Thursday, November 16, 2006

Anyone got a spare room?

I got home today to find FIVE packages on my doorstep! Three were boxes of fiber for the Breedswap I'm running. I now have ten very large boxes, and it's getting a tad crowded in my room. Anyone got a spare?

The other two were interesting. One was from Gary, a member of the guild, who VERY generously offered to help me fix my Baynes castle style wheel. It makes a clanking noise when treadled, kind of annoying. He thought that perhaps leather fittings on the footmen would be more flexible, and offered to replace the plastic pieces with custom made leather ones. Peru and I fit them on the wheel and they do seem to help a bit, maybe more after they get broken in. You can still hear a bit of a clank, but it's softer, and I can't feel it in my feet, so I shouldn't get tired so quickly. Thank you SO VERY MUCH, Gary!

The last package was my birthday present to myself. It's a parlor wheel, circa 1890, very tiny and SO light. It's amazing. I haven't quite managed to figure it out entirely; it's a double drive which I've never used before. The bobbin is so tiny, if it holds an ounce of fiber, I'd be surprised. The oriface is tiny as well, and I think it'll be suited to making lace. At least that's my guess! I've oiled it up but need to get better instructions on how a double drive is set up. Where's a guild meeting when you need one?

Yesterday, I got a new spindle, from Jen at Crowhill house. It's GORGEOUS! It's VERY heavy, maybe three ounces! I got it for plying. What really surprised me is that I was able to spin a fairly thin single on it. I'll try to get pictures up soon.

Time for bed. I think I may be coming down with a cold. I get sick out here way more often than I did in Boston. Winter. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wish Lists

Several people have expressed a wish to know what I and my crew would like for the upcoming birthday and holiday time.

I'm easiest. I want fiber. Lots of fiber, in pretty colors. I like silk, or merino, or even better, a blend; or exotics like buffalo or yak or camel or oooohhh cashmere. Or Spindles. Links to my favorite stores on the sidebar. Or Knitting/Spinning/Weaving books. I'd love a copy of "Spinning for Softness and Speed" by Paula Simmons, which can be foundhere. "Wild Fibers" magazine subscription, or any magazine subscription put out by Interweave Press. (Spin Off, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet) Oh... and Lantern Moon knitting needles; they're so GORGEOUS! Or a set of "Options" circular needles from Knitpicks.

Eric? He's easy too. Money. For social events and books and CD's and games and comics and such. There's a few subscriptions he'd like as well, and I'll try to get a list up.

Murphy? Star Wars figures. "A light saber that makes noise." Moon Shoes. Games. He likes interactive things. If you get him clothes, he's a size 8, but he'd prefer TOYS!

Peru? Guitar Center certificates. Man, he's TOUGH! I have no clue. He always answers "I don't need anything." except for guitar stuff, and I won't get that; too personal a thing, you know? So gift certificates.

Our Town

Eric, aka, Quentin Tarrentino Jr, is currently starring in a production of "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder. We all went to see the Sunday Matinee, and I must say, it was very good. It's a very small theater, so you can see and hear everything very well. The actors spoke clearly and for the most part slowly; the worst thing about amateur productions is the tendency for the actors to rush through their lines.

Eric plays Simon Stimpson, the church organist. It's funny, but even in costume, even from the back of the theater, before he even said a word, Murphy said "THERE'S ERIC!" He was so excited to see his big brother in action and find out why he's always at rehearsal and not available to play with!

Not being at ALL prejudiced, I thought he was wonderful. It's a painful role to play, and he has to scowl through the whole deal and even cry. I'm very proud of him. He's getting much more comfortable on stage, and the Mommy curse didn't show up this time! (I have in the past, made him nervous, and he'd screw up on the nights I came.) The entire play was quite an enjoyable experience, even for Murphy, and we topped it off with the obligatory trip to McDonald's on the way home. Being out with my family is so much fun. I'm so lucky to have such a great guys with wonderful senses of humor and we enjoy every moment, no matter how trivial. I remarked after the play to Peru that it was so sad that people miss half their lives waiting for the big important moments, when the really important moments are there every day. Kinda the point of the play, eh? But I KNOW how lucky I am, and every second of every day I think about it and am so grateful.

The play continues this weekend, so if you're in the Ventura area, it's worth a looksee.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We now return you to your regular programing...


In the midst of election noise, I never posted pics of our little joy in his Halloween costume. So I present for your fear and amazement TA-DA!


We had a lovely time; the weather was perfect, there were more goblins about that I've seen since I've been here. Murphy got a TON of candy. He has watched "Return of the Sith" every day for I can't tell you how long. It was great fun.

And in fibery news, I created a special yarn for Halloween. I had a small skein of the raggedy uneven ends of this GORGEOUS black merino:

and some leftover gold/apricot silk:

So I plied them together and the result?

I love how it looks; very halloweenish and cool. There's not enough to do anything with, unfortunately; but next year, I'll be ready!

I also plied some white kid mohair/merino blend:

And the softest most amazing targhee, I've fallen in LOVE; it's as soft as the mohair blend! Amazing! I can't wait to get my hands on more.

I bought two pounds of raw targhee fleece. I've washed it and dried it. It's now sitting in a bag in my bedroom waiting for me to gain enough guts to try to process it. And I still haven't processed my fleece for the BreedSwap, the California Varigated Mutuat I bought a while back. I'm so afraid of ruining it! But everyone has sent their research, and five people have already sent their fiber, so I'd better get started.

BTW, do you have any idea how much room 32 boxes containing two pounds of fiber each will take up? I may end up sleeping in the car....

Go Dems!

Thank God! Voters turned out in record numbers and spoke up, which to me, despite the landslide victory for the dems, is the real victory. People participated. People paid attention.

Now it's up to the Democrats to prove their worth. Keep your noses clean, keep you wallet and various body parts in your pants, and DO YOUR JOB! Provide oversight. Represent your constituents. Show up to work, be honest, work hard. Get us out of the mess Bush has gotten us into, and provide the things we so desperately need. Make America great again.

We Will Be Watching.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Can you waste a vote?

After my earlier post today, there was a discussion about third party votes. Someone asked, "Why would anyone waste their vote on a candidate that can't win?" This was my reply:

"First of all, the founding fathers warned us of a two party system, fearing exactly what has happened. Though they tried to protect us from ourselves by setting up those famous checks and balances, the idiocy of people not performing their jobs through greed of power and money is something they couldn't legislate.

Second, your vote should be your opinion, your belief. To abdicate your choices simply because there's no chance of winning is how we got here, and is unfair to the system.

When things are this fucked up, it's a hard choice to feel like you're throwing your vote away; but a vote is worthy all on it's own, and does not need the justification of winning to be important. If more people had the courage of their convictions, and I'm talking now to the current Dems, John Coyners and Russ Feingold and their like excepted, we wouldn't be in this mess.

I too would vote in any possible way to get these liars and murderers out of office, but I greatly respect the choices we make when we vote, and would not discourage anyone from voting their conscience."

This is something I've wrestled with on and off for most of my adult life. Being who I am, off beat non-traditional candidates often appeal to me. Do I throw my vote away by following my heart, or vote the "sensible" way?

What has come to me over the years is that the vote itself has intrinsic value. The act of casting one's vote means you've made a commitment to the process; that you're participating, you're invested in your country and it's government. This is no small thing. To me, it's very similar to the situation our soldiers find themselves in now; their service alone, their commitment to country and to each other is noble and worthy of support and even awe, regardless of the legality or the ethics of the war in which they serve. Again, it's an act of participation in a greater structure of our society.

So no, I don't believe that you can throw your vote away. I do however, think that sometimes the "throw the bums out at all cost" is worth consideration.


I haven't posted in a while, as life has been busy. I've done some fibery things that I'll get to later, but first the obligatory editorial. I've decided it's too hard to maintain two blogs (can hardly handle this one!) so from now on, here you get me in my full glory, lucky you!

Tomorrow will be one of the most important days in our country's history. I sincerely hope that EVERYONE will get out and vote. Voting is a right and a duty and above all, a privilege, a franchise that this country was built upon. Never mind if there are long lines... never mind if you think they'll cheat and your vote won't count, never mind if your spouse votes opposite of you and you think they'll just cancel out. VOTE ANYWAY!

One of my favorite jokes was about a husband and wife who were of different parties, and they decided that since their vote would cancel each other out, why bother? Of course, one of them secretly did vote every year while the other didn't.

Above all, it's important for you to stand up and give your opinion. This is a chance for you to tell your government just what you think of them and their policies, and an Aye is as important as a Nay. SO VOTE. Yes, even if you disagree with me. Even if you think President Bush is doing a fine job and you agree with his every thought. This is the difference between progressives and republicans... we protect rights we disagree with and encourage the voice of every American in the voting booth and elsewhere.

However... if you're undecided, here's a few things you might keep in mind.

1. Bush lied. Repeatedly. And because of his lies, nearly three thousand American soldiers are dead, and hundreds of thousands more are maimed and torn; in total, far more than those affected by the completely unassociated World Trade Center bombing of September 11, 2001.

2. Bush has given the perpetrator of that bombing every single thing he has ever wanted.

A. Osama bin Laden wanted us out of Saudi Arabia. We are OUT. Gone. Kaput. Our presence in his Holy Land was the main burr in his craw, and Bush capitulated and left. Silently, if you notice... no big press circus around that, for sure. The US has never done that, pulled out completely leaving no troops behind, in any other situation.

b. He has replaced a secular dictatorship (yes, I know, Saddam was a bad man...) with a Fundamentalist Islam government, where the Koran supercedes their Constitution. As the Koran is at least as contradictory as the Christian Bible, this leaves huge room for interpretation, leaving the plight of women and children in Iraq far worse than it was under Saddam, admittedly no picnic then.

c. He has constantly threatened us with fear of attacks, instituting bizarre "safety" regulations and curtailing and finally eliminating our fundamental rights as American Citzens. OBL wanted us to live in fear, and GWB has tried his best to insure we do.

I could go on, but honestly, it's too depressing. And that's only GWB himself; shall I start with his Adminstration? Remind you of the incompetence and apathy of Katrina? Point out that despite controlling ALL THREE BRANCHES of government, the only acts of significance they have managed to pass have to do with curtailing our liberty? That they have accomplished NOTHING of what they told us they would do? That they have spent less time in session than any Congress in our history? Point out the hypocrisy of these "Family Value" politicians that are now in jail, or under indictment, or under investigation? Shall I discuss the ethics of promising us tax cuts in wartime to make themselves more appealing in elections, shaking our hands while stealing from our childrens future and mortgaging our country in pieces to those we often count as enemies?

The Democrats fare not much better. Democrats failed us by bending to pressure and not telling us or fighting for the truth. They remind me of the somewhat ethical member of a corporation who meekly raises his hand in objection but is easily cowed back into his seat when reminded from where his paycheck comes. There have been a few lone voices crying in the wilderness, but not nearly enough. They are as at fault as the Administration.

On the whole, I prefer Democrats. Their scandals are limited (usually!) to sex between consenting adults and petty theft, and when they take your dollars for taxes, they do give you some services in return. I do wish they'd grow a spine, however. Russ Feingold, anyone?

At any rate, please vote. This is what our country was based on. It's the foundation of who we are as Americans, what makes us unique. It's what our soldiers have died for in every conflict throughout history, for our ability to have a voice within our goverment, choose our leaders and affect their policy. Get to the polls. And if you find there are issues with the vote, do not let it pass. Speak up. Fight for your rights. Make THEM follow the rules. Make this election fair. If it isn't, march in the streets. There will be patriotic Americans beside you, fighting for our Country. We are here, and we will not be silenced.

Vote. Just Do It. VOTE.