Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Virtual Retreat Redux...

This past weekend, several of us held a "virtual retreat". Instead of packing up and moving to a new location, we pretended to be away but work at home. It was fairly successful. And kewl.

I really need to work my ArtShare pieces. In November I promised to send FIVE small art pieces out to (checks records). Have I made then yet? Nope. I'll admit, my first instinct was to make up some of my napkin bags and male those off... who knows, I still may. But I was also interested in making some pieces, and playing some more with compositions based on the circle and triangle.

Started on Friday.. piece #1:
Piece #1, Sunday Morning
The multi-colored piece is yet more of my hand dyed damask tablecloth. I've adjusted the top-most circle some. This piece needs some added texture, and the edges stitched shut, then it's done.

Started Saturday Morning, piece #2:
Piece #2, Sunday Morning
I dont' know why I went so pastel and soft here. The damask is the background.. most of the triangles are commercial fabrics. It still needs stitching and the triangles need some embellishing.

Started Saturday Afternoon (while other pieces were "stewing") Piece #3:
Piece #3, It's a Start
Really just begun here. I stitched the background with a nylon thread, wanting texture but not any color. I fear that the texture is too subtle, but we'll see in the end. There are more steps involved here, but I'm saying till I'm showing it to ya!

These small pieces (they are all maybe 10x15" or so...) are have been fun to work on.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hang On Weezie...

Last night I received two phone calls: one from a man in Cleveland I saw face to face once 13 years ago. The other from a woman near Washington's Coast whom I have never met. But we're family of a sorts... and sad news needs to be delivered in person.

In the very early 1990s "the internet" was little about "the web"; while AOL and Prodigy were starting up, most of the activity on both was contained inside their systems. For most of us, the internet meant IRC, email, usenet groups and bulletin boards. Texty. Very texty.

In Cleveland, Case Western Reserve had decided to reach out and make the internet accessible to anyone with a computer, modem and phoneline. They created the Cleveland Freenet (CFN). As a user, I would put my modem on "auto dial until I connect" and wait through the 10-100 attempts to find an open node on a server, occupying myself some other way until I connected. Once the connection was made, however, I needed to work fast. After 60 minutes, I would be automatically disconnected.

The physical connections could be slow enough that it would take 20 minutes to log in, 10 minutes to access my email, 5 minutes for a message to show on my screen, and a minute each time I tried to scroll down. Still it was my introduction to the net...

One group at CFN that I connected with was Boomers. It was started by a several people including a feisty blonde woman who worked as a cop for the Cleveland Clinic, Weezie. The intro always mentioned that Boomers was a state of mind, not merely a generation. We were witty, serious, incredibly talkative, and we learned about each other. Boomers was mentioned in many of the early books about internet.. an interesting place to check out. An eclectic gathering point. We drew a college student in Taiwan who was coming to the US for grad school; an elder woman in Seattle who has worked with computers since the 50s (?). A tech support woman in Rochester NY; many others who stopped, liked the ambiance and chose to stay.

Over the years, we'd talk about lives: our friends, our families, all the changes in our lives. Sometimes there would be real life get togethers to put faces with names. At the center of all this was Weezie. She was our pack mother. She'd laugh first and loudest, grump stronger, and keep us playing nicely together.

Last night Weezie died. And we of the Boomers family felt a need to draw together in real life to share the news.

This morning I wonder how the family will hold together from here.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Creating A Connection:Visitor to your Home

Well, the Create A Connection exercise for this week from DebR. looks like fun. I kinda don't like the "hometown" thing.. because, well, this isn't my hometown. Not even my home state. However, I've lived here almost 9 years and I've been blogging for 3, so anyone I've connected it through blogging would know me as a bay area gal. And a small tradition says when you hit 5 years in a "new" city.. you ARE a native.

Kewl. (oh, wait.. that's SoCal.!!)

The set-up:
Imagine you've made a connection with another blogger who lives in a completely different part of the world than you do. This blogger is about to take a trip and the connection you've made is so strong that she is going to make your house one stop on her trip. (Yay!) Unfortunately she can only stay at your place for 24 hours (boo!), but she'd like to see some nearby sights while visiting with you.

A Visitor to Your Home

1. Your visitor wants to see something historical. Where would you take her and why?
2. She wants to see something hysterical...well, mildly amusing anyway. She'd even go for cute, quirky, odd, or unique. Where would you take her and why?
3. She wants to take some beautiful and/or interesting photos to fill her albums when she gets home. Where would you take her?
4. She'd like to buy a souvenir that will remind her of your area every time she sees it. What would you suggest and where would you go to get it?
5. Wow, it's been a long day and you're both ready for a snack, or maybe even a meal. Where would you take her to really get the flavor of your area?
Darn. I really wish that Lucy had a bit more time. I would like to go to Alcatraz as I never have been. But you usually need reservations and it takes so much time (travel, wait, boat, walk, boat, travel...) that I don't think I can add this to the day. However, if any one else wants to come visit me and go there... this is your invitation!

Because of the limited time and some specific plans in here, I'm combining a couple of these places in our one long-ish day. And to make this easier on me, I'm declaring my friend's name is Lucy. Not for any particular reason... it's just short, easy to type and I don't think I know anyone in blogland named Lucy.

So just pretend her name IS Lucy.

I picked Lucy up late yesterday night, chatted a bit and settled her into "Chez Roby" with her wifi, tv and private bath to rest and relax. Before leaving, we have a healthy filling breakfast because there aren't any great breakfast diners around me. (more's the pity. And NO IHOP does not count!!). There isn't much of a rush here...

Our first stop Pt. Pinole.

This is part of the East Bay Regional Park system and a true gem. It's a large public park with views of the bay that could not only fill Lucy's album but also grace her walls. It's location on the water means that it's part of the major migratory bird flight path. However, Pt. Pinole is located where the old Giant Explosives Plant used to be. Some of the structures still exist, and we'll walk around and through these. We can stand on the large base where the company vault was (it's not a grove of trees in the picnic area), imagine being in building where they actually mixed the nitro... and imagine pushing carts of the stuff to the step in the production down Angel Buggy Trail. Yes. Have a bad day and you and your buggy meet the angels. So some history and great photos.

Oh, BTW, everyone who comes to visit us gets a trip to Pt. Pinole. Even business associates of the spouser's who are only visiting us for dinner one evening. So all you real blogger friends are forewarned. Pack Your Walking Shoes.

From the park, we will head across the San Rafael bridge, driving past San Quentin and lunch at Marin Brewing Co. Great burgers and tasty brews. Since I'm driving, I'll probably stick to rootbeer. (sigh).

We head south to the Scenic Viewpoint for the Golden Gate Bridge. (Again... great photos and history.) before heading south over said bridge.

Here, we park somewhere along the embarcadaro and stroll the tacky tourist spots for the rest of the afternoon: definate opportunities for souvenir shopping here. We'll probably stop at one of the places on Fisherman's Wharf for something fresh for supper.

We end the day at Club Fugasi for the hysterical part of this day: Beach Blanket Babylon!! a cabaret-style show that comments on things rather currently in the news... with music and REALLY BIG HATS. Lucy and I will compete to see who knows more of the songs used in the show.

Afterwards, we get a little lost while I figure out how to find the freeway. Lucy is catching a red-eye to her next stop... is it your house??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Invitation To A Virtual Quilt Get-Away...

The Way To The Beach
Today most of my Pickle Pals are heading down to Pajaro Dunes (between Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove) for a get-away weekend. Each year we rent a condo for three nights, with the aim of some serious sewing and/or retail therapy time. If you click on the link above, you can take a "tour" of one of the condos.

The one we rent is three levels: the top most floor is the living space (shown prominantly in the tour)... living room/dining area/kitchen. This floor has the best views of the Monterey Bay and beach. It's where most of us set up sewing machines or sit and knit. Below are two floors with sleeping quarters and bathrooms.

Anyway, because of the foot surgery I declined to go this year. First I wasn't sure about the timing and the healing involved; second, I figured I wouldn't be walking on the beach much.. and beach-walking is a key activity for me; and third.. I always end up sleeping on the bottom floor. Way too many steps if I weren't completely healed.. and too many if I had delayed the surgery.

A couple other Pickles aren't going either for a variety of reason. So this year we decided to participate in our own virtual quilt get away. And I'm inviting you to join us.

Just pretend that you are here Condos, Stairs and Beach at Pajaro Dunes
and take some time to work a project this weekend. As if you were on a get-away. Write about it. Post photos. Have fun.

The only thing missing is the sound of the surf...

Photo credits: Pajaro Dunes Vacations.
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
if you haven't seen my Viking Name...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Sunset, 1/16/2007
First, I admit it: I am sucking as a blogger recently. I'm sure it's losing me readers, and I apologize. Personally, I'm blaming it on my minor surgery.

My foot has been healing well, btw. Today is a slight set back. I think I've been overdoing the time on feet a bit (uhm.. nobody who knows me is surprised by that!) and last night I needed a Vicodin before I went to bed. So today?

I'm staying off my feet. And finally working on the ArtShare pieces I still need to finish and mail out.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fiber and Friends.

I MUST give props to friends. I'm (nearly) 55 and it's only recently that I've had friends I can rely on in the thin as well as the thick. (I'm hoping that's right...). With my gimpy foot, I've had to rely on others for a while... and it's even hard for me to write those words. My life experience says: need help? Help yourself or be disappointed.

Monday is our traditional "Pickle" night. We women get together somewhere for a couple hours of food and fellowship. I wasn't sure if I'd make it, mainly because of the driving. But over the weekend Clara emailed me and offered to drive me home if the spouser got me there. What's the problem, you might ask? Well, Clara (though the closest to me..) lives about 10 miles away over the hills requiring her to drive a dark road that she hates. Especially at night.

In the past, I wouldn't have accepted this offer.. making life "easy" for her and staying home. However, I realized something: she chose to offer knowing better than I do how she hates driving that road. If I turn her down? I'm diminishing the quality of the gesture she made. So I called (late) to take her up on the offer.

She didn't get the message and showed up a little surprised but willing to act. Now here's where I get blown away. Another pickle.. one who lives a full 30 minutes away from me and not on my side of the bridge... (say howdy to Debbie!!) offered to drive me if Clara was too tired to do so.

Anyway, someone has come to visit with me Tuesday and Thursday.. so I'm getting lots of friendly support.

Friends. Who can predict the the depth and breadth of friendship? It's blown me away.

And on to fiber...
While I've been sitting around with my feet up, I have finally begun to work on my hand-dyed linen napkin bags.
Machine Stitched Napkin Bag
This bag is completely machine stitched with one of my favorite Pfaffie decorative stitches then put together.
Embroidered Napkin Bag
While this bag has been hand embroidered then lightly machine stitched.
Close-up of Embroidered Napkin Bag
A close up of the embroidery.

I am so getting over the "romance" of these textiles. They are difficult to work, always wanting to go off grain. But I've got about 10 bags in various stages of completion.. so I've got to buck it up for a while. Then just never do this again.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where I wrote about Slow Week.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So I Will Not Forget.

This was part of a comment I left on Grace's blog. However, I've been thinking that it is such a perfect "me" statement, I don't wish to forget it. There I might; Here I never will.

Grace asked about moving through grief and mourning:
And you get through it and find those "two best things: softness and illumination." Yes?
Internet, universe, someone - please tell me yes.
Yes. Eventually we make a kind of peace with our losses. I can see that I am "this way" or cherish "that thing" because of the beings who have touched my soul before.

They are tattoos on my psyche. Forever marks that heal and take on personal meaning but no longer scab and weep.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Dinner Party Revisited

Karoda pointed out some holes in my dinner party post, to which I apply this disclaimer:

I was drugs! (vicoden to be specific). I thought I answered all the questions, but maybe I just fell asleep.

I'll go back and edit this in before I link to the CAC site, but for those who've already read the whole post, here are the missing links:

6. Guest six must be someone from any field who you believe is/was underrated and under-appreciated by most people, but whom you admire. Who would you invite?

This answer will throw off the female/male mix of party, but I'm sure everyone can adapt. I would invite an artist that many haven't heard of: Ruth Asawa. Visit her website and read the quote that begins Arts Activism. It says it all. But imagine an artist who's work is created with paper, crocheted wire or flour clay!
That bonus last minute questions? It goes to my first guest: Thomas Jefferson.

To him I ask:
Today many US citizens view this country as one built and based upon Christian beliefs; there is a growing inclination to use conservative (bible-interpreted) views as a basis of making civil law. There is a strong belief that this is what you intended (ignoring the evidence that demonstrate that you were a humanist before the term was coined).

If you could write an addendum to the Constitution to clarify the role of Christianity or any religious belief as it pertains to government, what would you write?
I'm pretty much off the pain pills now (down to ibuprofen) and walking around pretty well. So today I'm going to spend some time sewing!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Sunday, January 14, 2007

What Will You Be Doing on March 27th??

Silly question, is it? Well, not really. On March 27th hundreds of women will be taking on what they DO in an average day, then sending their journal of the day into Joni Cole. She in turn will turn these journals into her third A Day In The Life books. And this book, she wants to concentrate on working women.

But honestly, almost all women work (ok, Paris Hilton is a possible exception). Whether we "answer to the man," "make it on our own," volunteer, or simply work for own satisfaction. How much our days are similar? How different?

I heard about this project from Elena Center's piece at BlogHer, and as Elena explained:

To be part of this writing project, you'll need to complete a confirmation form saying you plan to keep a day diary.

Joni says in the last book 600 people committed and 500 submitted their diaries. The book featured 34 complete entries and excerpts from more than 200 other diaries.

Just click here to get your confirmation material. Have fun. I hope that many bloghers will participate on March 27th.

I've signed up for the project and I hope you do too. Imagine being able to actually read what an artist's or teacher's day is like!

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Some Suggestions for Those Angry with Blogger

Some Suggestions For Those Angry With Blogger:

and not one suggestion to change blog host!!

Reading through my BlogLines this morning, there are several of my regular reads complaining about problems with blogger (OK, so what else is new?). Thought I would share a couple things that might make your life easier in the future: using a photo hosting site for your photos and simply inserting those into your blogger post; and using a desktop blog posting tool to compose your posts.

1. Judy noted that blogger was once again not processing photographs (Frieda made the same complaint). So she pointed us over to her account on Flickr to look at the pictures there.

You can insert your Flickr photos into your Blogger post.
In fact if you host photos on many sites you can insert the photo.

Here's how:

A. I have uploaded my photos to Flickr and want to put "Giant Storm Cloud" into this post. So I go to my account, find that photo and click on it; then click on "all sizes" and choose "medium" (it fits in the space). Just below that photo it says:

To link to this photo on other websites you can either:

1. Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage.
And THAT'S WHAT I DO. Copy their text, and paste it into my post. Voila! My Flickr photo is inserted in my Blogger post without having to upload the photo again. And yes, there is probably a similar option for other photo hosting sites.

B. Similar to "A" above, except that I use option 2: 2. Grab the photo's URL. Then I can click on the photo icon in Blogger and where it let's you add an image from the web, and paste that grabbed URL in. Or, yeah, I could write the HTML myself... but why try to remember something (a line of code) that I don't have to?

Either way I've inserted my photos into my post without having to deal with blogger's often iffy photo insertion program.

Now, a "work around" for Blogger Losing posts:
(and let's hope that those posts will show up as "drafts").

This is a different option. Yes, you can write your post in NotePad or WordPad or something (NOT a MS Word processing program. They add a lot of extra formatting that screws things up when you publish), then copy and paste into a blog post. Atleast this way the words are not lost.

A different option is to download a copy of blog publishing tool.

I use Performancing but there is also:
Bleezer (still having problems with the new blogger),
ecto, and others.

With any of these tools, they reside on your computer and allow you completely compose a blogpost. You can set them up to log into your blog server and upload the post. Yes, if blogger is down it is still down. But atleast all your work isn't lost, too.

These programs let you insert photos, links, tags.. everything and more that you would do on the blogger compose page.

I'm just saying it's an option...

Edit Saturday afternoon: vicky left a great link in comments. I will be tagging all the links in this post, plus Vicky's and any other left in comments in my with "blogging" so we can all find them whenever we need to remember them.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Sun Will Come Up

Thank you all for your kind wishes. Wednesday I had two (2!!) bone spurs removed from my left big toe. Their presence kept me from bending that foot at all, which was becoming a major pain. For the next 2 weeks I get to wear a "really cute" surgical shoe, but after that? I will be able to wear normal shoes again. Not just the 2 pairs I've been wearing for the past 2 years.

In moments of anticipation, I'm planning on creating a huge wishlist on Zappos. Obviously, I have a way to go.

This week's Getting to Know You exercise at Create A Connection is to throw an imaginary Dinner Party. Guests must meet certain criteria.. and the differences in whom we invite should say a whole lot about us. Since I'm just sitting around, how could I resist??

Dream Dinner Party

1. Guest one must be someone who is/was creative with words - a novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, journalist, etc. Who would you invite?

I don't even need to think about this one: Thomas Jefferson. A brilliant man whose ideas created this country.

2. Guest two must be someone who is/was creative with images - a painter, photographer, sculptor, fabric artist, collage artist, etc. Who would you invite?

Annie Leibovitz. One of the first main photographer for Rolling Stone, I've always been fascinated with her portraiture.

3. Guest three must be someone who is/was a performer - an actor, singer, musician, comedian, acrobat, etc. Who would you invite?

Katherine Hepburn. A role-model for women everywhere.

4. Guest four must be someone who is charting/charted new territory - either in the physical sense, like an explorer, adventurer, or astronaut, or someone like a groundbreaking scientist or inventor. Who would you invite?

Leonardo DaVinci. Hey, Thomas needs someone to talk to.

5. Guest five must be someone who is/was a leader of other people - perhaps in the area of politics, like the literal leader of a country, or perhaps a leader in the area of religion, military, business, or even a great philosopher or teacher, or an inspiring athlete. Who would you invite?

Adm. Grace Hopper. One of the highest ranked woman in the military, creator of COBOL and "coiner" of the term computer bug.

6. Guest six must be someone from any field who you believe is/was underrated and under-appreciated by most people, but whom you admire. Who would you invite?

This answer will throw off the female/male mix of party, but I'm sure everyone can adapt. I would invite an artist that many haven't heard of: Ruth Asawa. Visit her website and read the quote that begins Arts Activism. It says it all. But imagine an artist who's work is created with paper, crocheted wire or flour clay!

7. Guest seven is a wild card - your choice! Is there someone you'd like to invite who didn't seem to quite fit into any category, or was there a category where you'd have really liked to invite two different people? Then this is your chance to add the person you missed to the table. Who would you invite?

Well, this party needs someone to track the conversation and keep things going. A great listener and a good interviewer with a quick laugh. Charlie Rose.

Bonus: Uh Oh! The dinner party is just about to end, and all your guests are about to disappear, and you realize that you've forgotten to ask one important question of one of your guests. You just barely have time to squeeze in that last question, so quick! - what was the question and who did you ask?

It goes to my first guest: Thomas Jefferson. To him I ask:

Today many US citizens view this country as one built and based upon Christian beliefs; there is a growing inclination to use conservative (bible-interpreted) views as a basis of making civil law. There is a strong belief that this is what you intended (ignoring the evidence that demonstrate that you were a humanist before the term was coined).

If you could write an addendum to the Constitution to clarify the role of Christianity or any religious belief as it pertains to government, what would you write?

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quiet but Quickly...

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I'm having some simple surgery later today, and have spent the last couple days doing all that pre-surgical stuff. My focus is in a different place, so I have nothing to share.


By next week I'll be back to normal.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions

Friday, January 05, 2007

Making a new list and checking it...

OK, for many people the idea of making a list and checking it ended a couple weeks ago when Santa made his rounds. The list of working on now is a whole lot different.

It's time to nominate blogs for the Seventh Annual Weblog Awards. Almost all the blogs I'd nomimate would fall in their "craft" setting, where I'm limited to nominating three. I find it really hard to limit myself that far.

Without blinking I came up with:

In A Minute Ago . Sharon writes such a beautiful, specific and detailed blog on the needlearts. While her 100 details in 100 days started both a discussion group and a flickr group last year, I'm sure her "Take a Stitch Tuesday" will be even more successful this year. Her blog is focused, visually appealing, and a continuing source of inspiration for her readers.

Grumperina Goes to Local Yarn Shops and the Home Depot.

A Bird In Hand.

Posy Gets Cozy


Wee Wonderfuls

Wish Jar

Art Junk

See Eunny Knit

The Yarn Harlot

Now I'm sure there are blogs I've missed and blogs I haven't found yet. So HOW can narrow this list down to just three??

And I'd love to hear: which blogs would you nominate for "Best Craft Blog?" and why??

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions where the stars are trying to tell me something...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Plan Begins...

Pine and Heron. Taken at Cesar Chavez park in Berkeley.

I had to wait 30 minutes yesterday before I got my hair cut, so I used the time to walk over to the Barnes & Noble and examine the books on PhotoShop. I walked out with this book.

Step #1 for my goal of actually learning PhotoShop Elements this year.

I'm having my toe fixed next week, which will require four days off my feet and a total of 2 weeks of taking it easy and recovery. My plan is to spend a lot of this time working on the program. By the end of January I should will be able to do basic editing and some simple special effects. Specific goal: know how to add text to a photo.

Today is all the pre-op doctors appointments in prep of next week. My family doctor has to guarantee that I have a pulse and normal blood pressure but not a fever; my foot doctor will go over the details of when and what. These sandwich a quick workout. And sandwiching all this is time organizing the workroom and planning some work for the next week.

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Year of Living ProActively


After re-reading my affirmations for this year, and reading Crazy Aunt Purl's Really Big List for Aught Seven (she being another crab like myself).. I've decided that the word for the year will be ProActive.

I LOVE when she listed these items for the year:

• Understand that all change, even good and happy change, comes with stress.

• Make every effort to be happy. Choose to work hard, live well, and love someone. It's all a choice. I could just as easily choose to hole up, wonder why things are the way they are, and complain. But I don't want to! I want the baseline to always feel safe, but in between I'd rather choose risk over fear, temptation over empty, something (even just the hope of something) instead of the safety of nothingness.

• Don't take the easy way out.

• Appreciate.

Sitting home wishing for things to change doesn't work. Nobody is going to knock on my door and hand me what I want. If they did, I wouldn't value it. I am going to have to venture outside my comfort zone (my recliner) and DO things. What, I don't know yet. I will spend the next couple weeks working on that.

I see the possibility for big change this year but it won't happen if I don't work at it. So 2007: The Year of Living Pro-Actively. Who's with me on this? (and who's way ahead of me??)

Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions for my weekly Tale of the Scale.

Monday, January 01, 2007

White Boat Golden Gate

We took the dogs for a walk at Cesar Chavez park in Berkeley Saturday. The sky.. no the very air was milky and soft. This is a white sail boat centered on the Golden Gate bridge.

Today we are having a party. Friends and neighbors will stop by; and we'll start the new year right: with fellowship, laughs and cheer. Remember what you do on today, you will do for the rest of the year. So forget those household chores and find something inspiring to do!
Check out my other blog: Deb's Daily Distractions
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