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Monday, April 30, 2018

Big plans lead to bigger plans

A while back I had, to borrow a phrase from Francis, a burning desire. In my case, a burning desire to weave towels again. Three years ago I packed up my studio, literally lock, stock and barrel, and donated it to a non-profit in Cleveland.

Well, I'd just find a loom and equipment to rent, and carry on. You probably see where this is going. First, there is nothing in town to rent. I called a weaver friend from long, long ago. Becky could lend me a loom, a warping board, stuff to wind a warp.

Becky chains her warp and winds it on. My last chained warp, complete with pourri cross, probably was 1985. Like riding a bicycle, eh? Laura and I went to Becky's. The plan was to make chains, come back another time to dress the loom, and weave at Becky's.

It took an hour to complete the first of eleven chains of forty threads, seven yards. I didn't even make it; I couldn't stand and work. Laura moved right in and began winding. She made the first, chained it and began the second. Then we loaded the loom in the car, together with a bare amount of tools, and headed home.

That's the entire back story.



Laura winding a warp chain.


Perfect pourri cross. This keeps threads in order.


440 threads assembled on lease sticks, and cat proofed for the night. We also closed the door.


I spent the morning watching YouTube instructions for chain warping, front to back. Then I went to play cards. I came back and started putting the warp through the reed, after stopping on the way home to buy masking tape.


I completed three sections, and quit. I believe I can thread the remaining eight and start threading heddles tomorrow. By Wednesday I should be able to finish winding the warp onto the back beam.

This is why sectional warping exists. I have a lead on a LeClerc with a sectional beam. It's a jack loom, not counterbalance. But, it has a sectional already installed. 

Tomorrow I will call Leesburg Loom and see if they can build me a forty peg warping tree. If yes, I will purchase forty warping bobbins and an electric bobbin winder. And the LeClerc loom with the sectional beam.


My shuttle came today. The weaving bobbins probably will come tomorrow. How about my spool holder! I took it to cards this afternoon, and Greg said Sure, he can make a real one, a half inch dowel stuck in a foot square, flat base.


Towel weft came today, too. Each spool is a pound, and good for about a dozen towels apiece. Unfortunately, the chain warp is maxed out at seven yards, or six towels. I'm a pretty bad sport about doing easy things the hard way. I'm sure by noon I will own a forty pin warping tree and a LeClerc jack loom.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

A lot of these fish in the sea



Laura’s physical education class this year included self-defense. Part of the self-defense class featured instructors from a local martial art school, and concluded with a certificate entitling the student to three free Krav Maga classes.

I scheduled three classes, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. On Tuesday I sat on the world’s hardest chair, reading a book amidst the roar of children and teenagers.

Thursday I went in with a cushion and a book. Laura went to the desk to check in. An imperious late aged teen strong-armed her for a dues payment before joining the class. Her demands were quite clear above the din, and I went to the desk to defend the previously presented coupon. It was a quiet argument on my part, but Miss Teen grew increasingly vocal, and soon attracted a superior.

The new conversation quickly elicited the information the error was exclusively mine because the previously recorded coupon was at home on a dresser; however, Laura was permitted to join the class. 

Almost at once the instructor flew out, in exchange of Laura going in, to protest an extra student. He was embarrassedly shooed away by the red faced superior, from whom I also extracted a statement this farce would not be repeated Saturday.

And, I took my cushion and book and sat in front of a classroom window, with maybe twenty children, half a dozen instructors, and a leader calling out moves. Loudly. The leader led classes on Tuesday, also, loudly. At one point he instructed the children to put on protective head gear, then berated them when they came up one short from the pile.

The leader came out and began yelling at the parents; the student’s last name and first initial must be on each helmet. He continued with a diatribe of how disruptive it was to come up short on gear. I read my book. He hit my table, bounced my book and yelled, “I’m talking to all of you.”

I glanced over at the desk and saw Ms. Superior vigorously shaking her head “No!” I returned to my book. Who knew Frank Lloyd Wright had a paramour, two of her children and three employees and a neighbor child murdered at the Prairie Style home he constructed for her in Wisconsin. Interesting book.

The instructor returned to his class, and I turned my attention to him. The students apparently were learning a hand and knee thrust maneuver. One boy near me, maybe eight, had no confidence and his opponent was backing him to the wall with his moves.

The instructor grabbed the child by the shoulder and thundered “They’ll kill you out there if you don’t learn how to hit back!”

I turned another page and waited for Laura’s class to end. I sent her into today’s class on her own. On the way home I told her what I’d seen on Thursday, in the other class.  Indefensible, she agreed.
There are martial arts schools and to spare here. We’ll find another for the summer.


In other news, it poured cold rain all night. The rain barrel almost is full, but tonight's forecast is mid thirties and rain, or snow. Poor ranuculus!




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Pull the hole in behind



My dad used to say that when he was overwhelmed at work. “I’m climbing into a hole and pulling it in behind!” I may do that soon, waiting for spring.



Last weekend Laura’s service Crew cleaned up The Quarry. Peninsula had several active sandstone quarries back in the canal heyday of the town. One quarry is maintained by the Boston Township Community Service League as the local swimming hole.


Years ago I certified their books so they could receive operating grants from United Way and other funding sources. I never let the grands swim there; it didn’t seem safe enough to me, at the time. 

Having charge of them all these years, I think that was a mistake. All the years I looked at their books, The Quarry's worst problem was running short of chips at the concession stand.

I nipped over to The Quarry’s web page to nick photos of summer. Close your eyes and imagine.








Saturday, April 21, 2018

Pig's reward


Radicals Deb and Joanne.  Deb was the first volunteer to stand with me in support of Stoneman Douglas students in March. Here we are at Postcards from Peninsula, where fifteen of us wrote out and addressed and stamped 250 post cards urging voters to go to the polls on May 8 and vote yes on Issue One, in favor of ending Gerrymandering.


I sent an email to the other three radicals in the room, "Since we're on a roll, what do you say we ..." and I outlined another community involvement program we could undertake. Mum's the word until I discuss it tomorrow with Deb, and Monday with a lovely soul who has no idea she's about to become radical number five!


Now it's the weekend and we adjourned to the front yard. I tried again, but I am a useless weed puller. I have no strength in my right hand, little more in my left, and precarious balance, to boot.


I asked Laura to bring me the lawn mower! I mowed one side of the house, and was done in.  But, Yay Me.



I asked Laura to put away the lawn mower. I intended to finish the other side tomorrow. When she finally came in, she had mowed the back and the other side. So, I took the job away from her.


We went to the nursery. Nasturtiums will come in this week. So, we got ranunculus for Pig, instead.


And, someone finally had dress number one escape the tornado lockdown and arrive in the mail box.


She wonders why she hasn't worn a dress since she was three years old. So we will look around for fair trade dresses now.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Postcards from Peninsula



We here are mostly un-young; have a life time of experience to check back on. I think each of us can remember incidents where lives bumped, enthusiasms meshed, some mutual interest was addressed and something happened. We helped at school, mentored kids, organized a group. We marched. We protested.

The shooting deaths of students at Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida pushed me past mute acceptance. I have a large bag of protest tricks. The old lady and two good friends resolved to meet the challenge of the Stoneman Douglass survivors, and stand on our corner in honor of their murdered classmates.

A good protest involves having everyone on your side, or neutralizing potential detractors. It’s what my mother called “Killing them with Kindness”. I engaged the police. I engaged local elected officials. I arranged parking for anyone who would come. I involved the press, all the newspapers. I played the event over and over on media pages. One more citizen stepped up and made the posters I hung. We waited.

On a bitterly cold day a month ago, nearly forty of us stood on a busy intersection in Peninsula, in recognition and honor of the students. Drivers of passing traffic honked, occupants waved, and we stood in silence, honoring those students.

Then it was done. We did it. We could do it again. The new member wondered if we could do something in support of Issue One on the May ballot in Ohio; confirmation of the state legislature’s end to gerrymandering in this state. Well, closing in on the end. She wondered if we could muster up enough people to write postcards to registered voters in the village and the township, in support of the issue.

We asked the library for a room. We asked for post cards. We asked for pens and stamps. We asked for snacks. We told the newspaper. We hung posters. Tomorrow we have the first Postcards from Peninsula event.



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Shingles, pneumonia, USPS and tornadoes



For three years Laura ‘s wardrobe, day in, day out, school dances excluded, consisted exclusively of skinny jeans or leggings. Skinny jeans, new or second hand, went under the knife at once, emerging in socially acceptable tatters.

Leggings merely suffered the snags of time. Sooner or later, flesh speckled the leggings. The wearer, indeed, all the wearers, were unabashed. I sincerely believe, leggings of the world suffer the cruel pricks of fate hourly. No matter, holidays, birthdays, even peg hooks and strip clips of legging packages in stores keep leggings coming on.

A strange conversation struck up recently.

“Grandma,” what do you think of dresses?”

I allowed I like them.

“If I send you a list, will you buy me one?”

The list landed square in my Amazon list file in a nano second.

We picked this dress first. I have great reservations. I may be mistaken. It will not go to school until I see half a dozen of that style go by on any given day. It certainly needs the appropriate front zip hoodie.



I steered the conversation to the ease of tee shirt top dresses. Laura was in favor, if she liked it.

“Show me one you like!”



She likes two. More clicks. In my defense, I also pointed out girls her age in Pakistan earned a few pennies constructing these dresses. Yes, she knew that.  We’ll see how these work out, and look for fair trade dresses next.


Laura bounced through the door tonight. “Did my dresses come?”

“We ordered them on Saturday!”

“I know, I know. I just wondered.”

We checked. We learned:

Shipped Sunday, April 15
Weather or natural disaster at 11:55 AM Monday, April 16 - from USPS

Etcetcetc.

Tornados rule!

A while back I got the first half of a pneumonia vaccination.  In truth, I watched my strong friend Jean carried away by pneumonia, and decided I’d give that one a run for its money. It’s a two shot protocol, the second shot from the drug store, as my doctor’s office generally does not stock Prevnar, the second shot.

I called the nurse to request the prescreption. In an expansive mood, as I don’t get vaccinated often, I asked the doctor send along the new shingles shot, too. The nurse called back with dire warnings. Be sure to get the protocol from the pharmacist; both in one day not recommended, blablabla.

I called the drugstore Monday morning. Come on down; they had it all; takes about twenty minutes, with paperwork. They dispense both in one day all the time!

The pharmacist shot shingles in my left arm, pneumonia in my right. That was yesterday. By bedtime, my arms wished I were dead and gone. In the middle of the night I got up and slugged acetaminophen.  Note to self: never do that again. Good news: I doubt I will.


Monday, April 16, 2018

I live in a mini tornado alley



I didn’t make that up; I do live in a mini tornado alley. More often than an actual tornado is the warning that conditions are favorable for a tornado to form. If one does form, the population has been alerted to take precautions, to get to a place of shelter.

Folks who live in mobile homes are advised to seek alternate shelter. Yeah, right! Actually, I do have an alternate, the old house. Kay knows I will come right through the basement garage door, probably with one neighbor.

The all night rain Saturday, that was a quarter inch in the rain gauge in yesterday’s blog, never quit. It rained harder and harder. It got colder and colder. The wind blew, fiercely. Sometimes we could hear the rain had become pellets of sleet, sometimes it was just rain.


Laura and I went nowhere, except to poke our noses out for a minute and gauge the depth of the bitterness. She did laundry, I cleaned the kitchen. We read. She watched television. Simultaneously, we jumped from our chairs to the sound of the tornado warning.

I went to the door and tested it against the wind. Howling wind. I dared not open the screen door. I called my neighbor. “Tornado warning, and I’m not leaving. You get in your master closet in the bedroom!”

“I thought we should get in the bathtub!”

“No, no Cathy. The bathtubs are on outside walls, and beside, they’re very light weight. Get in your closet!”


“I’m going to text Dan, where should we hide.”

Dan is the maintenance man. He doesn’t live here.

A minute later, a text in the depth of our master closet. “Dan says hide wherever we want. I’m in the closet.  What are those sirens?”

The tornado sirens are mounted about a mile north. They were loud. The all clear came twenty minutes later. Laura and I had been watching the progression of the front on our phones. I’m going to find a local radar program for my tablet. Street by street radar!

This will be our third summer here. There was a “take cover” warning the first summer, and none last year, as I recall. This year I need to be more serious and learn some things. On the internet I find there are two wind zones, areas that suffer hurricanes and all other. That’s no comfort.

Mobile homes must be stabilized and fastened to the ground according to the wind zone and type of manufacture. I see that all mobile homes must meet hurricane standards. That’s good.  I also find to be sure we are tied down safely, I should contact my local building inspector for an inspection. I jotted the phone number on my desk pad, and that will happen soon.


Three and three quarter inches of rain, yesterday and overnight.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fickle, fickle April



I would have stormed the nurseries of the county for mandevillas to no purpose, yesterday. They would have sailed away overnight. Such a storm. No lightening, but hard, hard rain and wind. I can hear it raining still, pounding on everything under it.


Others slept last night, I’m sure. I wonder if I did. I dreamed. I never dream, or I never remember. I don’t know which.

I was moving far away, and packing a bag. I carried it to the car. I came back in the house and found the bag at the front door again, accompanied by a great Samoyed, smiling and beating his tail on the floor.

It’s been forty years since I owned a dog, a standard Collie, easily as big as a Samoyed, with as much hair Every night I brushed out a grocery bag of hair. He was a smiling dog, too.


It did quit raining, almost, for a few minutes, and I went out to see the garden. Laura’s “dry creek” is very wet. Everything looked shiny wet. The rain gauge noted perhaps a quarter inch. I think it’s sadly mistaken.


I just finished reading Gilead. A quiet book that held my attention closely. I thought I would slide quietly out of it, but then a left field poser in the last forty or fifty pages. It is resolved as another sad family situation.  Not resolved, but placed in hope of future decent denouement.

The main character of the book often mentions a book his young wife is reading, and other characters have read. Gilead is set in the fifties, and the book, The Trail of the Lonesome Pines, sounds like one to be found in your mother’s trove of childhood books.

For fun, I tried out the title on Amazon, and found it in print. It’s found its way to my hand, and is a mystery waiting. There is no publishing information on the title page. The print is tiny, tiny. Eleven point, or more. Some of the pages have slightly tipsy margins, as if the original, 1908 book were sent through a copier to prepare the master.

On the back of the last page, a tiny clue. A small notation at the foot of the page:

Made in the USA
San Bernardino, CA
11 April 2018

11 April, 2018 sounds about the date I ordered the book. I’ll start it this afternoon, to accompany the rain.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Approaching spring slowly


In other years I think I would have elbowed my way into local greenhouses, looking for the Mandevillas by this time.


All that's happened out front is reasonably serious tidying up.


A check on the green stuff. I do hope this is Solomon's Seal, but I did see it up at the old house and know where to get more!


Lot's of colchium. A lovely stand of paper narcissus in the front. Anemones starting up all around. 


We stopped at the garden supply across the road last night and laid in mulch, and stones for a project. We got four bags of mid sized Pocono stones to line the ditch the excess rainwater chose from the downspout to the road.


Laura hopes for more variety of tone when the mud washes off. I smile at future archaeologists cursing us for moving stones and rocks all over this country to satisfy our decorating purposes. 


Our Texas totem is behind the bench. Windy, windy day; after two beautiful spring days, rain is on the way.


The view from above, with the stone watercourse to the road finished.


Solar windchime, from Texas too. The wind threatened to demolish it, so it has taken refuge in Laura's window.


A birdhouse in the pear tree. I am sure a sparrow will lay claim as soon as possible. Since the sparrows have been evicted from Mr. Next Door's kitchen vent, this sparrow may knock on my door and thank me.


Done for the day!


It's raining.


Stuffed peppers for supper.



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Who remembers?

We went to the site the driving school uses for practicing "maneuverability". In my day it was parallel parking. I taught both my daughters to parallel park. My sister taught them to drive. The local driving school taught Laura to drive.

Here we are lined up and ready to maneuver the automobile.



I glanced over, had a flash back to instilling "hand over hand, slide through, accelerate!" to counteract her innate inclination to exit a turn in the same way she entered it. "You can't do that with your hands!" flew out of my mouth.

"Oh, no! This is how not to overturn the wheel."

So, I zipped my lip. With apologies, Dad. Apparently straight wheels and the top and bottom of the steering wheel are no longer taught. As she reversed through the course, Laura did intone the cone that was her guide. Grandma, she didn't say nuthin'.





Modern driver's ed, like modern math, seems to be working. The driver executed the course three times, flawlessly. I was waiting.


There was a turkey vulture using up the wind currents over the parking lot. I could barely keep it in the screen, let alone pull it in. I had this one shot, way off.


As we left, I saw the vulture on the fence rail, behind the tree on the left, in the drive across the road. "Just creep up into that drive," I instructed, and the driver did. I got off one more shot!