Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Solstice

It's been almost a week since the party to watch the Al Gore dvd, and that was an interesting evening. There were 6 people who came, and first we connected to the website for a message from Mr. Gore and then a Q&A. It was good to spend a few hours with kindred spirits, but as i said before, it was like preaching to the choir. It does tend to get one focused on the global warming issue again and to exchange thoughts and ideas about what individuals can actually do to have an effect on the problem. We got almost to the end of the movie before we lost power again... but it was only out for about an hour.

And today begins the return of the light and signifies to me the new beginnings in the cycle of the earth. hey, happy solstice and return of the light... yippee! We are going to McMenimen's Grand Lodge in FG tonight... live music celebration of solstice. Solstice is always kinda bitter sweet because the 22nd was when my mom died 13 years ago. i remember that day.... Mom was in ICU, unconscious and not responsive. The sun came out for a while and shone thru the hospital window onto her pillow, and i started talking to her about the return of the light and the days getting longer. I was standing at the head of her bed and stroking her hair, and looked down to see a tear rolling down her face. She was so much a sunshine person and had a difficult time getting through the shorter and dreary days of winter. She always started dreaming and drooling over her seed catalogs the week after xmas, and had her garden planned by early January. She waited that day til my sister, Robin, arrived from Tenn, and all her kids were there around her, and then her spirit left.

it is later now... and we enjoyed the live music. The group of 3 included a harp, guitar and bass and they sang mostly Celtic music. It was lovely and i'm really happy we went. The leader of the group, Lauren Sheehan, will be at the Grand Lodge once every month until May, and we plan to go again!

Bring on the light... I'm so ready!

Friday, December 15, 2006

powered up again

We were only out of power for about 19 hours, which makes us part of the fortunate few! There are homes all over the northwest which may be without electricity for days. That was a vicious wind storm with 100mph wind along the Oregon coast and several major highways were closed today because of fallen trees across them. DIL Kate called today and said they had lots of downed trees on their property east of Seattle, but none damaged their home or cars... whew. They do have a small power generator to run the pump so they have water from the well, as well as use of a small microwave... but that's all. If the kids get too bored without their tv, computers, video games, lights, etc, they'll be heading down this way for the weekend.

Tomorrow night we are hosting a MoveOn-organized viewing of Al Gore's DVD An Inconvenient Truth. There are 12 people from the neighborhood signed up to come... and I don't know where the hell we're going to seat them... our TV room is quite small. Maybe it will seem bigger when I get my fiber stuff moved out of there
(2 spinning wheels and 3 big plastic containers full of fiber and yarn). That should make room for about 4 or 5 chairs, not that my stash runneth over..

can't tell you how happy I am to have electricity again. was not looking forward to my pioneer woman routine. Yes, i'm very spoiled now and have become a delicate flower... but I did too much of that pioneer shit back in the "old days", when we heated with the woodstove, the power went out several times every winter, had to fix meals on the stove by candlelight, take care of sheep and lambing with no lights in the barn, and it snowed a lot back in those days. I'd rather be spoiled!

Power less

that's without power. huge windstorm last night in the pacific northwest, many trees down and power lines hangin' all over the place. we are lucky in that we have a wood stove, tho we haven't used it much since we got the heat pump. anyway, i'll have to see if i remember my pioneer woman skills for cooking on the woodstove. my computer is down to the last hour on its battery, so i'll be without it soon... sigh...

that's all for now. will check in again when we are powered again and power-full

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A New Project

(like I need a new project!!) When I did my excursion to NW Wools in Portland on Tuesday, I found a new book which I spent a lot of time with and was not able to talk myself out of having. (and I do need another book like I need a new project) This one really appealed to me... AlterKNITS written by Leigh Radford. It is filled with ideas and projects which kind of call out my creativity and my muse. There are really inspirational quotes, many of which strike a chord with me, and it's not all sugar-y sweetness! (that stuff annoys the hell out of me!) (but in a literal sense, wouldn't it be a good thing to have the hell annoyed right out of you/me??) Anyway, there are several projects which I might try... and today I got myself armed for the first one... felted bags. And these are done the easy way... the buy-a-wool-sweater-at-goodwill-and-felt-it way. I have resisted the call to get on the bandwagon for knitting a huge piece and then throwing it in the washer to shrink it down to felt, and make a bag. This method is remarkably simpler and less labor intensive. There is already one sweater in the washer, and this one has a hood on it, which if all goes well, i will use for making a pocket on the outside of the bag! I really had no idea how difficult it would be to find an All Wool sweater in a pleasing color... so there was a lot a pawing thru the racks before i scored 2 likely bag candidates. Stay tuned for photos...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


yeehaw! It's looking like there is a possibility I'll be going to SAFF next fall. Jim has been wanting to go to the Outer Banks in NC, and we've discovered that our vacation time share has a place there... so, we'd go in Oct.... and SAFF is Oct. 26, 27 and 28, '07. And, if I'm in that part of the country, i'd most certainly need to go to TN to see Lynne and some twisted friends. Ahhhh, the planning has just begun! and making plans for a vacation is a wonderful way to see past the gloomy, grey, rainy days of this time of year. AND, just 8 days til Winter Solstice and the days start getting longer! ahhhh...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

returning to real life

well, it took a really long time to recover from that trip back from Crete... must be the age thing. wasn't able to sleep longer than 2 hours as a time, then awake, but not awake enough to get up and do something. that kind of sleep schedule doesn't do much for reviving my (alleged) brain cells. and finally last week my muse kicked in and i got my studio up and running again, started pouring dye on fibers again... and whoooopee... feelin' groovy (Here you should picture Snoopy dancing around and singin') So, a bunch of fibers got labeled and taken to NW Wools today to fill in some gaps in the fiber room... actually, not so much "gaps" as bare nekkid shelves. And now I have some superwash merino/tencel to work on next and will put some up on the fiber blog soon as i can.

holiday plans are beginning to shape up. My sister, Robin, arrives 12/25 from TN about noonish, many of the local family will come for the afternoon and dinner, no family from the seattle area will be here and we'll miss 'em. This is actually the very first time I won't be spending xmas with my very dear son, Chris... but his kids are at the age where they really want and need to stay home and play with the loot that santa leaves, and not be piled into the car and driven to portland for the chaos of family events at Kate's mom's and here! maybe next year we can plan it so that Jim and I can go up there for xmas.

Jim and I will celebrate Winter Solstice by decorating with greens cut from the many fir trees around here, lots of candles and then will go to a live music solstice celebration at McMennimen's Grand Lodge in Forest Grove. We decided not to put up a tree this year, and i'll probably just bring up a few decorations from the stash in the basement. Maybe we should build a big fire and initiate the raki still... hmmmm...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

our sweet dawgs!

We retrieved the dogs from "doggie camp" (please don't ever tell them that it's a boarding kennel!) on Friday. Actually, it is more like a camp, with all the love and attention they receive, than like any kennel I've ever seen! Today I received photo files of our little dears in their deer antlers holiday attire. Here is Tasha looking like a "deer in the headlights". She was probably loving every minute of the attention, even tho she doesn't really look like it...
and then there's Meika, who we are told was not very cooperative about sitting still while wearing the antlers. I'm quite sure she'd much rather be wearing the tiara she feels she is entitled to...

The doggie camp is actually the kennel at Project Pooch in Woodburn, OR I'm pretty certain that I've described this program earlier on this blog, but here's the description from their webpage:
"Project POOCH, Inc., is a non-profit, 501c(3) organization that has successfully paired youths incarcerated at the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon, with homeless shelter dogs for over a decade.

Youths (guided by professionals) learn to train the dogs, groom them, and find them new adoptive “forever homes.” The dogs leave the program ready to be great pets, while their trainers re-enter the community with new job and personal skills and increased compassion and respect for all life."

As I understand it, there has been zero recidavism with the youth who have been involved with the program... which I think is remarkable!! We adopted Tasha from Project Pooch, and were delighted to find her and get a dog who needed a home and who we knew something about

Friday, November 24, 2006

home again

arrived at pdx a little after midnight, about 27 or 28 hours after crawling out of bed in Vamos, Crete. i'm feeling grateful to all deities that it was an uneventful trip .. tho with a lot of sitting around in airports waiting for connections...AND our luggage made it here at the same time we did, which is rather miraculous considering it had to be transferred 4 times!!

more later. feeling quite sleep deprived as i don't sleep on airplanes!!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

and it's only 7p.m.

this has been an interesting and full day! we got up in time to say good bye to Pam and Larry as their taxi picked them up at 8am. And Pam is sick as a dawg with some godawful cold/flu thing.. and i don't envy her next day and 1/2 as she goes back to Thailand with a couple of layovers in various airports (some of which are as long as 7 hours!) So, since i'd not gotten a full night sleep, i came home and went back to bed for an hour or so. It was difficult to tell Pam good-bye as i don't know when we'll be together again. she and Larry will go to Malaysia in Jan. to stay for a few months and she doesn't really have any plans for going back to the US. we've been friends for about 25 years... and she's the person who taught me to spin way back then... and it's always hard to part with good friends when you don't know when you'll meet again. so, ok, after i got up again, i went back down to their house to see if they'd left anything and to enjoy the sun on their balcony for a few minutes. that is really a sweet balcony!! happy i am that Elena let me keep the key to that house so i can enjoy the balcony for the next few sunny days. So... we then decided to go see the art exhibit at Bloumosifi. One of the waiters, Nikos, has come up with a brilliant exhibit of photos he's taken of the grafiti of Athens. it really is a thought provoking and artful exhibit!! There are 2 or 3 of them that i'd love to purchase... but don't think it will happen. So... then we went to the office and talked to Elena and Toine and looked at the new brochure that they have put together for promotion of Vamos SA... it is really a classy publication. So.. then as we were walking home, i asked Jim if he'd like to go to Liakoto Cafe for an ouzo, and he of course said yes! so... after we'd admired the view from the balcony for awhile, we sat down for the ouzo, and Xanthippi came and sat with us. we started talking about Greek mythology and Cretan ancient history, and Artemi (her man and our "landlord") came in. after another hour of so, hunger set in and we all decided to go find something to eat... so we went to Armenoi to what is apparently a very popular restaurant... there were many families there ahead of us... so it was at least an hour before we ate. it was worth waiting for... delicious meal... first a huge salad of shredded cabbage, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, green peppers, carrots and with a sprinkling of chopped dill and fennel, with light olive oil and vinegar dressing. and there was... fried cheese balls, courgette balls (zucchini with cheese), tzitziki, chicken from the grill, schnitzel, lamp chops (lamb really) (it just comes out as "lamp" on Greek menus)... entirely too much to finish it all! So, here we are back home again. Jim just went out to get the rest of our days here lined up. Tomorrow we will go to Hania, Tuesday he will go to gather olives with Georgios and Tues. night we'll go to Elena and Toine's to cook a meal with them. Wed. a.m. we'll have coffee with Stella and prob. dinner with Alex and Marina. and then on thurs. a.m. Manolis the taxi man will take us to Hania and we'll start our way back home again!

and a couple of days ago, we went to the old Karides Monastery and then to Kalives with Pam and Larry. In Kalives, there was a sign in a taverna that i could not resist taking a photo of:
kalives taverna sign
Jim and Larry had to wet their feet in the Aegean (Cretan Sea):
kalives beach3
and then the monastery at Kalives... that's a whole photo study unto itself, but here's Jim relaxing in the sun and enjoying the music (chanting) they were playing there:
karides jim
and just because the Karides monastery is such a magical mystical place...
some of the trees have lost their leaves, the hybiscus is blooming madly and the sky if bluer than you can imagine... totally unedited photo...
the 12 arches of the ancient olive oil factory at Karides
karides arches2
and the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) with just a skiff of snow

Saturday, November 18, 2006


with a few notable exceptions (thank you!!) we've heard so little from home and been able to get so little in the way of updates, that we thought for awhile that our neighborhood had been flooded out and all our family and friends had been flooded away, too. we finally made a couple of phone calls (at $1.49/minute) and feel better, except that the moon and planets must be in some nasty alignment because my inner hermit is wailin' like a banshee! and now that i've got my whining out of the way, i'll go out for dinner now with some people i really love, drink some of that strong cretan wine, some raki and eat hearty. after all, i'm trying to pack on even more fat to keep me warm this winter. maybe i'll hibernate!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Life in Vamos, Crete

We have had more warm and sunny days than not, and are of course grateful for that especially when we read about the torrential downpours and flooding in the northwest US. Pam and Larry are here visiting from Thailand and I think Pam has fallen in love with Crete all over again, and Larry loves it, too! The house they are renting is really sweet and bright and has a great balcony! There are photo ops around every corner... so i've been taking advantage of that!

here's Pam in her little house:fabrica3
fabrica1-Pam's house
the balcony is really nice, tho there is no privacy as the balconies from adjoining houses are right there connected.. this is a view from the Liakoto Cafe:
fabrica balcony from liakoto cafe
and this is the view as you sit on their balcony eating sweets from the pastry shop in the afternoon sun!
on balcony2

if you look closely, you can see sheep on this hillside. When seen up close, they look rather scruffy and the wool looks very coarse and straight. I haven't tried to get my hands on any. I'm more interested in getting another chunk of wood to have a drop spindle made. It will probably be eucalyptus this time (have brought home olive and cypress wood for spindles)
sheep (from liakoto)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

yarn acquisitions

In Florence I found a lovely yarn shop and bought some yarn for hats (or ?). Have already made one hat... which took one ball of yarn, plus some white w/flecks of color handspun and about a yard of a 2nd ball:
Florence yarn hat
the bottom 2 are the ones i bought in Venice and the plan is a scarf, using a pattern from It's a lace pattern and i can't remember the name of it.
italy yarn stash

and, unrelated to yarn... today we went to Gavalahori, a near by village, with Elena and Toine for drinks and meze (food... snacks)
Toine and Elena
and then a more serious photo of Elena and Toine
Toine and Elena serious

Saturday, November 04, 2006

more from Rome and Assisi

the crowds in Rome (well, everywhee we went in Italy!!) were huge. Almost everyone had a cell phone in hand and/or cigarette. This is a view of the crowd around Trevi Fountain, which doesn't even begin to tell the story:
crowds at trevi

we went to St. Peter's Square and planned to go into the Basilica... however, a billion other people in a line a mile long had the same plan. We decided not to wait. This is a view of the square (which actually looks round to me...)
St Peter's Square

2 monks were in the square engaged in very intense conversation with a couple:
monks at st. pete's

Friday, November 03, 2006

more Italy

this is another view of the magnificent San Francesco Cathedral at Assisi. There are 2 complete, ornate, decorated with frescos, paintings and statues, churches here, one on top of the other. And tho it was raining hard, the crowds of people going in and waiting to go in, were huge.

the street where our B and B (Palloma Hotel) was located

another street in Assisi

In Rome, at the Borghese Palace estate, where we walked for hours. The museum we wanted to see there had reservations through the next week and we were disappointed to not be able to go in there. Jim really wanted to see Bernini's "David"..

one of the many columns and "decorations" around the grounds of the Borghese Estate

this is the view from our room at the B&B in Rome... which is actually lots nicer looking than our room. The room did, however, have a private bath with nice shower. This B&B was actually 4 bedrooms in a large apartment building, the breakfast being a "pass" to breakfast at the corner cafe, which was a favorite spot of the locals.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Italy photos

We got lucky and have a wireless connection now at our house!! bravo... Don't know how much travel journal i'll do as i'm sharing a computer with Jim (his) and don't know how much time i'll get with it. but here's a few photos:
this is the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome

and a woman fishing coins out of the famous Trevi Fountain! just couldn't reist taking a photo of her!

pigeon perched in Trevi Fountain

From Rome we took a train to Assisi of Saint Francis fame. Stayed at a wonderful B&B there, which was the best one we stayed in in Italy. and the location was very picturesque... on a steep, narrow cobblestone street surrounded by other very old buildings:

a view of the huge cathedral in Assisi:

Thursday, October 12, 2006

pink flamingos (or is it -oes?)

and i guess i dont care enough to look up the plural of flamingo. here's Zylie clutching one of the softer treasures from my pink flamingo collection...

the guest bathroom is my shrine to the pink flamingo and is adorned with the pink bird!!, funny looking bobbily ones, tiles, candle holders, caricature types and this one plush beauty. I've found Zylie in the past standing on the counter and reaching for this particular treasure on the top shelf, so when she very sweetly asked if she could please hold "that fagingo", i just couldn't refuse. and to help distract her later from an impending melt-down i suggested that she should take the bird home with her and bring it back next trip. what she doesn't know is that it would hardly be missed here and she can keep it if she bonds with it!

Zylie and Kate were here for the family faux thanksgiving dinner on saturday. Chris and Alex were both sick so didn't make the trip down. and dome central was rockin'!
i think we ended up with about 20 relatives and their friends/spouses. i fixed a ham and salad, both of which were taken care of before anyone arrived... which is a good thing... Dinah and Jonica needed space for creating their greens and feta dish (which was deeelightful) and Jen and Maggie had a huge salad to put together, so the kitchen was buzzin' and ended up (as usual) being the main gathering place. wish i'd taken some pics so i'd have recent family photos to take to Crete. seems people are always interested in seeing family and home surroundings. i got quite a few good ones of the grapes to show our wine-making friends in Vamos! so, why have tgiving in october? well... we won't be back til late night nov. 23, Dinah can't come down, Bud and Lynda will be in Idaho... so it seemed like a grand idea. and, oh baby, was i wiped out on sunday! tho i did need to revive myself for the sunday activities... 3 friends came out to pick grapes with Jim, then crush them... and of course needed refreshment afterward... and i needed to do a hostessy things with wine and cheese and bread and olives. it was tasty. the nap afterward was pretty good, too.

time is getting short before leaving for Italy and Crete, and i feel pretty well organized. hope i'm still feeling that way monday a.m..

we won't have an internet connection at our house this time, so i'll just keep a journal and post it on the travel blog when we return. we have a couple of things sort of planned... Jim wants to hike the Samaria Gorge, which is a long rocky ravine which goes from the north of the island to the southern coast. we also want to spend a couple of days in Rethymnon. there are a couple of museums there that we missed last fall, plus the old town section has lots more to see than we got to. other than that, we hope to go to a raki making party in Vamos again and maybe attend some Greek cooking classes. and visit with friends!! and sit on the Liakota Cafe balcony on a sunny afternoon, sipping raki and admiring the view of the White Mountains. and checking around to find out how we can buy a small house there. we were told that only citizens of an EU country are allowed to purchase property in an EU country. there MUST be a way around this! and who knows what else... will just have to wait and see.

for receiving and sending email, we'll go to the next village where there is an internet cafe.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

grape harvest

Jim has been harvesting his grapes for the past week or so. The weather has been really conducive to ripening them and he managed to keep the deer from beating him to the harvest by surrounding the rows with netting. And the other big pest... well,
smaller in size... the yellow jackets went for the bait in the traps and many many got in there and couldn't get out! He also found and eliminated several big nests!! so he has lots of grapes this year for lots of wine. Ryan and Sonia will be back from their trip and available to take care of the fermenting chores.... cause baby, we're outa here in 8 days! so.. here's Jim's harvesting his grapes:

and a closer view of the grapes... i think these are merlot. He got the muscat and gewurtz. off earlier in the week.

grape plants along the driveway as you approach the house:

and our dome home. can't see it real well with all the leaves still on the pear tree, but at the rate the leaves are falling, it won't be long before the house is more visible.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Shocking, i know, but i actually took photos of yarn and also a project in progress! I spun up some of the fiber that i bought from Dicentra at OFFF, and even though the color in the photo isn't quite correct, i do love how this fiber looks spun up!

and this is probably the kiss of death for this cardigan in progress, but i'll take that chance. (if it does end up lanquishing in the unfinished corner, it will be in good company) The yarn is from 2 different dye batches, and had enough in common that i thought they would work together.. and i do think i like the combination. I'm making a side-to-side cardigan, just below waist length (i think...), with a scoop neck. this is a close-up of the back:

and this is the R front in progress:

The other current project hasn't come out well in photos yet. Still working on that, including actually reading the camera user guide... yep, if all else fails, just read the manual, dummy! Lynne sent me a little bundle of delicious fiber she had dyed which she said had my name on it! it's merino, silk and angora in soft shades of iris, old gold, goldy green, soft sage, and i want to use it in the cuff of socks in some kind of fairisle pattern. So, the challenge is finding suitable fiber in my stash and get it spun before we leave on the 16th for Italy and Crete. I haven't been inspired to knit socks in a long time, and this will be a great take-along project! The timing is good for stash diving, because i've been trying to go thru it all before i leave to be sure everything is in bags and protected from pests.
So, as soon as I can get the camera adjusted so that the colors look more true, there will be pictures of this project!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

renewable energy info

Here's the url for Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

OFFF (Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival)

I went to OFFF on Sunday and met up with Linda, and we started shopping around without any delay. It was a lovely, sunny and warm day, and there was something like 50 vendors set up on the grassy area, besides all the booths in 2 buildings. was almost overload on the senses... but we managed to keep our senses. At noon we met up with 2 Janes, and kept on shopping! Had a wonderful lamb kabob for lunch right there at the fairgrounds, even tho we'd planned to go into Canby for lunch. And we kept on shopping. Saw quite a few friends and twisted sisters, visited with and got hugs from lots of vendor friends... and Linda and I kept enjoying being able to spend the day having fun and NOT having to work in a booth!! Bravo!! and we kept on shopping! Now, one would think that with all that shopping we'd be loaded down with fibers... however, we didn't do a lot of buying. Here's what i bought:

the blue/green on the left is pygora from Peppermint Pastures (Darlene Chambers), as is the bag of white fiber on the right. I really love her packaging.. and her fibers! and in the middle is an irresistable bundle of merino/tussah from Dicentra,
Lisa Milliman. and i didn't even try to resist! unfortunately, my camera doesn't do well with accuracy in bright colors. (or the camera operator doesn't quite know what she's doing) what looks like purpley/pink is really a bright fuschia pink, which i totally love! i think i'll start spinning it tonight while watching Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and then Boston Legal. the choices on the tube have gotten so crappy that those are the only shows that i go out of my way to watch.

You can find Lisa's lovely fibers at Crown Mountain Farms (and at fiber shows)
Dicentra Fibers

Friday, September 15, 2006

about solar panels

I just googled "energy trust" and came up with lots of leads on where to get information. We got a grant from Energy Trust of Oregon, after the company we bought the panels from submitted the papers and request. I think there was something from federal gov., too, plus tax credits, both state and fed, which brings the cost down considerably. If anyone has questions, let me know and i'll be happy to help you find answers! I was really hoping we could get a windmill, but a study done by some agency or other says that we don't get enough wind here to make it worthwhile. I just don't believe that!... we consistently get quite healthy winds coming up the ravine! so, now i want to get some sort of wind meter to record what we get here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

more solar

Although this won't be the case all the time... I was awed that after about 45 min. of collecting the solar power, the electric meter stopped and we were providing all the energy from the panels to supply the house. Would have been nice if we could have started in June, when we first started working on the project.. but that didn't happen. I'm finally learning not to believe those early estimates of "when it will be done"! lowered expectations make my life a lot less stressful. here's some pics i took today of the solar panels and Jim:

Monday, September 11, 2006

Solar Power!!!

At 3:35 pm today the electrician threw the switch and we started feeding solar power from our panels into the PGE system!! The meter, besides having a read-out for kw of power generated, also tells how many pounds of greenhouse gases are eliminated!
YAY!! Jim has put in a lot of long hours getting this system ready, together with Cliff from Inland Electric, from whom we bought the system. I'm so happy the sun is bright today so we could watch the meter tickin' away. stay tuned for photos....

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Still going thru papers and stuff, sorting, throwing out, etc, and I found a yellowed and tattered clipping from a newspaper (1990). There is a quote from a book by Ruth Gendler, "The Book of Qualities": "Pleasure is wild and sweet. She likes purple flowers. She loves the sun and the wind and the night sky. She carries a silver bowl full of liquid moonlight. She has a cat named Midnight with stars on his paws. Many people mistrust Pleasure and even more misunderstand her. For a long time I could hardly stand to be in the same room with her. I thought she was a gossip and a flirt and she drank too much. In school we learned that she was dangerous, and I was sure that she would distract me from my work. I didn't realize she could nurture me. As I have changed, Pleasure has changed. I have learned to value her friendship." It has taken a long long time for me to look at pleasure as something to be cherished, rather than quiltily sneak a peek at her. 'spose that comes from the Presbyterian/Southern Baptist upbringing?? I've come a long way, baby!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


WOW! I've always enjoyed programming on OPB, but this week is outstanding! Last night was over the top. There was Bruce Springsteen in a concert from England "We Shall Overcome", The Pete Seeger Sessions. I have the cd of this and love listening to it, and seeing it done was so excellent! And there was a show on John Denver which was very nostalgic and sweet. always did love him. Then coming up later this week is Dixie Chicks, who i listen to over and over. I've especially admired them since they publically dissed dubya, got "in trouble" for that and never backed down! All this goodness is even sweeter because Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are still reruns of previous shows... very disappointing!! Just don't know why they think they can take time off and only appear 4 nights/week when they ARE working. They are my most enjoyed source of "news", after all!

going shopping now... to the fabric store to fill in the gaps in the fabric stash so I can work on Zylie's quilt.

oh... and how could i forget? a couple of nights ago they had a show with "the best of Stars on Ice".. and figure skating is another of my gotta see it shows! it is, of course, one of their fund raising weeks, but they seem to let programs run longer before they do their pleasae donate pitching. and, yes, i have donated! wish i could give more. it is worth it to have the kind of programming they do AND to not have the damn commercials.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

fabric stash runneth over

Wow! too bad my memory's gotten so lame, or i'd have remembered what a lovely stash of quilting fabric i've accumulated... and would have gotten back to it sooner. Have been thinking lately about finishing a quilt i just barely started a couple of years ago for Zylie. So having grown exceedingly tired of the ongoing chore of reorganizing my office room (dear goddess, where on earth did all these papers come from???) - today i pulled out the fabric, cleared off the work table and started pawing thru all this bounty. Now i remember why i was stumped with Zylie's quilt, and figured out a way to remedy that. The fabric is Moda in soft cotton/flannel and looks a lot like this.

but the figures on mine are the elephant with the bird on its back, the mouse-looking creature in a tutu and the jack-in-a-box, and has some narrower strips with different designs in them. Also have some fabric in the same colors which has same
figures, but very small and scattered on a background of cream or light purple. will take pictures somewhere along the way. And i'm working with my muse on a design for a quilt for Alex. He has totally outgrown the baby quilt i made for him, though he does still sleep with it (aawwww), so it's time for a new one.

if the link isn't highlighted so you can just click on it, try copy and paste. am having trouble getting this to work. ratz!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

not a farm....

responding to Charleen's comment, I've been informed by Chris that the new home is not a "farm"... it is a "country home on acreage". OK, we'll see what the future holds. His daughter adores baby animals, and, in fact, loves ALL animals. There is an unusual farm somewhere up there in WA that sells wallabies and kangaroos... hmmmm.. Would need quite high fencing, I'm thinkin'. And all those rambling blackberries could benefit from having goats around to keeep the rambling in check. And if goats, then multi-tasking goats would seem logical, like say Angora goats which eat brush AND give spinning fiber. Did I say that Kate and I made a trade whereby she got my Louet spinning wheel and i got her old Canon dig. camera? Yes, indeed, i am just sitting back and waiting.... And, I do know that fiber dyeing is in Kate's future. In fact, there is a fully functional second kitchen on the lower level where the kids' playroom is. This kitchen is perfect for kids' messy crafty activities, and for fiber dyeing!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

home again...

from 4 days in Duvall, WA with "the kids and grandies". took Amtrak up on Tuesday a.m., met by Kate, Alex and Zylie... and then to their new home in the country setting (which Chris denies is a "farm"!) It really seems to be a perfect place for them, with lots of space indoors and out. Alex and Zylie have the main room on the ground level... once the living room of a fulling equipped living space... inlaw apartment? for their playroom. There is a full kitchen on that level which will be great for science experiments, tie dyeing, etc. (including Kate's dyeing experiments). Kate's office is also on that level. On the middle level is LR, DR, kitchen, BR, Alex's bedroom and a deck that wraps around 2 sides of the house. The deck is one of my favorite spaces... it's wide and overlooks a part of the yard, with hills and mountains as the view. That's where the bbq and hammock are. It faces east, so is a shady and comfy place at the end of a day. And the third floor is where Zylie's room and C&K's room and the big bathroom with the jacuzzi tub are located. Chris even got a ride-on mower with the house .. what a deal! AND there is a basketball court where I (ta da!!) made 2 baskets out of my first 4 shots! Now anyone who knows me will know for certain that I am not a jock or anything like that! but, hey, i got **2** baskets. Zylie was all about deciding names for our teams and Alex was too busy making up rules for the games to bother with playing, but I had fun making baskets!!! Where the yard meets the woods are lots of blackberry bushes. The berries are getting ripe and juicy and here's Alex about to get that biggest, juiciest berry of all:

Chris was doing his mowing duties and Zylie was trying to get me to take a photo of him:

and Chris at work:

and since Alex and his aikido class was part of the week, here is Alex:

and a cute one of Kate and Zylie:

It was a good visit, their new home is great and perfect for them... and it's always good to be back home in my nest. We had dinner on the way home at Santorini, one of the Greek restaurants we like. It always makes me anxious to be back in Crete where there is real Greek food and friendship. two and 1/2 months and we'll be there again!

Monday, August 14, 2006


The main blueberry bush by the patio (part of the edible landscape!) is really loaded with berries this year, and unlike last year, the birds haven't found them! So while Jeanne was here for full moon, she picked bowls full of 'em. There is a limit to how many handfulls of blueberries i can eat, so i asked Pop if he'd like to come out yesterday and make a blueberry kuchen, then have dinner with us. It being the weekend, he was bored by lack of planned activity at his assisted living (no bingo!), so agreed to the plan. here's how he made his delicious kuchen:
-- place purchased pie crust in pie pan
-- put in 2 1/4 cups blueberries (or whatever it takes to fill pan)
-- combine 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon, sprinkle over berries
-- place foil over edge of pan and crust
-- put in pre-heated 400F oven for 15 min.
-- remove and reduce oven to 320F
-- mix together 2 eggs (or egg sub. equivalent) with 3/4 cup sour cream and pour over contents of pie pan and remove foil from edge
-- place in oven and check after 45 min. It should be bubbly and firmish. if not, return to oven until it is.

While the kuchen cooled, we ate the lovely dinner that Jim prepared.... grilled salmon, Greek salad, orzo pilaf and corn on the cob. ummmm... bliss! I think i'll make this and it better be soon, before the birds do find the blueberries.

I've been on a dyeing marathon again, and sent boxes of rovings to Lynne for a class she just did in NH at Harrisville Designs and one coming up in Michigan end of August. Just got some domestic wool top (Brown Sheep) which I think I'll get lots more of. It dyes beautifully, is soft and spins up nicely into a really cushy yarn. haven't knitted with it yet, but it is lovely yarn!! and it's domestic wool, which is a definite plus!

Taking Amtrak on Tues. a.m. to Seattle, then to Duvall to spend a few days with C&K and kids in their new home. It's in a country setting about 7 miles from where they were living, 5 acres, lots of trees around. Wondering how long it will be before sheep show up there... and maybe chickens? Makes me smile, because after growing up here on the farm with sheep, llamas, bunnies... and having the chores related to that, Chris said he had no desire at all to ever do that again in this lifetime! we'll see...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

the simple things

How sweet it is! one of my favorite things about summer is fresh from our garden red, ripe, warm from the sun tomatoes with crispy bacon on grainy bread.... ahhhh, delight!!

I scored at Good Will today. Found a wooden picture frame the right size for an oil painting that my step-brother, Jim, gave me. Finally had the forethought to measure the painting before going shopping... whooda thought? Also, found a light-weight jacket with hood and lots of pockets that i'll take on our travels this fall, and it's red and doesn't even look like it's ever been worn. I love shopping at Good Will!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

doncha just hate it when....

you know with absolute certainty that somewhere in this larger than life stash of unfinished projects and random bags there IS a #6 circular needle longer than 16"??... and 30 minutes of agonizing searching fails to uncover (literally)it??? I hate it! Tonight I decided to resurrect the Sakori vest/could be jacket and managed to finish the seed stitch border on the other side (bottom front edge up over shoulder and down back edge), re-read instructions for creating the front borders, was ready to start and all I could find was the 16" #6 circ. and that just isn't going to work!! So, i gave up the search and will go to bed. It will be the second night in recent history when it's cool enough to sleep and will probably require a blanket... yippeeee.

and a note for the garden diary: picked the first red ripe tomato today (yum) and there are 3 eggplants almost ready to harvest, and several more cucumbers and zucchini squash. Jim got all the raised beds lined with wire so the underground rodents aren't eating the beets and pulling the green bean plants down into their dining rooms. whatever these creatures are, they are bigger than gophers and have been known to chew thru the main large (probably 3" to 4" diameter) roots of 10 year old wine grape plants.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

my birthday

well, it's a little past midnight and it's 82F outside right now, probably about that here on the second floor of our house. tho it's air conditioned in the basement and first floor, the cool just doesn't get up here very well. but, this is OREGON, for goddess sake... it is just not spose to be this hot for a prolonged period of time. it's not spose to be 104F for 2 days in a row!! damn! anyway, it's my 68th birthday and i just don't want to be this old. don't want to be dead yet either, so i guess 68 is the alternative to dead. My dad took us out for dinner tonight at one of our 2 favorite Greek restaurants. one reason to go there was that we had a 2 page hand-written letter from Marina, a friend in Vamos, Crete... written in Greek.. and we wanted to get it translated. The owner, Denny, did that for us and it really made me nostalgic and missing Vamos to hear what she wrote. It was mainly a response to what i'd written her in January and the pictures i'd sent. i love the people we became friends with there and miss them so much. I'd love for my dad to go with us to Crete in November. My heart is just so heavy tonight. Pop is in pretty good health for a 90 year old man, but he is just so sad and lonely without DeDe. He's outlived 2 wives, had a very full life, realized many of his ambitions, is successful and well-respected and loved... and he's lonely and tired and just doesn't have much energy for life. i think he's really wanting to die and i'm not willing to give him a lot of pollyanna shit about bucking up and there's lots to live for and yadda yadda yadda... because he wouldn't believe that and i have too much respect for him to do that. we (the family) have tried to help him focus on short term goals that would be interesting/fun etc., but he sees right through that. i totally believe that his 90th birthday party/big bash was from his point of view, a living wake which gave him an opportunity to connect with people who had been an important part of his life. he and i had a touching and teary conversation after dinner, and i told him again that i'll miss him so much when he's gone, and that i do understand why he hasn't much enthusiasm for living. he told me that he spends a lot of his time reading and re-reading DeDe's diaries, many of them dating back to the times before he married mom and she married Rush. he told me he's been doing some writing about his time with DeDe. and despite all this, i do wish he'd decide he had the energy to go to Crete with us... i know he'd love it and everyone there would adore him... and that couldn't be a bad thing. that long, long airplane trip is tough though.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

more fiber/yarn

tried again on the other part of the current project, and was much more successful!!

I'm calling it "October" ... that's what it made me think of. Carolyn said the other one reminds her of violets.... so that's its name.

Oh, yeah, October!.. that's when we leave again for a big trip. departing Oct. 16 for 12 days in Italy, then back to Crete til Nov. 23. We will be renting the same house we were in last fall, so it will be kind of like "going home". We received a letter this week from our friend, Marina, in Vamos, Crete... a 2 page letter that looks like it's just chock full of news. The problem is... it's written in Greek. So this week we'll go to one of our favorite Greek restaurants (Santorini) in Portland and see if our friend, Nikos the bartender will translate it for us. And ... we'll probably have to have a glass of Mavrodaphne and dinner!

new yarn

this is what I am currently spinning. It's BFL (which I love spinning!)

It was actually destined to go to the shop, but I grabbed and stashed it, along with a slightly different color combo (the photo of which looked crappy, so will try again on that one). Kept 2 pounds total, so it ought to be enough to do something with, tho i haven't been visited by my muse on that one yet. stay tuned, i just might come up with something.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

and more photos

this fiber is a merino/cashmere blend which I bought at BSG from Dicentra (Lisa Milliman. it is just heavenly to spin and makes a poofy, drapey yarn. With the fiber and yarn is a spindle that Jim Child (Hatchtown Farm) made for me after our first trip to Greece. This was from a chunk of olive wood that I brought back from Crete. I've forgotten its specifications, but it is tiny and spins silk beautifully. This yarn was spun on my Ernest Mason wheel which I've been using lately.... the spindle was just lying there begging to get into the photo!

The next photo is a baby kimono sweater I recently made from well-aged stash yarn (wool). The pattern was in Mason Dixon Knitting, a book i am really enjoying, tho would never have bought it based on that cover!! wonder who talked the authors into that??!!
this is a sweater i know i'll knit again! easy, made up quickly! won't do stripes next time... too many friggin' ends to deal with!