Monday, June 30, 2008

350. Craftivism for a Greener World

(crossposted at BlogHer)

Everywhere you turn this summer, conversations, both private and public, seem dominated by the topics of the environment, global warming, carbon footprints, living greener. Not surprising with the daily reminders that's something not right with the world today. Besides changing lightbulbs, reducing driving, and saving water, though, what can a crafty person really do? Turns out we can do a lot.

We can use our craftivism to spread the word about the importance of the number 350. Bill McKibben has started the website to encourage us all to work toward a a global CO2 reading of 350 ppm. How better to spread the word than through art and craft activism.

First, there is the 350 postcard project. (an example of these postcards above)
Though we strive to keep our campaign up to date with the most cutting edge, open-source, web 2.0 organizing tools, we've decided to start out the campaign by getting back to basics. So to launch the global open source movement to spread this number, we’ve begun an experimental project to spread the word through one of the oldest forms of communication – the mail. In words, collages, drawings, or any other form on the back of a postcard, we want to hear from people all around the world, why it’s worth it for you, your community, and the rest of the world to aim for 350 parts per million?
More importantly, though is Creativity 350:
a partnership between five craft- and DIY-themed websites who are looking to help creatively spread the word about the important new climate change awareness group called
The websites are familiar ones:

Craftster (who is hosting the site)



Burda Style

Thrifty Fun

To get us all involved in spreading the word and having some craftivism fun, Creativity 350 is hosting two wonderful contests at the moment.

The first is creatively called Creativity 350 Craft Contest. Make a project that expresses the importance of 350 using any technique or materials that you wish. Upload a picture of your project between July 15th and August 15th. Then from 8/16-8/31 vote on your favorite projects. The winner will receive a wonderful pack of prizes!

Looking for something to keep your school age kids busy for a while this summer? I'd think having them craft about the environment would be a great busy-time activity.

The Creativity 350 T-Shirt contest runs in the same frame. Come up with a completely original design that will help spread the word about, upload a GIF or JPEG file of your design and let the public vote. Another fabulous prize pack is being offered (I so want to win this!).

The word is already spreading.

Rob Walker of Murketing wrote:
One of the reasons I devoted one of the closing chapters of Buying In to the DIY/craft/handmade scene is that while it’s clearly a material-culture phenomenon, it’s a material-culture phenomenon that seems to have, on some level, an ideology....
(The Creativity 350 Craft Contest is [author edit]), in other words, about getting the word out, on a subject of greater significance than most of consumer/murketing culture,..
I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Now a Pair..

A couple more photos from our trip up to Suisun. They just seem to go together.

Duck, Unfed
Duck, Unfed

Please Do Not Feed Ducks
Please Do Not Feed Ducks Sign.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Benches in a row

Friday we braved the smoky air to drive up Suisin and our favorite Greek restaurant for lunch. While walking along the waterfront, this was too good to not record.

For the record: lunch was my oh-so-predictable meze plate.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Smoky NorCal

Smoky sky at 7 pm

This photo was taken last night about 7 pm. It was, I think, the only time all day that the sun was visible at all through the smoke. This smoke is being blown down the coast from up near Mendocino County, a couple hours drive away on the freeway.

The latest reports are over 1000 fires burning in the state. Add the threat of dry lighting strikes again this weekend, and we are looking for a chance of a dark, sunless summer for a while. Here's a map with many of the major fires pinned.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Link Love

In the normal course of my reading through my RSS feed every week, I find way more great exciting posts and articles than I use for my posts on BlogHer. While sometimes it's because these are off-topic, usually it's just that I can't find a way to rope them all together that makes sense in my head.

So I'm going to start just laying them out here in a crazy link-fest. It seems to be I should be able to make this easier using Google Reader, or or something. When I figure it out, I'll let you know. If you've figured it out, please fill me in.

First, for the crafty shoe-obsessed among us, check out Spyderella's photo demo on a summer sandal re-fabrication.

Second, Calamity Kim demos how to use a photograph as the basis for an embroidery design. Easey-peasey!

Third, Painted Fish Studio threw a Friday night pARTy and had her friends all decorate IKEA Gronos lamps.

Fourth, I thought it was expensive to fill up my VW Passat. Pammy Beancounter convinced me otherwise.

And Knitting points out that UCSF's Memory and Aging Center has set up a channel on YouTube.

Imagining that someday you might get a flat belly? That's Fit points out that the best foods to eat to get there are all healthy fat foods.

Ok. Not bad for a start. The smoke from all the wildfires are keeping me inside and at the computer. So I'm sure I'll be finding more things that fascinate me.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and at BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Childhood Home

Fresh scrubbed and ready for bed
Fresh Scrubbed and Ready for Bed: left to right, my older brother Mike, me, my younger brother Mark. I'm guessing this was 1957 or 1958.

I lived in the same house from the age of 3 until 24. It's the longest I've ever lived in one place; it's much longer than I can imagine ever living someplace again. I seem to tire of a place after about 7 years; yearning for something different, something that will with who I am at that moment. Something that will feel like "me".

I have had homes that I liked, homes that I tolerated, homes that I loved. That 7 year itch hit me with all them. I've lived in my current home for 10 years, and yes.. I yearn for something much different.

Still, I look at this photo and have such memories:
  • The plaid wallpaper is tones of gray and yellow.
  • My older brother's pajamas were white, black, brown and orange. (how do I remember that?).
  • When we first moved into the house, I slept in this bed, sharing the room with my older brother, Mike.
  • I was a restless sleeper and would fall out of this bed almost every night hitting that table (sewing machine cabinet) on my way down. Sometimes I'd hit my head; sometimes an arm or shoulder. My upper body must have been a collection of permanent bruises.
  • As soon as they could, my parents switched Mark into this bed and gave me the "jr." bed- with half a railing - in the other bedroom.
  • Many a morning I would wake up with my arms twisted through the rails.
  • Eventually, they put me in a double bed to give me plenty of room of move.
  • My grandmother once stayed overnight and shared the double bed with me. I punched/hit her 3 times in my sleep. She never stayed over again.
  • When my youngest brother was born, he shared that room with me until he was 3.
  • When I was 9, I was moved back into this room, and didn't share it with anyone. The boys were put in the master bedroom, and my parents took the middle sized room. This was my bedroom until I moved out.
  • When I was 10, my mother (in a fit of decorating zeal) painted the ceiling true red, and put a carpet the same color on the floor. The walls were white . I was stuck with those decisions until I moved out.
  • In the few pictures I have of me from childhood, I never smile with my mouth open. My mother didn't either because she disliked her teeth. I think I just mirrored what I saw.
  • At that time, the three of us were a singular unit. Rarely was one of us punished or rewarded separately. What happened to one to happened to all.
  • That singularity changed as we all started school and completely dissolved by our teenaged years. Now I'm completely estranged from my brothers.
  • Look at my hair! It is as wide as my (very narrow) shoulders! Perms were a regular part of life back then.
  • I'd love to have a red room again. But this time, I'd put the color on the walls.

I also blog at: Weight for Deb and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Smoky Sky

The wildfire near Fairfield, CA. is about 40 miles ENE from my house. Still the smoke from that fire is creating hazy and unhealthy air conditions. The wind is blowing it all right down upon us.

Compare the photo above (taken on Monday) to this one taken Friday evening. Notice several somethings missing? Like the sun? The bay? The distant hills?

Looks Like Heaven, Feels Like Somewhere Else..
I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Strawberry Season

Strawberry Pie Recipe

This is my strawberry pie recipe. I've had this note on a piece of scratch paper for about 30 years or so. It is stained with strawberry juice from mashing too close to it; it is marked with fat from stray bits of pie dough that fell on it. As one of my favorite recipes, you'd think I'd take better care.

But the thing is, it has survived this long just as it is. I know the look of the paper, and can grab it from a pile of other similarly stained and marked cherished recipes without a thought. For about 3 decades I have managed to keep this.

It hasn't been ruined by stains.
It hasn't been mistakenly thrown away.
It hasn't been lost in a move.

It has remained.

Is it silly that I fear if I were to copy it to a "better" piece of paper that it would somehow vanish? I wouldn't recognize it on an index card and would spend hours looking for this particular scrap.

And for those struggling to read it's blurred directions:

Deb's Strawberry Pie

1 pint strawberries, mashed

Add 1C sugar, 3 Tbs. corn starch, 1/2 tsp. butter
Boil over low heat about 5 minutes until thick & clear - stir - cool.

Put 1 pt. berries in a baked pie shell and pour cooled mixture over.

Garnish with whipped cream.

Sometimes the mixture gets too thick to pour. I simply add a little simple syrup (I always have some mixed for the hummingbird feeder), and stir until a nice pourable consistency develops.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The cooler air has returned, at least temporarily, to the bay area. With it's return, I actually switched into cotton knit pants this afternoon to walk the dogs. That's when I noticed something interesting.

All of my "non-gym" shorts (plus a "skort") are a khaki or tan color. All of them. There are no black, no gray, no olive drab. Just khaki.

I don't a thing in khaki except the shorts/skorts. I can't imagine wearing khaki pants or a long khaki skirt (all my pants/skirts are black, gray, olive).

I think the khaki/tan short color compliments my summer leg color (thank you Dove Energy Glow moisturizer with subtle self-tanning). But it's too close to my skin/hair coloring to wear in larger doses. It make me visually appear a tannish blob.

Now the question is, since I know I won't be adding to other wardrobe items, should I try to bring my black/gray/olive bottoms colors into the shorts, too?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Looks Like Heaven, Feels Like Somewhere Else...

Looks Like Heaven, Feels Like Somewhere Else..

It's HOT in the Bay area today. Friday, the official temperature in my town was 101F, though the Weather Channel online tried to comfort me by saying that it "felt like 95!" Today is supposed to be replay.

Fortunately, we live in a newer home, which means we have AC. Many parts of the bay area, have older homes; and most of the time AC would be a waste. When the fog rolls in by 9 pm, dropping the temperatures into the 50s, houses cool down quickly. This makes AC an expense that's hard to justify.

Even though we have it, I normally run ours only 10 or so times a year. (This is the 5th or 6th time so far this year. Can we say climate change?) When the fog returns, the AC goes off even if the house gets rather warm during those late afternoon hours. Our unit is really undersized for our house, so the energy to cool things for 3-4 hours just isn't worth it, IMO.

Even though I'm not a Bay Area native, I've grown to love the bay area fog most of the time. Or at least until I'm wearing polar fleece on the 4th of July while I'm trying to watch some fireworks.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Friday, June 20, 2008

So much for NaBloPoMo this month!

It's hot here in the bay area. Not HOT like it is in other parts of the country in the summertime, granted. But hot for here. And just plain sunny all day. Yesterday the high at my house was about 91F; today it's supposed to get closer to 95F. Thank goodness the daytime humidity is down about 30-40% or I'd be dying.

As it is, I try to sit in a dark shady corner of my house (my house with 20 some windows facing an unshaded southern exposure) and not sweat. The dogs move from spots on the tile to spots on the marble whenever the floor beneath them warms to thier body temp.

What's there to blog about. I'm here alone with the dogs, or out at a store using their A/C. My life is dull repetition and isolation. My thoughts are slowed. My life is boring and dull and I'm completely unable to find one interesting moment to tell you about.

The dogs just both sighed in unison like they know how boring my life is too.

Waiting for the fog; waiting for the cool.

Considering how the f*&k I'm going to improve my life so my I have more social contacts. When you have so few, how do you build more? (without the more traditional fall backs of kid's schools, sports activites, or a church?) I've tried to volunteer at several places; they love me, they have work for me. I call them; they promise to get back to me. It never goes anywhere.

Melt into a puddle...

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Girl Effect

This effect video explains The Girl Effect. Improve the life of one girl, and change the world:

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Influences in Relationships

The questions was asked on Twitter:

In friendships/relationships are you most influenced by:

For myself, the primary influence in a friendship or personal relationship is always #4: how they make me feel. Or, more accurately, how do I feel in their presence? I know that my feelings are mine to make and own. Nobody can truly "make me" feel one way or another. I act or react to you based upon my own conditions.

Still, I want to feel something when in you're around:

Joy when I first see you.
Compassion when you are troubled.
Concern when I am troubled.
Understanding when I express concern.
Delight when I share a success.
Interest when I'm speaking.
And more.

These said, I think the strongest predictor on our attachment in a relationship is that first unguarded reaction when me come together. Does my soul lighten upon seeing you? Does your face brighten? If neither of us react at all, if our souls are not connecting, do we have a relationship, or are we just going through the motions?

The second most important quality in a relationship to me would be a tie between How They Treat Me and What They Tell Me.

Aren't both indicators trust and respect? These seem manifestations of the qualities I bring to a relationship, and qualities I want returned in a relations. Treat with kindly, gently, honestly. Don't lie to me, don't hide things from me, don't tell me things that make other relationships awkward.

As far as "who you are"? I could less.

Then another question:

For me, that #5 would be Sense of Humor. An ordering of the degrees would be:

4 reliability
3 kindness
5 humor
2 honesty
1 intelligence.

Again, these seem to that these once again return to the first quality: How I Feel Because We Have a Relationship.

If you are reliabile, I can trust;
If you are kind; I can let down my guard.
If you possess humor, I can show you my weaknesses.
If you are honest, I can believe in you.
If you are intelligent, we can expand our horizons.

Using Laura questions, how do you evalutate our relations?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lantana and Lavender

Lantana and Lavendar

I love the way these two plants grow together. The colors compliment each other in such a pleasing way.


An easy way to get through NaBloPoMo weekends.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summertime Retreat

Summertime Retreat

Getting this in just under the deadline...
I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Spread It Like Buttery Love

Yesterday's 50 Things I Like About Me post took me a long time to write. I'll admit it. I thought it was hard. Yet, Arianna ( saw me twitter the post, read it, and quickly ripped out her 50 things. Among my favorites:
9. I love the 80’s. Music. Colors. Jazz hands. But not shoulder pads.

23. I have weird hair.

24. I think it’s fun to have weird hair.

Heather jumped in through her comments and came up with her own list
33.Cooking is not my forte
34. Talking is
35. I’m not Martha Stewart…
36. Or Betty Crocker
37. I’m okay with that
And Monica at Healthy Green Moms zipped out her list like it was triple-coupon day at the grocery store! What I think was her most impressive item:
I can sit in another’s pain.
These brilliant women jumped on a bandwagon I didn't know I'd built and are driving away with it. They are encouraging their readers to quickly (or not so quickly) come up with a list of their own. I hope you all do. I hope this step toward positive thinking spreads across the blogosphere like wildfire (no. too destructive) like a cold (no, too inconvenient) LOVE. Spread it like buttery love.

If you choose to spread the buttery love yourself, please leave a comment for me with a link to your post so I can read your list too.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fifty Things I Like About Myself

This is an exercise someone suggested. I may be doomed, as I'm approaching it already with a negative attitude. Let's see if I will able to find 50 Things I Like About Myself.

1. I have an infectious smile.
2. I "infect" people with it frequently.
3. I remember details if I can place them in a narrative style.
4. I am intuitive.
5. and empathetic.
6. and occasionally psychic.
7. At times I'm silly.
8. I (sometimes) know what I like.
9. I find simple joy in baseball.
10. I understand the infield fly rule.
11. I surprise myself.
12. Like.. I like people to hug me. I swear this was never true.
13. I'm generally happy.
14. I hate it when I quit on anything. .. oh wait. I like that I'm tenacious.
15. I sing to myself when I'm doing things.
16. My hair is soft.
17. I believe. Just that. Believe.
18. I can plan a simple, healthy, tasty meal off the top of my head.
19. My lips.
20. My listening skills. (which is good because my friends talk a lot!)
21. I know the words to lots of songs!
22. I'm quirky.
23. and proud of it!
24. I notice things. Including little things.
25. I appreciate beauty in nature.
26. I appreciate beauty in people's spirit.
27. I look for the good in the people.
28. I'm positive without being "pollyann-ish"
29. I have these cute little toes.
30. I can read upside and backwards. I like that.
31. I can hold an interesting conversation with myself.
32. I like to figure out challenges on my own.
33. I can do simple electrical and plumbing repairs.
34. I have my own tools.
35. I'm strong for my size and age.
37. I've developed a fairly good color memory.
38. I can tell a good true story, but I can't tell a joke.
39. Dogs can sense that I'll scratch their butts. It must be tattooed on my ankles.
40. I like guy friends and well as girl friends, but don't threaten guy's girlfriends.
41. I like my tits.
42. I can doodle but I can't sketch
43. I can embroider, knit, crochet, hand-sew, quilt.
44. I'm good at reading maps.
45. I can program VCRs without reading a manual. It's a lost art, I know, but still...
46. I can spell. Ya know.. when someone asks "how do you spell ___?" I can answer.
47. My eyes are expressive.
48. I tan instead of burn.
49. My imagination.
50. My arms. They are awesome.

Whw. This was not easy! What are 50 things you like about yourself??

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

It's a Dog's World

Katy and Jake attentive

Katy and Jake are at full attention. Food is likely involved.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Question: On Making Clothes

I'm looking at making a couple summer skirts from this Simplicity pattern. It's rated easy, it has pockets, it has a drawstring waist (that I'd probably make with elastic.)

Now the key fitting item here is the hips. My hips at their widest are 35.5" so I know I choose the size with the 36" hip measure, though the waist is 3" too small. However, in reading the measurements they say that the finished skirt would be 42" wide.

Do I really want 6.5" of ease in a skirt? Really? That seems like a lot to me. Sandra Betzina in Fast Fit suggests an ease in a straight skirt of about 2" and in an A-line of 3-4".

So riddle me the solution.

Go with the size (33.5" hip?) that finishes at 39.5" for a 4" ease (which lists a 24" waist where mine is more like 30" so I'd probably be using a different waist measure) or go with measurements/suggestions on the packet?

(Yes, that is one of the ugliest run-on sentences I've ever written!)

I can hear ya already: Make a Test Pattern. But I thought this was supposed to be easy!

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.


Monday, June 09, 2008

(cross posted by Blogher)
Every year for the holidays I customize books and give them to about 10 select friends. After making up that year's list, I search for the perfect book (normal binding, not too large or small, with wonderful paper) then paint, dye, stamp, embroider, and/or screen print fabric and make covers for the books. Each includes a a small pocket for the appropriate marking instrument (writing pen or drawing pencil).

For several years Artist's and Craftman's Supply sold a beautiful square book with the most luscious paper inside: it was smooth, rich and somehow unlike anything I've ever felt before or since, like paper silk. The books were hand made, imported from Africa and reasonably priced. They were also a limited purchase by the company. Since they have disappeared, I haven't found a book I really love for my purpose. I've been searching for for a couple years with no joy.

Before you say it: I LOVE moleskine books, but the pocket inside the back cover and the elastic cording coming from the back cover means they are not appropriate for my decorating techniques. Believe me, I've tried. It's also a challenge to simply gesso the surface and design right on it. Tried that too.

This year I may try to learn how to make my own books. This gives me the chance to obsess about size, paper quality, binding, and book cloth each independently. The books I give to writers can have a great writing surface that lets pen slide effortlessly across it; the sketch books, a nice toothy paper that holds the line. Both can be the same size with similarly designed book cloths!

Bibliophile Bullpen found a perfect tool for book binding: offers print on demand fabric. For those book binders who don't normally surface design fabric, this is a great to get custom book cloth.
It may not SOUND book related, but in the back of my brain, I see custom designed book cloth. Not a big deal for first run printing, but for hand binders and artist books THAT's a big deal.

I have started to search the internets for instructions, though this series of videos seems to do a great job of covering the basics. Kelly at Two Brides is taking an independant study course in book making. She shows hand bound books for sale on Etsy, and suggests that $75 each is steal! These books are gorgeous! However she has me rethinking this gift idea:
Hand binding books is a really hard thing to do right- it takes excellent hand skills, a good teacher and lots n lots of time.
I'm beginning to go crazy with ideas. For the artists, could I purchase the pre-stretched, pre-primed Fredrick canvases, drill holes in them and use them as the book covers? Let the recipients design the cover themselves? (ala the My Penguin series of books?) Or just keep it simple? Miki showed a small hand bound book she received in a craft swap. For my first attempts at this technique, this may be a wiser road to travel.

(ht to Sassymonkey for BB's post)

image credit: *nomi" & malcolm's Flickr photostream.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Anti-SATC meme

It's been ages since I've done a meme, but while finally reading Liz Rizzo's post about Sex and the City, Suzanne Reisman posted a link to her Anti-SATC meme.

After all, how many of us are women who live for fashion week? Who own (or even admire $700 shoes?) How many of us are lower maintenance? Which is not to say no maintenance..

So to quote Suzanne:I present a meme for feisty, spirited women who share our lives and support one another, yet are also slovenly and/or miserly (or is it practical?):

What's the cheapest pair of shoes you own?: I have a pair of rubber slides I bought at the drugstore for about $5. And I have a pair of Dansko shoes (my frankenstein shoes) that I picked up at Good Will for about $4. Don't think I can go lower.

What's your favorite piece of jewelry, if you own any? While I love my SuperHero necklace, my favorite piece of jewelry is a long beaded thing I bought at GlobalTribe about 8 years ago. It was $12. I couldn't buy the beads to make one myself for $12.

What's your favorite t-shirt? I like my long-sleeved "Flawed but Authentic" shirt, but it's summer and I wont' be wearing it much. I'm getting a custom-drawn t-shirt later this month that I suspect will be my all-time favorite. Until then, it's one of the v-neck stretch cotton shirts from Target, or (really) my ribbed tanks.

If you could wear jeans every day, would you? I shift from jeans to cotton knit yoga-pantsy things a lot. That's what I live in. (Please make pants for women with pockets!!) I only don't wear jeans when it's too warm. Then I pull on a nice cotton skirt and enjoy the air on my legs. But really, why wouldn't I want to wear jeans or cotton knit pants every day?

Do you comb your hair every day? When I remember. I'll admit it, some days I just get it wet and never remember to do anything more with it. I may run my hand through it at some point.

So I ask you, are you more like the characters in Sex and the City, or more like we feisty, spirited and slightly slovenly souls?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I Promise...

Organic Carrots
El Cerrito Farmer's Market, organic carrots.

I've been stopping back at my Flickr photostream almost daily this week, discovering that friends are not only viewing some of my photo but leaving comments I hadn't seen before. Normally, I remember to stop and look through friends' photos maybe once a week. Not enough. I'm sorry.

I promise from now on I will be a better Flickr friend to you all. Right now, I'm off to the weekend Farmer's Market!

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summertime Memory

Somehow while driving home from coffee with a friend today, I recalled one of my favorite summer memories.

Go back in time with me to a simpler time. We lived in a small suburban development right on the edge of "development" though the city was expanding fast, chewing up farms and land and spitting out cookie cutter houses faster than one could blink. It was the early 60s..

Jim the milk man still made his rounds, bringing milk, cream and other dairy goodies to the door. On hot summer days, we kids would stand by his truck and he'd dole out one ice cube to each of us. His ice had a hole in the center, perfect for sliding over our finger like a ring and licking.

For most of a season in 1962 or so, we also had a trucker farmer would who drive around every Wednesday trying to convert families to the idea of fresh vegetables instead of canned. He packed the food he grew on his own land, plus the freshest and best he could pick up at wholesale markets.

If it was nice (and light) when he arrived, the women would walk out to his truck and check the produce. If there was something they were unfamiliar with, he'd give a family enough of the item free to try. He'd explain the best way to cook it to get the full flavor. But the women in our neighborhood were a cautious, conservative lot when it came to veggies. They stuck to their basics for the most part, not venturing into zucchini or acorn squash. Stick to watermelon, corn and onions. Safe things.

One warm summer day this green grocer man sold my mother a dozen ear of freshly picked corn. It was afternoon, so he suggested that we shuck it quickly and cook it up that night. (There were 6 in our family.. a dozen ear would be about right).

I was given a paper grocery bag to place the husks in and sent out to the patio to clean the corn. As I pulled the green husks and silk from the second ear, I saw a corn worm working on the kernels inside.

It scared me silly.

I screamed loudly and threw the corn as far away from me as I could.

And here's where magic happened. (like having a truck farmer bring fresh veggies to our door wasn't a miracle!):

The farmer walked into the backyard with another ear of corn. He had heard me scream, and figure out what had happened. He then sat there, cleaning the corn with me and telling me about how corn was grown, what he did to keep worms from getting into the corn, how they got there. The importance of insects in the world.

He didn't talk down to me, but didn't make the conversation too technical either. Just a man talking earnestly about growing food for people. It was important to him. It was also important to him that I know that every once in a while, I'll find a worm in the corn and not be too scared.

At the end of that season, he stopped coming. He told the women that it was a great experiment for him but that it wasn't as successful as he had hoped it would be. I think he sold his farm and moved away. I know we returned to fewer fresh veggies from the grocery store and more of the canned stuff that was easy to prepare and always ready in the cupboard.

Today I realized this man was decades ahead of his time. And I pray he eventually found a spot where his dream of providing families with fresh fruits and veggies (and new fruits and veggies) could take hold.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Come Home as You Are...

Come As You Are

Today, Sweetney proposed an impromptu "come as you are" party. The idea: grab your camera, take a quick photo and upload it. NO editing or photoshopping. Post it to the flickr group and your blog.

So here I am, just after 9 pm at night. I've walked the dogs, worked out at the gym, visited a friend and moved some boxes, fixed dinner. I'm probably heading to bed soon.

Want to join in the fun? Grab your camera (or use your webcam) and grab a quick of yourself. Upload it to your blog, come back and share the link.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Go Big or Go Home

Go big or go home. Because it's true. What do you have to lose?
Eliza Dushku

A's game, June 4th, 08

Wednesday I went to a baseball game, the local Oakland A's playing the visiting Detroit Tigers.

While normally my support goes to the home team, being my local fix for American League baseball, this game I was a little torn. During October, I follow the playoff using my "Babe" philosphy of loyalty: To your Team, To your Division, To you League Be True (unless it's the Yankees). So I cheer first for my Cleveland Indians, Second for AL Central, and finally for American League (unless it's the Yankees.. and it's starting to be unless it's the BoSox, too. Let some other teams compete and win for a change now).

So my "Babe" soul was whispering that I should cheer for the Tigers. That just didn't feel right, though.

Fortunately, good sense returned to me about the time the A's decided to give the Tigers a royal whupping. And I went home cheering for the winners.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Home #1

Yes, it's June 3rd, not June 1st.. but I just joined the monthly NaBloPoMo monthly challenge. Close enough to the beginning that it should count.

The rules are simple: a blog post a day. The theme for the month (though not a required topic: Home). Home can have so many different meanings that this one appealled to me.

A GOOGLE search on the term delivers a number of interpretations, each of which could be fodder for a post.

Or maybe not.

How much, really, can say I say about the Dutch band The Gathering? Or their second album which carried the "Home" title? Although I did find a number of videos by them on YouTube...

OK. Tomorrow something more in keeping with my and my knowledge of "home"...

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Take Me Out To the Ballgame! Stitch N' Pitch, '08

Summer is right around the corner, which means stitchers are heading outside to cook-outs, soccer games, days at the beach, and of course Stitch And Pitch, 2008.

This is the third year that a national - make that international - Stitch and Pitch event has been planned. If you are unfamiliar with the idea:
Stitch N' Pitch brings together two wonderful traditions — Baseball and the Needle Arts. Come to a ball game and knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch and needlepoint. Sit among friends, family and colleagues and cheer on your favorite Baseball Team. Beginners, intermediate and experts are all welcome.
At the moment, 24 Major League teams are committed to hosting a SNP game this year; check the calendar to see if your home team is participating and when the game will be. Last year, several teams joined the fun later in the season. It appears to me that the teams not participating are those few stadiums with strong enough ticket sales for all games that they would have trouble reserving a block of 500-1000 tickets for the event. (sorry, Cubs fans!)

In 2008 one Major Minor addition has been made: Minor League Teams are getting in on the fun!

To whet your appetite for the event, check out Let's Knit 2gether's excellent podcast of last year's Mets game. The podcast includes comments by Debbie Stoller, Lilly Chin (who knit her own baseball uniform! out of wool!) and shows some of the 800 S&P attendees fomr that night. There are baseball fans who don't knit, knitter who are baseball fans, and knitters who don't have clue. This podcast captures the entire atmosphere!

If attending a game isn't in the Cards for you, you can still enjoy some Giant stitching fun:

From Interweave Press:

The Stitch N' Pitch Sock
The Knitted Baseball Cap

CRAFT Stitch N' Pitch Projects:

Small Purse From A Baseball, and a Baseball Card Wallet

Baseball Socks. For the intermediate knitter.

Baseball Beer Bottle Cozy.

Natalie Zee Drieu's Stitch N' Pitch Drink Cozies.

Are you planning to attend? At the moment, I'm aiming for the September A's game.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.