Friday, January 31, 2014

Second Chance

  • It's been almost a month and I still haven't jotted down any New Year's resolutions. Sure, it's usually the same old thing every year - read more books, tidy up and organize, get more exercise (hate it), that kind of thing. But it becomes a plan of action . . . if you write it down.
  • It's been almost a month and I'm still using my 2013 datebook because I haven't transferred the important ICE (in case of emergency) info to my new datebook. (And I'm still carrying a datebook because I haven't learned how to use my new lime green iPhone 5C.)
  • It's been over a month and I still haven't sent out thank you notes for the wonderful, thoughtful (and yummy) gifts we received at Christmas.
  • It's been over a month and I still haven't baked any yummy treats for our neighbors and friends. My fresh lemons are waiting patiently in the fridge to be turned into delicious lemon bars.
  • It's been almost a month and my Cricket and Flip looms are still standing naked. The plan for 2014 was to have a warp on either loom (or both) at all times.

Which brings us to today- The Lunar New Year.

Happy Chinese New Year, 2014

I like the idea of starting with a clean slate, the potential of anything being possible. Today, being the Lunar New Year, anything is possible including completing my list.

As I said, anything is possible.

Kung Hee Fat Choy, 2014.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Oh, I Wish it Would Rain

Last weekend, we took the bikes out for a ride around Laguna Lake Park in SLO. The Man lifted both bikes over a fence allowing us to ride on the Open Space area. (A young female jogger said, "Wow" when she saw this feat of masculine strength. Yeehaw.)

The landscape was another shocking reminder of how drought-stricken SLO County has become. Presently this is our third year of little to no rain during our so-called "wet" season. Earlier this month the Governor declared California in a drought emergency.

Laguna Lake Open Space 1/19/14

Open Space in Greener Times     City of SLO photo

It was nice to see that Laguna Lake is still a viable destination for wintering and/or migratory birds. In the waning daylight we were lucky to see this large raft of American White Pelicans.


Our own Atascadero Lake has dried up and left most of the lake bed exposed. On our last visit we did see several different types of waterfowl: geese, ducks, grebes, and a few herons. Not sure how much longer they'll be there if the Lake continues to shrink. 

Atascadero Lake with exposed lake bed.

My daily mantra has become, "I wish it would rain".

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Not Just For Kids

Just in time for Christmas, The Man found a gently-used bike for himself at Goodwill. At the same time, I found a small potholder loom. It was a good day for both of us. The new, unused Harrisville Designs metal potholder loom was priced at $1.50. I knew it was worth ten times that amount. I recognized Harrisville Designs as the family-owned New Hampshire company that makes textiles, yarns, and various weaving looms. This was no cheap-o imported plastic loom.

We all had one of these looms as a kid, I think mine was red. And I'm sure everyone probably remembers weaving on the little potholder loom with the day-glo acrylic loops. I guess no one thought about the dangers of acrylic during those days. Compared to natural fibers, acrylic- a petroleum-based fiber, is highly flammable, melts as it burns and is difficult to extinguish. Yikes!

Although my loom came with colorful cotton loops I wanted to use my own yarn. At first I thought I would need to tie loops together but then I found a YouTube video by Noreen Crone-Findlay, demonstrating a continuous warp and weave with yarn. Yay, for using the yarn stash!

I gave it a try and wove a few cotton yarn samples. Using variegated yarns makes it easy-peasy. Using two colors a little more challenging especially since I wanted the edging to be one color. I single-crocheted an edge on one but it's a little too granny for me. On another I made a fringe by hemstitching the edge which was time-consuming. The fringe looks good but defeats the purpose of a speedy quick project.

And though they're nice and heat-resistant (tried it on the hot and heavy cast iron skillet) they're a little small with a finished size of 6" x 6".  Hmmm, let's see, fairly quick and easy to make, useful, very attractive, washable, but a little small.  No problem:

Harrisville Designs Potholder Pro 10" x 10" Loom.

New Toys Fiber Tools

Both sizes work good together as a set. Hot Pots, we've got you covered.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Like a Moth

This past Thursday on the local TV news we heard about the annual Christmas Tree Burn to be held the following evening at the Old Santa Inés Mission. Of course we had to go. We invited Z. (The Boy) and picked him up after school. It was quite a trip, both literally and figuratively, the event was being held in Solvang, 80 miles to the South; and a trip because, wow, what a wild and crazy experience. To add to the festivities a classic rock band played fire-themed songs and Z. treated us to fresh hot popcorn.

Old Mission Santa Inés, est.1804

We didn't have a Christmas tree to offer but there was no shortage. The pile continued to grow as we waited for the sun to set. The Burn was scheduled to start at 6 pm.

The waning daylight gave us an opportunity to check out the Santa Barbara County's Monster Fire Truck as well as a beautiful sunset over the Santa Ynez River Valley.

The Man, The Boy, and The Truck 

The evening started out with an educational demonstration by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. First, they lit a wet pine tree, pffft, not much. Then, they lit a donated Christmas tree. The single tree burst into flames shooting skyward, fueled by dry needles and oily pine resin.

The main event happened quickly. The barriers were set up and the firemen manned the perimeter in case the spectators got too close. Not a problem there. As soon as the burn pile took off we all starting backing up to escape the smoke, ash, and intense heat.

Woohoo, Awesome

Woohoo, Scary

Woohoo, Hot

It was worth the trip down to Solvang for a few hours last night. Quite an experience to see a simulated wildfire up close and personal. The Man gets a pat on his back for diligently maintaining our property and keeping us as wildfire-safe as possible.

Main Message: "Don't try this at home".

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday: Day of Rest

I am an old Nurse, I mean (ahem), I've been an RN for a long time: over 30 years. These past few years I've been working in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit . . . PACU . . . you know, the Recovery Room. I work there because I like it and I'm good at it. How good you might ask? Well, let's just say I can make you smile no matter what kind of surgery you've had or even if you were uncomfortable when you first woke up. I can do that for you--I have the knowledge, the experience, and I have good drugs and I know how to use it.

I work because I want to and I've been fortunate to get by on two days a week. It helps pay our monthly expenses and it allows me to maintain my fiber and yarn habit. But.

But, I also take Call. Usually most Wednesdays but every once in awhile, when my co-workers who like to take Call has plans or is out of town, I take a weekend Call. Twenty-four hours: 6:00 am to 6:00 am.

Yesterday was a 24-hour Call for me and I got called in. Three times. Three separate times. It's not an exaggeration to say I walked in the door and the phone rang.

So, sorry, this week's post isn't much. I'm too tired.

But, yes, I did help a few people smile.