Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Today's calendar

Every morning I look at my Google calendar. Once I figured it out, it's been lovely to have. I can pull it out and register appointments, make notes on things to do on the day to do them and so on and on and on.

Today, thanks to everything Google knows, it said Happy Birthday. It's right next to April 1, on which I have written Buy Zinnia seeds.  That could be a problem.

Otherwise it has been the same as any birthday in the last decade. My friends called and said Happy Birthday. We promised to have the celebratory lunch out when restaurants opened again.

My sister called, first thing. One daughter texted, one called. Ann called while I was falling asleep over bouts. I happily set that aside, and we chatted an hour away. Her kennel is a non-essential in this new world. 

When I sat down today to tie the ends together, there were six bouts to go. Now there are three. Hooray and hallelujah, I knew I'd be getting through ya! Another day will do it. I hope it's tomorrow.

I really feel less than cheerful today. I turned on the radio as I began tying on, and tuned in to the governor's daily Covid-19 update.  Ohio has fifty five deaths so far, ages from one to ninety nine. 

The strict regulations taken by Ohio have flattened the curve, but we have not faced the top of our bell yet. Two people have died in my least populated urban county. 

I know what will happen to areas that have not made guide lines, and worst of all, to the people who consider this a joke, and an inconvenience to be circumvented. There are far too many displaced high school and college students still gathering and looking for ways to pass their time socially and together.

Today USPS brought me a present from myself, a wall pocket by Marty Frolick, Old Patagonia Pottery.  I no longer see Marty at shows, but thanks to EBay magic, I see his work from time to time. I carefully selected a hook that would fit the pot, carefully nailed it into the wall and carefully hung the wall pocket, with the flags from my friend Hilary Cooper, Crazy as a Loom.

Pretty, isn't it! Today was not warm enough to sit outside to plant ranuculus, but their day will come, though not before the weekend, or even next week.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Bizzy, bizzy

Another short essay of little to nothing. I woke up determined to go shopping, and I did. After a short shower and a long breakfast, I was ready, and left before 10:30.

I decided to wear my mask all the time, out and about. My selfie ability has not improved.

The grocery store expedition was fascinating. Remember, Kreiger's is a grocery store. No paper products to be out of. Of my entire list, I had to substitute yellow split peas for green, and they were out of yeast. It's time to relearn sourdough. Or not.

There was little traffic in the store, but it did fill up to the usual volume before I left. Plexiglass dividers have been installed at the counters. I walked from aisle six to aisle one to find a cashier with no customers. I should have realized she always has few to no one checking out because she is such a grump.

I had bags, but she would not load them. It is difficult to load bags in the tiny space allotted, but I kept at it. The Grump several times informed me they had plastic she could use, and I simply smiled and said "No, thank you." 

Another customer came behind me and the Grump checked him out. She did a nice job of segregating our purchases and packing his while I finished mine. We finished simultaneously.

I came home with six bags. I only bought for two weeks, but more bags are lighter to lift.

This is all it amounted to. Oh, and I remember, the big plastic boxes of packaged spinach were not there. The whole section of prepared greens was mighty slim. I forgot to go back to the fresh vegetable section to find spinach and chard. There were no loose carrots this week, either.

I was back from shopping and the post office shortly after noon, but putting away all the groceries and making a loaf of bread took the rest of the stuffing out of me. 

I had a surprise package when I came in. I'd forgot all about the delayed shipment of ranuculus. 

They were back ordered from my original order of spring bulbs because, don't you know, they cannot be planted until spring.

That broader green leaf in the center probably is anemone. I wonder if carefully cutting away the brown tip of that very first bulb, by the black pole, will help it. It took a hit from freezing temps, freezing rain and freezing snow.

I hope this pot blooms paper narcissus. There are so many coming up. 

Sometime this week I'll plant up the ranuculus for pig to enjoy. It's way too early to put up mandevilla. You may need to keep reminding me.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A perfect weaving metaphor

Weaving has not been mentioned for a couple of days because it has been ignored. Winding the warp onto the back beam is the most strenuous and occasionally painful part of the job. I am pleased with the last warp, well wound.

Even and tight. You could bounce GI dimes from it. I walked off, abandoned it. That was last Wednesday.  No amount of boredom relief could get me back to the warp.

I last went grocery shopping the third of March. We weren't talking Corona virus then, except in passing. I went to the store with the personal challenge of shopping for a month, for no reason except to see if I could do it. Purchase carefully and eat for a month. I  wasn't inventing ways to evade boredom. 

The third of April is next week, and I will go grocery shopping. I have been out and about a bit, made some observations, drawn some conclusions. I won't go shopping at 7:30 in the morning, when all those old people are in there. Bless their hearts and all that, I'll still go when I normally do, after breakfast. Say ten in the morning.

And, I will not shop for a month. I can imagine being accused of hoarding. If it's even there. Beside, shopping is something to do to take a chunk off boredom.

Yesterday I set myself two tasks for today. I accomplished the first and headed down to the studio to begin tying the new warp to the old. As I passed the cat, and lightening split the sky. He literally 

evaporated, and I found him, hours later, under the bed. 

It was a striking show of nature, lasting a few hours. Hail fell a couple of times, and the thunder rumbled and rolled for hours.

Perfect weather to continue working on the loom. I pulled over the first of the old warp and began.

All these years later, I've figured out, tying on a new warp is identical to being quarantined. Boring. I made it through two of eleven bouts, constantly fighting sleep.

That's it, that's all I got done. I took a look around for Mr. Cat, to no avail. I put the recliner back and took a nap for two hours. Then I woke up and had supper. That's never boring.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Yes, it's Thursday

Checking the calendar this morning, it was Thursday. I would like to grocery shop, but had a few more important chores before the grocery store. Like buying and readying disinfectant before I lugged another month of groceries into the house.

So, I went to our Dollar Store. Across the street, gas was $1.65. I've been out and about the last two weeks on the same three quarter tank of gasoline. By the time I need a refill, it will either be down to a buck and a quarter, back to two dollars a gallon, or unchanged. We live in a very uncertain time.

While looking for Lysol I did pick up laundry soap and dishwasher soap pods. I've quit boycotting pods because toddlers eat them. Putting my money where my mouth was, so to speak. I've concluded that mothers can just keep them out of reach, because there are no plastic jugs involved.

And yes, toddlers can climb anything to get anywhere. So, put them in a locked strong box. That's what I had to do when I had a granddaughter threatening destruction. Not pods, they weren't on the market then. Every drug in the house, beginning with aspirin and all the way through old people drugs the three old people in the house took had to be locked up. We all still have the strong boxes.

Anyway, I went through checkout and asked about the Lysol. The clerk said perhaps it would be in tomorrow's shipment, but he didn't know how much would be required to for nightly disinfecting the store. So, I went back for a bottle of Clorox.

Boredom is hard to fill. I've done a decent job. I went to the store after breakfast. Now I need to go make supper. I also made Boston Brown Bread today, so I won't need to go to the grocery store until next week.

The sun shined today; the windows were open. It made us happy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sunshine tomorrow

The cold damp weather is more annoying than staying home. My phone weather bug says fifty percent chance of rain tomorrow. Weather channel offers warmer weather tomorrow and only ten percent chance of rain. And which did I pick?

There were six bouts to wind when I went to the studio today, and the goal was to finish all. But with the fiddling around to switch out the last several tubes of warp, I quit after two, and made a bowl of custard. I bet most men think it namby-pamby, but it is my go to comfort food, miles ahead of mac and cheese or stuffed peppers.

The custard came out of the oven before lunch, so I had it for dessert, and went back to the studio determined to finish.

Came close. That is bout ten of eleven started there. I do not understand my compulsion to finish. I started this only yesterday. Sadly, I forgot I started yesterday; I had to backtrack and look it up. Only one day ago...

I did write on my calendar another job I wanted to do today, a good thing. There it was this morning like a shiny new idea. I wanted to arrange my remaining towels in color wheel sequence for a picture for Instagram.

A wheel would be more fun, but then I would be removing "stuff" from my work table. Good stuff, like my bobbin winder, that's held down by a C clamp.

This was a good exercise in how much is missing. Here are some colors I could weave to fill in the blanks.

I have even darker greens I can select. Between the green and orange is a plum, I believe. I didn't look it up. It's OK. The purple on the end is a must, as is the yellow on the other end.

Well, time for supper and then I'll give Instagram another go.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Stay at Home

That's what our governor says, "Stay at Home!" He believes it's friendlier than Shelter in Place. Or else, he's saving that for even worse.

I went out today to have my toenails cut. It feels so nice in my shoes. I've outsourced toenails for a long time. A while back, listening to the gossip, I realized I could have my fingernails cut, too. I need to source a reliable shop.

Stay at home angst has trickled down to my cat! I stripped the bed, to launder the sheets. Since 1988, I have owned a single set of sheets. When we moved into the old house, I gave up my queen bed for a single and ever since have owned only the sheets on the bed. 

This to the horror of my mother and her linen closet of duplicates and triplicates. I've never been reduced to the sleeping bag because sheets are in the laundry. However, the foot of my bed is Toby's chosen spot during the day. There have been arguments, and he finally knows the white blanket at the end of the bed is the only refuge for his hairy, shedding self.

Today he ran the length and breadth of the house, howling. That generally means the haughty little cat next door is sitting in the window, ignoring him. But today it meant the white blanket was not on the foot of the bed. Eventually he settled for my desk chair. He was not happy.

I'm winding on the new warp. This will be tedious; I must change out half the tubes. Warp is heavy, whether pulling forty half pound tubes from the spool rack, or turning bout after bout onto the warp beam.

This is the third warp onto the Mira, and the first time I've had to switch bobbins.I set it up so that only half would be changed over at a time. It's a tedious, and job, and very hard on my back. Painful. After this run of towels, the next time I warp, I will have to swap out the twenty spools left this time.

The cat is happier. Not totally satisfied, but he is a cat.

And that brings me to the only subject left in my constrained life, my pots of flowers. Shoots are up in all three pots now. This is my number one, happy pot, where I found the first sprig.

I'm thinking the two fat green bulbs in the back are a hyacinth type. There are three of the darker green with purple tipped leaf. I have no idea. There are a number of the pencil thin sprouts, in this pot and in the other two. Again, no idea.

And on that note, I'll go do my census.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Keep the pluck

Finally it was to be a good, sun shinny day. Sixty degrees forecast. I woke to the sound of beating rain. Then it stopped and I went out for a spot of lovely sun. I admired the half dozen sprouting bulbs.

I came in and finished the little bit of weaving currently left, and cut off the towels from the warp,

which I put in the washer, and had my lunch. The rain returned with a vengeance, and the afternoon has not much changed.

I did have a lovely piece of cornbread for lunch; this enforced solitude has benefits.

There are three things I can talk about. The bit of weaving I took off is a partial tube of bamboo. I've used it as accent in weaving in the past. This thread slippery and shiny. I read it is 40% more absorbent than cotton, so why not try it as a towel.

But I won't be cutting this into towels, or anything. It is so slippery, it feels like a slip, back when they were part of my wardrobe. It is 17" wide and there are 3 2/3 yards, or 156". I won't make anything from it, it will be too iffy in these old hands.

I think it would make a wonderful tank top, or a shirt with a bit of swing at the bottom. What do you think? I will give this to anyone who would use it.

The second thing I did with the rest of my afternoon is try to sink my teeth into Instagram. As I said, this enforced solitude...! It's testing my pluck! I can see the benefit of Instagram, it's just getting there. I'm up to making a post; perhaps tomorrow. If you'd care to follow, it's: https://www.instagram.com/jnoragon/

And finally, I saw another comment on my last post, and its Mage! She's back. I hope everyone will get over there and say welcome. And that's enough said.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Covid notes of note

Ann is back from England; the border rolled in behind her.  Her return trip was less harrowing than the media projected. She had trouble activating the Trusted Traveler fingerprint check. Several attempts and two machines on, the agent said she must wash her hands a lot for her prints to be unrecognized.

Producing a wipe from one pocket and a sanitizer bottle from the other, Ann said she didn't consider her protocol "too much". The agent had her aggressively wipe her forehead with her finger tips, and several tries on the machine recognized one index finger.

Here is how to shut down a general election in Ohio: bring in a woman. All day yesterday, the courts battled over having or cancelling today's primary election in Ohio. The governor and the lieutenant governor claimed no constitutional authority,  candidates filed motions for and against and the brouhaha was on. 

Eventually Dr. Amy Acton elbowed her way to the front and announced the current health crisis warranted protection of poll workers and voters, and there would be no election. The Secretary of State can work out the details of everyone voting.

I was staggered to learn yesterday, the leader of our country offered a substantial sum of money for exclusive US access to a Covid-19 vaccine in development by a German company. This is below reprehensible. It turns my stomach. This administration has established new norms of behavior. Anger, cruelty and lying are the grounding principles. I imagine Angela Merkel's response was robust.

My plans for this afternoon are to use the drug store drive through to pick up a prescription and then stop at the dollar store to reconnoiter. I could use a roll of paper towels. I'm not desperate yet, but I don't anticipate going out again this week or next. While I'm back in the paper department, I will see if their inventory of toilet paper is substantial. 

My last job for the day is to take the box of Girl Scout cookies I bought and give them to Dan and/or Joe on the way out. I selected Tagalongs, the peanut butter and chocolate cookies. I was stunned at their tastelessness.  But I'm sure the guys don't discriminate.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ohio Covid19, Day 1

Governor DeWine and Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have been on covid for the last week. Over last week I heard reports of how many confirmed cases, growing each time, and what probably would be closed. Beginning yesterday it was not probably, it was. Schools. Bars and restaurants. 

The staff seems very well prepared. When I turn on public radio, they seem to be filing past the microphone, giving updates. I believe more than 1,800 people have died in Italy. In Ohio, 37 cases, (10 more than yesterday), no deaths, a couple of hospitalizations. They hope not to be crushed, when the crisis comes.

In a lovely f... the federal government, the two teaching hospitals near me offer drive through testing, with a doctor's order. This state has several more large and teaching hospitals, and I assume they are or will be offering testing. Now I read Ohio has rolled out addiction and mental health help, and food for kids. 

It's like a whirlwind down there in Columbus, and I do know how DeWine works. When DeWine was attorney of state, more than a few Fiscal Officers reported price fixing between the two major salt suppliers. DeWine investigated, then sued. My township was refunded our portion of the settlement.

We have been asked to self-isolate. A nice weekend, and families are asked to self-isolate and not have all the cousins rolling in balls on the lawn and the men folks sitting around moaning the lack of ball games.

So, here on my day 1, what did I do?

My damn cat has a toy he adores. Really, money well spent. The toy with ping pong balls that roll, and a corrugated cardboard center to sit on.

This toy, from which he has removed the center. I've repaired it several times, but today the "snake" was all over the house. Several lengths of it are in the trash.

I decided it was worth salvaging some how. I called my sister. Don't turn me in.

I removed all the cardboard, and she began cutting the new filler:

that piece of handwoven yardage on the shelf. Then we put it in a nice flannel pillowcase.

Toby has not been back on it since I put it on the floor, in spite of the fact I gave him another ping pong ball to remove. I'll know in the morning what he thinks, I'm sure.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Whistle while I work

Today I hemmed towels and listened to my public radio station. My governor (DeWine, R, Ohio) spent a good deal of time explaining how he and Ohio are handling the Covid  19 emergency. Most is common sense: school cancelled for three weeks, gatherings in excess of one hundred people banned, and so on.

I learned from the broadcast that instead of doubling in five to eight days, Ohio's cases doubled overnight, from five to eleven confirmed cases. I learned from my newspaper, the Cleveland Clinic has developed a test with a twenty four hour turn around, and expect to refine it to a "drive through" test. I love the Clinic.

And I thought, today I may as well take pictures to explain how I convert the length of weaving to towels. I've posted pictures of the yardage going through the washer and dryer, to be fulled. Then what?

Melon yardage, waiting to become towels. Next step, measuring against my scientific yardage machine,

A yardstick. I've drawn a line at 24 1/2", the unhemmed length.

This was not easy; I need two hands for my camera. But, you get it.

I nick the edge with scissors and pull the thread I've cut.

I find the other end of the thread, and carefully nick it.

I pull out the thread, leaving a line I can see to cut. This is the most accurate method of cutting accuracy.  It is "the straight of the goods".

I cut along the straight line, then fold the cut edges in to protect them, for the time being.

I stack the cut towels and keep on cutting. Then, I turn on the serger and start the next step:

Securing both cut edges with the serger's overcast stitch.

I do not cut them apart; both ends are secure. I toss each behind the serger and sew the next towel.

Then I pick up the entire pile, dump it behind the sewing machine, and begin hemming.

One side of the towel has a wider serger stitch, the other a narrower. I fold down the larger, then the narrower, and stitch across, 

inserting the care label. Because I am selling across state lines, and internationally, I must declare content and care.

I changed label suppliers. I was so excited about having an extra line after the machine wash and dry business, I put in the most exciting thing I know: all the weaving thread comes from North America. The first time I sat back and admired one, I realized I'd totally left out All Cotton. 

So please buy these towels so I can reorder labels that are correct! Melon towels are on the shelf!

I also believe I've not mentioned the new "Good Ideas" page. It now says, With the purchase of two towels, you may have all the scraps accumulated in the corner, if you want them and let me know. This is subject to that good old "first come, first served" law of the universe. I will cheerfully cancel any order placed in hope of scoring scraps that already left the studio.

The current scraps are periwinkle, cream. kiwi, deep rose, plum, and a tiny bit of melon.