself. Neither of us could imagine a day that wasn't filled with reading, gardening, knitting, playing piano, sewing, dancing so many things! There weren't enough hours in the day for all the things we wanted to do! We did own tv's and even had cable, but the tv's were rarely on!

Now my kids are adults, they've all been to college, the daughter mentioned has a BFA in Fine Arts and they live very full lives, sometimes hard, sometimes easy. And the subject here is how I now fill my days at home.

Now for show & tell!!!

I'm weaving a chinelle scarf, see how the really bright cobalt weft becomes more subdued by the navy & indigo warp?

I'm plying a hand dyed wool silk strand with a plain white blue faced leicester wool strand.

And that was only before 9:30am!! I might watch tv later if I have time! LOL

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Think about your health care and READ up on it! Don't believe sound bites!!

The health care fight has turned ugly, fast. And lies about reform are spreading via anonymous email chains. Here are the real facts that you need to know:

Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back
Lie #1: President Obama wants to euthanize your grandma!!!

The truth: These accusations—of "death panels" and forced euthanasia—are, of course, flatly untrue. As an article from the Associated Press puts it: "No 'death panel' in health care bill."1 What's the real deal? Reform legislation includes a provision, supported by the AARP, to offer senior citizens access to a professional medical counselor who will provide them with information on preparing a living will and other issues facing older Americans.2

Lie #2: Democrats are going to outlaw private insurance and force you into a government plan!!!

The truth: With reform, choices will increase, not decrease. Obama's reform plans will create a health insurance exchange, a one-stop shopping marketplace for affordable, high-quality insurance options.3 Included in the exchange is the public health insurance option—a nationwide plan with a broad network of providers—that will operate alongside private insurance companies, injecting competition into the market to drive quality up and costs down.4 If you're happy with your coverage and doctors, you can keep them.5 But the new public plan will expand choices to millions of businesses or individuals who choose to opt into it, including many who simply can't afford health care now.

Lie #3: President Obama wants to implement Soviet-style rationing!!!

The truth: Health care reform will expand access to high-quality health insurance, and give individuals, families, and businesses more choices for coverage. Right now, big corporations decide whether to give you coverage, what doctors you get to see, and whether a particular procedure or medicine is covered—that is rationed care. And a big part of reform is to stop that.

Health care reform will do away with some of the most nefarious aspects of this rationing: discrimination for pre-existing conditions, insurers that cancel coverage when you get sick, gender discrimination, and lifetime and yearly limits on coverage.6 And outside of that, as noted above, reform will increase insurance options, not force anyone into a rationed situation.

Lie #4: Obama is secretly plotting to cut senior citizens' Medicare benefits!!!

The truth: Health care reform plans will not reduce Medicare benefits.7 Reform includes savings from Medicare that are unrelated to patient care—in fact, the savings comes from cutting billions of dollars in overpayments to insurance companies and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse.8

Lie #5: Obama's health care plan will bankrupt America!!!

The truth: We need health care reform now in order to prevent bankruptcy—to control spiraling costs that affect individuals, families, small businesses, and the American economy. Right now, we spend more than $2 trillion dollars a year on health care.9 The average family premium is projected to rise to over $22,000 in the next decade10—and each year, nearly a million people face bankruptcy because of medical expenses.11 Reform, with an affordable, high-quality public option that can spur competition, is necessary to bring down skyrocketing costs. Also, President Obama's reform plans would be fully paid for over 10 years and not add a penny to the deficit.12

P.S. Want more? Check out this great new White House "Reality Check" website: or this excellent piece from Health Care for America Now on some of the most outrageous lies:

1. "No 'death panel' in health care bill," Associated Press, August 10, 2009.

2. "Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care," Huffington Post, July 24, 2009.

3. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 11, 2009.

4. "Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan," Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.

5. "Obama: 'If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor,'" Wall Street Journal, 15, 2009.

6. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

7. "Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform," CNN, July 28, 2009.

8. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

9. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

10. "Premiums Run Amok," Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.

11. "Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies," CNN, June 5, 2009.

12. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

Sources for the Five Lies:
#1: "A euthanasia mandate," The Washington Times, July 29, 2009.

#2: "It's Not An Option," Investor's Business Daily, July 15, 2009.

#3: "Rationing Health Care," The Washington Times, April 21, 2009.

#4: "60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation," Media Matters for America, August 8, 2009.

#5: "Obama's 'Public' Health Plan Will Bankrupt the Nation," The National Review, May 13, 2009.

Monday, August 10, 2009

handknit socks

On a trip to San Francisco, while my sister was still married to her 2nd husband, I discovered Nancy Bush's book Folk Socks. This must have been a new book at the time. I can't remember how long ago that was -I do remember my children were still living at home and my sister was w/ the 2nd man...wait the wonders of the internet- it was 1994 when I first became enamored of sock knitting!

Was it really 15 years ago that I knit my first sock?

Being of a lazy nature I remember browsing the book looking for which pattern required the largest needles (Lithuanian Amber Socks #4 needles), although I eventually did knit that pair of socks for some reason I decided to start with "A Classic Sock." I purchased my first skein of sock yarn, a blue and white flecked wool, and a set bamboo #2 double point needles. From the minute I cast on I didn't want to stop to do anything else! I believe it was a Thanksgiving weekend, I sat it the window of my sister's kitchen knitting away, I was of little help. Her husband questioned me on why I wanted to knit socks in a bemused manner, my husband for some reason understood me. It was the same weekend that we discovered the Internet! Monumental! It should be a national holiday...oh wait it is, but not for the same reasons. By the time we left I had finish one sock and I couldn't believe how energized that sock made my foot feel. My feet had to take turns getting energy from it. And all I ever wanted to do was make socks and wear homemade socks every day of my life. The joy of discovery is a wonderful thing.

Since that time I have continued to knit many pairs of socks, repaired holes in worn socks, lost socks, knit them out of all kinds of yarn, handspun, and store bought. I even wrote my own sock knitting manual for my sock knitting class at Anacapa Fine Yarns where I taught many others how to knit socks. Hopefully many of those students became infected with the sock enthusiasm too. I still have that pair of blue socks in my stash somewhere, I should zig zag the bottom of the cuff on my sewing machine, cut the feet off, and use them as cuff warmers. If I find them I will do that!

What brought me to think of socks this morning is an article in Cast On magazine (the official publication of the Knitting Guild Association) on knitting socks from the toe up. This is something I have not yet done though I have every intention of doing it. It states in the article that experienced sock knitters have definite preferences for types of needles they use for sock knitting! Although I'm sure many sock knitters do have a preference, I must say that I do NOT! I love the classic technique of using the double pointed needles as well as the flexibility of using 2 circular needles...ok...maybe I lied! I HATE the magic loop or whatever it's called, I find having to pull the needle cable through the knitting periodically downright wonky! Ugh! OK no offense intended if this is your preferred method, please don't write me any hate mail!

Unfortunately I believe my lack of allegiance to one particular type of needle over the other made my class somewhat confusing to the sock students. I wanted them to know about all the methods without prejudice (yes even the magic loop) and I brought them samples of the different methods and offered to teach them to use any method the wanted. Maybe I should have had separate classes for separate methods. I didn't realize at the time that too much information can be confusing. And although, I have a brain that likes to know all the choices first not everyone does.

I have so much to do this week! I have to try to remember my ATS basics before going off to take the Teacher Training course from Carolena Nericchio. If you take belly dance from me or have ever, you know that I teach a combination of ATS, our sisterhood/she'enedra fusion improv, and just belly dance I need to revive the purity of ATS in my mind this week. I am behind on the usual, the house looks like a bomb went off in it (I like to exaggerate) and I have to finish our pirate choreography...just to name a few of the things I should and will be doing while pining over dreams of starting some toe up socks!

Check out this article on sock knitting and sock summit that happened in Portland Oregon this passed weekend (sad I didn't get to go )