Friday, November 28, 2008

Cat Patrol

Today, in addition to spending lots of time with Janow, I took pictures of saddle pads.
There were a lot of pictures of a lot of pads.

The Cat Patrol inspection team remained vigilant.
Even in the confusion of many pads in many rooms, they tried to keep calm.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ready for winter, maybe

We have this dead tree on the property. A woodpecker has been using it for his winter acorn storage. These acorns are in there tight-you cannot even wiggle them with your fingers! There is a lot of poison oak too, but it has lost it's leaves for the winter. Dave has been cutting the heavy stems while they are easily accessed. He says he has never had poison oak, he thinks he is immune. He also believes, but isn't totally sure, that when the plants are dormant, they are safer. I said "I'm not so sure, but we'll know by tonight." So now we know.

Janow has been trace clipped again, and the weather cooled down, so he is better. He was pretty miserable in his heavy coast aid the warmth. Now it's cooler and he is happy.

My new batik saddle pads are not coming along as fast as I expected. I hardly ever get time to work. It's always somethin'! I have finished three and the 4th one is half bound. I have to take pictures today. And decide on pricing. I am thinking of having an introductory price through the end of December. But...I'm way ahead on my Holiday shopping!

Thanksgiving in the home of three picky eaters is challenging only if you feel restricted to tradition. There will be turkey, of course. It had to be one without injected 'solutions' so that took a little shopping, but not much. Dave is the only one that likes stuffing, and he will only eat about half a cup anyway. I got the kind that comes in a box. The only person who really needs mashed potatoes is the person in charge. Another person will be truly unhappy without pumpkin pie so that person is in charge of pie. In deference to lactose intolerance, we cannot have pumpkin pie with condensed milk. I got some milk free vanilla pudding mix from the health food store to use instead. Should be fine. I also got some fresh corn on the cob from a family-run stand in the middle of Fremont.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Evil Santa

Santa can be evil.
Joseph was in the other room, freshly home from Middle School. I yelled very exuberantly:

"Guess what?"
"Today, when I was driving home after dropping you off, I thought of the perfect thing to get you for Christmas!"

So he comes over....."What is it?"

"I can't tell you, then it won't be a surprise."

Eye roll. (Middle schoolers are good at eye roll.)

Later, he asks "Did you hide it?"

I reply "I didn't get it yet. I have to wait until the last minute to get it."


I answer as I leave the room.

"Too big to hide."

He screams "I hate you!"

These two batiks are finally done. They both started doing some odd things in the last step, so I stopped. After a while of not working on them and only thinking, I knew what to do. It worked perfectly.
Maura and Jeff can have one of these, they have to pick.
Each one has a sleeve sewn into the top to put a curtain rod. The bird one is exactly 24 inches wide and 39 inches tall. The bird house one is exactly 23 inches wide and 38 inches tall.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

stick to it

This was in the news page that SBCglobal/yahoo displayed when I logged on this morning.

Toy Hall of Fame points to new addition: the stick

I copied the text to my blog, but if you want to see it, the address is:

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A magic wand, a fishing rod or a royal scepter?

The lowly stick, a universal plaything powered by a child's imagination, landed in the National Toy Hall of Fame on Thursday along with the Baby Doll and the skateboard.

The three were chosen to join the Strong National Museum of Play's lineup of 38 classics ranging from the bicycle, the kite and Mr. Potato Head to Crayola crayons, marbles and the Atari 2600 video game system.

Curators said the stick was a special addition in the spirit of a 2005 inductee, the cardboard box. They praised its all-purpose, no-cost, recreational qualities, noting its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed in myriad ways by a child's creativity.

"It's very open-ended, all-natural, the perfect price — there aren't any rules or instructions for its use," said Christopher Bensch, the museum's curator of collections. "It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight's sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band. ... No snowman is complete without a couple of stick arms, and every campfire needs a stick for toasting marshmallows.

"This toy is so fantastic that it's not just for humans anymore. You can find otters, chimps and dogs — especially dogs — playing with it."

Longevity is a key criterion for getting into the hall, which the museum acquired in 2002 from A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village in Salem, Ore. Each toy must not only be widely recognized and foster learning, creativity or discovery through play, but also endure in popularity over generations.

There are 4 additional paragraphs about dolls and skateboards.

I thought this was especially interesting, since Joseph has played with sticks so much. This hasn't been one of my parenting moves that has seen much approval by my peers. Sticks are dirty, dangerous, and do nothing to promote teamwork and sportsmanlike conduct. Not like Little League or soccer. I have talked to parents who are careful to limit their child's "unstructured activity" as much as possible. I remember the times I spent 'walking around poking stuff with a stick.' I don't think it was wasted time.

Of course, there ought to be a mix.

Here in Silicon Valley, as I'm sure in many other places, there is social value in looking affluent. Sticks don't really fit. Everything is new and shiny.

Personally, I think we are on the edge of some big changes. Environmental issues are making us look closer. Recycling was the main thing for a long time. Now we are looking at the cost of recycling. What is the impact of the recycling process? What are the resources needed for the transport and processing of the stuff before it is reduced to raw material again?

There are new terms and concepts coming into use. Re-use is not the same as re-cycle. It means to re-use without transport and processing back to raw materials.

An example from my life-- Janow, the horse with hay fever, gets anti-histamine medication every evening. I have two friends who help me out by giving it to him. I mix it with bran and alfalfa pellets in a plastic bag, one bag each day. They are doing me a huge favor, the bags make it easy for them. The bags are all re-used. They have been used as bags before. They have contained hamburger buns, Halloween candy, broccoli, the San Jose Mercury News on a rainy day......

Up-Cycle is another new one. Here, you take something that is one thing, and make it into another without taking it to the recycling center to be reduced to raw materials again. Historically, quilts are up-cycled. Now, however, they usually aren't. Quilters buy new fabric to coordinate better. But if you use the fabric from old and outgrown clothing, your quilt is up-cycled.

If you buy clothing at an outlet like Ross Dress for Less, or Marshall's, with the intent of using it for fabric, it is up-cycled. You can often get better quality fabric for a lower price if you shop this way. Often, the buttons of one garment would cost more than the whole garment if you bought them 'new' at the fabric store. If the dress has never been worn, the buttons are still new.

So, back the The Stick. Free, up-cycled and it comes in environmentally friendly packaging. I thought I was behind the times, but I was ahead of them.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I am behind on blog stuff due to stuff in real life. There have been pictures sitting in the camera getting old.

Here is one Dave took on the way home from Mt Hamilton last Sunday. Do to shrtening daylight ours and the time change, it was getting dark and the lights of San Jose were comming on.

Dave loves Mt Hamilton and takes tons of pictures every weekend.

And here is our little Almond Roca Factory. She has the cat instinct to sit on "something."

The mess in the background? It's my pile of gifts for the season. I messed it up in photoshop. I don't want anyone to see it and thingk "OOOOH, I'm getting ______!" and then get me something very VERY nice because of it.

Then find out that they are only getting _______ . and somebody ELSE is getting the _______! And then, of course, they get me _____!!! when I only got them _____ . and then I get to feel guilty.

or worse:

They will see the little_____ . and thing: "oh, she's only getting So&so a little______ . I'll have to get SO&so a big______!! to make up for it. Cara can get a dinky_____ . from me so it wll all come out even."

And then THEY recieve the little______ . because the big______!! was really for So&so. Then I can think that they got a big_____!! for So&so, proving that they always loved her best anyway.

We don't need this.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


What I got wasn't what I wanted. I opened a Flickr account to do it, but Flickr cannot really do what I need right now. So, visiting forums, I find that Picassa can, so I opened a Picassa account. That was easy, it is part of my Google account and the same one I use for Blogger.

My Picassa account already has pictures in it. All the pictures I have ever put into my blog are in my Picassa account. But the pictures I want to use are not. So I have to upload them. So I need new software.

But wait just a gol durn minute! If loading pictures into my blog also puts them into my Picassa account, why don't I just put them in my blog!? I don't have to publish that entry.

I've done that when I have planned to be away. I load a bunch of photos into an entry and then save without publishing. Then, from another computer, I can make a new entry, copy the photo html from the unpublished entry and paste it into the new entry, and then I have put in a photo from a computer that didn't contain my photos!

Well........that was the easy part. The next part took a couple hours. If the documentation had been well written, it would have been faster. This is what I wanted.

These are the batiks for the saddlepads I am making. Think how much progress I would have made on them in the hours I spent on the computer!

I have been busy at other stuff too, but I don't know what I have accomplished in my efforts. I voted. I spent a lot of time becoming more familiar with the measures and propositions on our local ballot. Fifteen of those. Then the county and state offices, I skipped those. I voted for the local county and city offices. Somebody asked me how I voted. I told her I didn't vote for an individual person. I voted for which way I wanted the wind to blow. Do I want to wipe out a trailer park? or a tree frog?

Janow has survived our first winter storm. I wasn't worried since he has survived many, but HE became worried. He went out in his heavy winter coat, became frightened, was soaking wet, would not come in. He was shivering. THEN, I worried. I had to shut him in with a stall guard. Then covered him with his heavy wool canvas blanket. I told him he was too old to be wet and cold all night!

He began to get warm and I stayed with him until he was calmer. I had to set up water inside, his trough is outside. Then I was soaked. In the morning, he was dry under the blanket, but still damp everywhere else.

Somebody invited me into Facebook. I thought "Good idea, I will become more searchable." After how many hours on a learning curve? I don't think so. So I'm there, and I get emails of people who want to be my friend or something. People I don't know. I haven't decided how I feel about that. After the hours I spent on Picassa, I don't want to spend more time.

I have also been busy shopping for gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Then I got this email. "What do you want for Christmas?" I have been so busy with everyone else, I don't know. I think what I really want is January.

My thumb is also better. I accidentally punched a hole in my thumbnail with the needle on my industrial upholstery sewing machine. Blood came up through the hole. I tried to wash it, but a puncture wound through a fingernail is hard to clean. After 4 days, it doesn't seem to be infected and is wearing a heavy coat of Sally Hanson's Hard as Nails.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Flickr slideshow

I'm trying to figure out how to do this.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Joseph showed this YouTube to me today. He asked: "What do you think?"

I replied "I'm impressed!"

but I was thinking........You could get that good at math with only half as much practice time!