Friday, April 29, 2022


The last book is up on my current MP3 download, The Kite Runner. The book has been recommended over and over to me, and finally I have it downloaded and queued. I loaded a lot of books last time around, going mostly for length. I listened to two Obama volumes, Barack Obama's volume one and Michelle's Becoming, each read by its author. Michelle has a sibilant S, and I love her all the more for it.

Another engrossing book was Know My Name, also read by its incredible author, Chanel Miller. Ms. Miller was the victim of sexual assault on Stanford University campus in 2015. She pressed charges against her 18 year old assailant, and two years later, after suffering a demoralizing and degrading trial, her assailant, Brock Turner was found guilty on all three counts.

Like many, I learned of the case when she wrote a victim impact statement that went viral within an hour. It was read eleven million times in four days, all thirty pages. Ms. Miller was known as Emily Doe from the time she was found unconscious, throughout the trial, and to the publication of her memoir. After the statement was read in open court, the judge read his verdict: ninety days in county jail, as anything else would be unfair to such an outstanding athlete and young man commencing his adult life.

Fittingly, the judge was recalled. The young man lost his scholarship and was banned from Stanford campus.

Know My Name was a compelling "listen". Actually reading it would have been the same--impossible to put down.

The books I downloaded lined up alphabetically, and so A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson popped up early. I bought and started reading the book a couple of years ago, and gave it up. Listening to it narrated was a much better experience, and I sailed on through. Light reading, but satisfactory.

Much further down the alphabet I came on Pearl Buck's The Good Earth.  On the whole I was going for length, and this is a long one. I remember reading it from my parent's book shelf, when I was a teen ager, but have not encountered it since. The entire length I struggled to place a time on the book. I simply could not place the novel in a context that included trains, soldiers with guns and a revolution. The Mao Zedong change of China was post World War II. A trip through Wikipedia reminded me of the 1911 revolution.

I did not remember one iota of my first reading of the book, sixty years ago. Definitely worth my time, though not a book I would read again.

And so I come to The Kite Runner. I hope it's as fascinating as has been claimed. A lot of good books these last several months and I have put a lot of towels on the shelf, as well as shipping more than a few around the country. It took me only a month to clear the last warp of towels, and I hope to weave off the current before the first Peninsula show, the first weekend of June.

I've made enough colors to make a decent color wheel. I've included a cream towel for some time, just to have a decent array. It's redundant, I think, with the cream rose center, and I probably will leave it out when the next towel is ready.

And it will be periwinkle. Also on standby, yellow:

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Tiny home and schoolie fasciation

The idea of converting a van to a tiny home and travelling the country fascinated me years ago. Way back in the eighties, when my sister and I travelled together often, I had a rig like that. It was on a six cylinder Dodge chassis, with sofas that converted to beds, an ice box, a stove.

I reconsidered the whole idea several years ago, when I ran out of grandchildren at home and did not need a three bedroom trailer. I looked into a Mercedes camper van that could easily accommodate my loom and myself and my itch to travel. But oh, the expense. Even used camper vans were more than I wanted to spend for a reliable unit.

And then things began going wrong with me. I broke my leg. I broke my shoulder. This not only sidelined me; it challenged my physical ability. I have severe osteoporosis, probably genetic. In fact, my oldest daughter has suffered several broken bones in the last few years, and has the same diagnosis. So much for living on the road.

Then I discovered tiny homes, and in a lot more countries than this. I had fun on YouTube, finding them shown off, toured, self built, commercial, clever design elements. Their biggest problem, at least in this country, is zoning. When we built the storage barn on the property, to hold our weaving supplies, our building permit said it could not be converted to a residential building as septic would not be permitted. Yet its square footage exceeds many tiny homes.

After I'd looked at hundreds of tiny homes, I discovered van conversions. Hooray for YouTube and hooray for all those converters who made videos of their vans and travels and posted them. Then I discovered schoolies!

All sizes, all styles, travelling, travelling, boondocking, especially on BLM sorts of land in the west. Very little or none of that east of the Mississippi, but still ample boondocking opportunities, with most of the comforts of home. And there's always a campground.

My daughter called one day when I was engrossed in tiny homes over lunch. I confessed. She said "I love schoolies, myself!"  We're both addicts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Happy Day

Today is April 26. I came home from rehab for the broken femur on December 24th. Three months ago! I have spent the time using a walker, feeling like a feeble and pitiable old lady being grateful when someone held a door for me. And I was grateful; door mobility ends when both hands are occupied by a walker.

Yesterday I kept my appointment for a steroid injection into the tangle of arthritis in my right hip. I had this same treatment last fall, when the arthritis flared up, probably due to the exertion of the move. It was an abject failure, and I was reduced to the walker and even the wheelchair.

But yesterday was so different. There were three personnel in the room, not one. A technician monitored the laser screen. There was a student doctor who used the laser wand to locate the top of my femur, which x-rays showed involved with arthritis. The student administered the shot of ice, the doctor inserted the syringe and I could see the needle on the screen, headed to its target. Shazaam, it was done. 

They helped me off the table, patted my shoulder, told me it would be effective in a day or two, I might be back in four months for a replacement, and helped me to the door. And today, I'm back on my cane.

I went to the grocery store. I went to pick up my prepared meals. Now I need to look on Amazon for a little folding cart to haul my swag from the car to the house. I took the walker to the car and left it parked. It was a tough balance when I came home to get five packaged meals and a grocery bag into the house on its tiny frame.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Only in Ohio (?) or even the USA

A while back a lot of us had a round the blog discussion of the J. D. Vance book and later, movie, Hillbilly Elegy. I read the book a couple of times, and then caught the movie on Netflix. I was deeply engrossed by the book and the movie. I knew the characters; they were were my childhood neighbors who came north to earn enough money to retire to their mountain homes.

They were my sister's childhood friend, Starlet, whose family home was high in the Great Smokey Mountains, just west of the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee. They even were one of my brother's several wives and her children. He always had a soft spot for little women who needed help.

I was not the least surprised when I heard Vance, who had become an investment banker, had entered politics. I was surprised to read he had declared himself as Republican. Given his background, how could that be! He is running for the Senate seat vacated by Rob Portman, an Ohio Representative appointed by George W. Bush to the Senate seat vacated by George Voinovich . A long line of Republican dominance there.

But how could a self made mountain kid be a Republican? Well, he was a fundamentalist Christian, who tend to be Republican. More information trickled along to me. Vance characterized Trump as an idiot, and worse. Both Portman and Trump called Vance a R.I.N.O., a Republican in Name Only. I wondered if Vance was a flank move.

And this morning's news is curiouser and curiouser. Apparently Vance was speaking at an engagement when an aid brought him a phone to take a call from a Trump minion. Vance had apologized for calling Trump reprehensible, and now Trump was endorsing Vance, over five other well known candidates.

Maybe Trump is the flank move.

I'm sure every state has wonderful and not so wonderful stories of political shindigs. I'm sure big money is behind most everything, except possibly the election of Barack Obama. Most importantly, it is only six months to the mid term election. Vote. Encourage everyone you know to vote. Please support "get out the vote" programs to register teens and others.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Ideas, please

It snowed overnight. Worse yet, it is one-thirty this afternoon, and still snowing. I put off today's errands to tomorrow, and I cannot dodge them tomorrow. I have an appointment to be evaluated for a physical therapy program. It was another "First Available" appointment, and this one fell in April. I do not want to miss it.

Here is my dilemma. As most repeat customers know, I offer a discount eventually. It was easy to do when I managed invoices "in-house". But now I have bought a web site and have a very basic program to handle sales. The program comes courtesy of Square, the company that handles my credit card sales and provides the software on that site.

The software meets my basic sales needs; it displays my towels nicely, tells me what to ship and where, and puts the receipts in the bank. There are "add-ons" to the program, but, of course, they cost money. 

My grandson Blake helped me set up the program, and he is totally responsible for giving us the Where the Towels Live page suggested by Margaret of Camino Confidential. I asked Blake to look into a couple of add-ons I might use, and he dug down to the cost. There is no free lunch, as we know.

The cost of the programs I could use is $49 per month, after the first free month, after we've done all the work and have it up and running. That's the same as putting two towels in the trash can, every month.

How about this: when you buy the fourth towel, in the same order you can have one additional towel of your choice free, depending on availability, which you also can figure out. (When inventory drops to two towels, the program alerts the buyer to low inventory.)

Simply place your order, and send me an email saying you have now purchased four towels and want your free towel, and state the color. I will add it to your order.

Do you think this will work? Let me know in the comments, or give me any other ideas you can think of.

Whatever I decide to do, I'll advertise all over this blog, and on my web page,

Saturday, April 16, 2022


The feeling of helplessness in the face of so much world turmoil leaves me on the whole sick in the pit of my stomach. The last time I was totally invested in change was the Women's March on Washington, 2017. Now I support so much with my money, and of course it helps, but the change? Barely perceptible. I just am overwhelmed.

Life goes on, we know. I am busy because it is all I know. I suppose I should thank the universe for my parents and grandparents, who only knew working to survive and prepare for the future. And then, my future is closer to closing than it has ever been. That's an amusing observation.

It was a busy week in the studio. Turnaround has been faster than I ever recall. Without the back and forth of changing out empty spools of warp I stayed focused on turning and wound on all eleven bouts of thread in three hours. Jan says it was two and a half hours.

I spent this week on some errands, and tying the old warp threads to new. My birthday balloons are being overwhelmed. Two have put down their heads. I wonder why they seem to be going down in order. The white was first, last weekend. Now the yellow. Blue next?

The warp is ready for weaving. One of the most uniform in some time. I spent an hour or more last night, retying each bout to the apron rod. I'm weaving the first set of towels in garnet, on the shelf back there.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Let's end the insanity!

Half and more of the population of this country is subjugated to the will of others. 

A woman in Texas was charged with murder following a miscarriage. The hospital where she had the miscarriage turned her in, when she said she had induced the miscarriage. 

This all happened according to Texas law. 

Everyone involved followed the Texas law. The hospital turned her in.  The grand jury indicted her. A sheriff arrested her. The woman went to jail. The county prosecutor dropped charges; the woman is freed. The prosecutor said he could find no Texas law under which to prosecute her.

This is insane. That any of it happened is insane. As insane as Republican gerrymandering maps still be thrown out for gerrymandering. As insane as voter suppression laws.

What will be made illegal next? Oh, wait. Being gay. Talking about human sexuality. Reading about it in books that have been in print for half a century. "Don't say gay" legislation has just been introduced in my state. In Ohio! 

The oppressors on the whole are white men, and some men of color who seem to enjoy the power of oppression. They are holding women in this country to their will. Progressive voters must clear higher and higher hurdles.  Children who know from the day they can tell a parent they want a ballerina costume, not cowboy, that they are in the wrong body.

The only solution I know is to convince all eligible voters to vote. Erasing the bigotry of powerful men will not happen over night; it will take time. But it's time for the rolling tide of enlightenment to overtake, sweep away the lawmakers whose laws punish most everyone except themselves.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

2 1/2 hours--just normal, not a record

I set out to tell you about warping a loom. My sister came to help, switching out new tubes of thread for empty tubes, so I could keep on turning the crank and not have to attend to that end of the business. A friend of hers called, and when Jan mentioned what was going on, she heard "Oh, can I come watch?" People sat that a lot. Jan sent her some pictures, so I'll use them.

When Jan arrived, I'd just finished weaving to the end of the warp. My arms and back were pretty tired. On my own I might have called it a day, at eleven in the morning. But, my little sister had given over part of her day to helping me, and it wasn't her fault I didn't go back after supper last night and finish the weaving. So, we ate lunch and started in.

There are maybe twenty half pound tubes of 8/2 cotton thread on the shelf. To start, some of them must go on the empty pegs on the rack to the right. There are 40 pegs, some of which you can't even see.

OK, all thread loaded and pulled to the tension box. Three full spools are visible here and probably will make it through the process. All the rest probably will be replaced. Birthday balloons in the background.

Here is all the thread, from the rack, through the tension box and being wound onto a bout. The threads go through two reeds, and over a peg in the tension box. The reeds control the threads to 2", the width of each bout. The peg adds tension to the thread. You also can see thread guides on the bout edges. These keep the threads from inadvertently slipping into the bout on either side.

Now for the real work. There is a crank that fits one end of the beam, and there is a weaver, turning the crank to turn the beam and draw the warp through the tension box and into the 2" bout. There are 125 turns of thread on each bout. I have calculated the yardage and the shrink and know my material costs. All that calculation is in a little notebook in the other room. Someday I may think about it and share the information.

Here are all 11 bouts wound on and ready to tie to the old warp. Everything is easy after the beam is loaded, and I'll probably take some sweet time getting to tying. On the arm of the chair is the medium grey I just took off, and under that some more cream, to finish the warp.

Done! Left on the shelf: seven tubes of warp. Had I needed even one more turn, six of those tubes would now be on the spool rack and only one tube left on the shelf.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Looking forward to graupel

I've been busy this week, with doctor appointments I can't seem to shake loose of and a warp that has stretched. I would like to empty my loom of the current warp by Saturday so my sister can help me on Sunday, replacing spools of warp thread when they run out.

There is my spool rack, top to bottom. Some pegs are empty; I'm using the smaller spools to weave off the remnant of my warp. They will be filled with new spools when we begin. Most of the other spools will need replacing, and that will be Jan's job. There is nothing worse than walking around the loom to get to the rack to tie on a new spool of thread!

I guess spring is coming; there is a mass of green bulb leaves in the garden. And, the garden needs raked so badly; a job I still cannot tackle. Out in the back, near the woods, I see a single yellow daffodil, and several stands of daffodil leaves scattered about. I see the squirrels have been very busy these last several years.

The weather remains very unpredictable, swinging wildly from highs of sixty to highs of thirty. Today was mid fifties and then mid forties through the weekend. Those are the highs. Overnight lows still warrant an extra blanket. Therein comes the graupel. 

April showers bring May flowers, says the old adage. The falling overnight temps in the rain can bring snow. Graupel is not hail, it is not sleet. It forms when water droplets freeze on falling snow.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Over for another year

Ann asked how my birthday went and I said "It's over for another year!" Of course it's generally fun to celebrate another trip around the sun. This year, this las six months, have been a bit of a bummer. I need to be off this walker, but I'm still three weeks from a new physical therapy evaluation. My cane hangs on the walker and I execute short walks on it, when my hip isn't hurting too much. It's snowing at the moment, another less than stellar event.

Nevertheless, Beth and Ruth took me to lunch today. We went to Burntwood Tavern, a good central meeting place for the three of us. I had fish, Beth had salmon and Ruth had sliders.

The rest of my lunch went home with Beth to become a fish sammy.

Beth's lunch became history.

And those last two sliders went home with Ruth. We could just phone it in and meet the servers at the table. We each have the same every time.

My birthday present was marzipan. After some unkind soul at UPS scarfed down my Wisconsin marzipan, Beth sent Bill on a marzipan mission. We're talking serious marzipan, here. I opened the marzipan potatoes and thought I'd work through a row. By the end of the afternoon, every potato had crossed my lips. The rest of the haul is on a table across the room. It's probably safe for a while.