Thursday, February 28, 2008

Out with the Moon..

Today the moon enters it's final phase before becoming a "new" moon. Astrologer KT suggests that this phase is when we can:
let go of outmoded habits, possessions, relationships or anything else that might be preventing us from moving on to the next phase of life. Acknowledge what you're releasing. Recognize how it has benefited you in the past, but accept that those days are gone. Then let it go. When you start following the Moon's rhythms, you'll find that this is a very natural way to organize your life and bring yourself into synch with the cycles of nature.
I love this idea of cycles.. of spending part of a month finishing things, letting them go and clearing the decks so that a phase can begin with the new moon.

I'm going on away for 4 days with some friends beginning this afternoon. I am almost certain that this will be the last time I go on this particular retreat. So I will spend these days acknowledging the relations for what they have been and for what they are. Then release my expectations for something different. I'm not quitting the friendships, just quitting this weekend. I think I've grown away from it.

There are other ways that I've started to release those things that hold me down: old clothes, never-to-be-completed UFOs, home decore items that just don't work.

Things won't be finished by the new moon.. there are still phases to go..

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Communities Build By the Web: Hello Spiders

(reposted from BlogHer)

Spiders is a face-to-face knitting group that is connected online. As they explain:
In April of 2005, two friends and knitters attended a Yarn Harlot book event in New York City and met a few friendly knitters. Those knitters realized they all had knitting blogs, and connecting through wonder of the internet, met up with a few other knit-bloggers at a Teva Durham book event. That small group decided to start knitting together on Fridays at The Point. We'd bring a friend now and then and the group would get a little bigger. A Husband-of-a-Knitter called us The Spiders (we knit and we're on the web - duh!) and the name stuck.

Since that Spring of 2005, through more chance encounters, friendly introductions, and the beauty of the knit-blog community, our little knitting group has blossomed into a circle of friendship. We are proud of the way our group of friends has grown organically through existing friendships and our blogs. While we came together to knit, we now come together as friends.

There are 21 Spider's blog listed at the site. Check them out!

An Abundance of Lisa blogged about the Spiders recent annual trip to Marie's. While they were there, each member swapped one hand-knit sock with another. The photo showing a circle of pointy-toed, sock-happy feet in a variety of colors is fabulous!

Blue Garter is a charter member who now lives in Portland, Or. Which means, she missed the trip to Brooklyn, but took her own trip to Madrona and a class with Nancy Bush (who writes fabulous books about knitting socks). I [heart] Nancy Bush's work and thus love this description:
Nancy is just as enlightened and patient and down-to-earth as you might imagine, and she is also taller. Picture a towering benevolent queen in sensible neutrals with pockets conveniently located for stowing balls of yarn, radiating a halo of knitterly wisdom through the yarnovers of her exquisite cobweb of an Estonian lace shawl. Add spectacles and an abundance of woolen-spun hair the color of her skirt. I didn’t bring my camera, so that will have to suffice. has the full run-down of the Spiders get together.

Methinks there are a couple physics majors in the crowd. Why?

Physicsknits is one clue. Read about the two patterns she has published in the Spring issue of Interweave Knits.

Then there is Schrodinger Knits. Which makes me think about Schrodinger's Cat... but I don't see anything about quantum mechanics on her blog, so maybe it's just me. But Schrodinger (the knitter) did let the cat out of the bag about how this group organized their exchange. I had never heard of this site before, so I'm sharing: Elfster. I may just have to organize a gift exchange so I can play here!

It's fun to read about real life groups that share their togetherness on the web. This next weekend, I'll be out of town with my f2f group and writing about the experience next week. Imagine me "unconnected" for the better part of 4 days!

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Links for 2/24./08

A quick post with a couple links you might totally enjoy:

I spent almost an hour yesterday scrolling through the archives at On My Desk. This is group blog where artists share photos of their work. Quite literally: if you are an artist, what's on your desk? Curiosity with a touch of voyeurism.

BlogHer Fashion editor Susan Wagner suggested this week that one major fashion mistake many people make is to look too plain. She suggested that we dress up our t-shirt and jeans with a distinctive "signature" piece of jewelry. This knitted beaded cuff is on my shortlist of signature pieces to make.

But first... I've got the keys picked out; I've melted the holes in them. I have to make a necklace similar to this one! Except mine will dangle from a leather cord.

Finally, for your Oscar-night entertainment, you can print out your own ballot, vote early and see if you agree with the Academy.

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

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Need A Mac Guru...

I need a Mac Guru.

If you know somebody who could help, would please have them email me? I'll give you the specifics:

A couple weeks ago, I was generously gifted a G4 mac tower. I have equipped with the appropriate, but reasonable, "toys": keyboard, mouse, flat screen monitor (on sale for $100! W00T!), card reader, FireWire for transferring multimedia, and a Hawking USB wireless adapter. The tower was configured for ethernet connections to the internet and no "airport" (is that it?) but our modem is a different floor than the machine and I'd rather not move it up to the spouser's office. (I'm sure he doesn't want it up there either).

Now the problem:

I have configured the USB wireless and it is receiving signals clear as day.

The system doesn't know it exists and will not connect to the internet.

The "create a new network" does not give me the option of saying "connect through this wireless adapter".

I'm clueless what steps to take next and frustrated almost to the point of tears, breaking things or avoidance. Not what you want to feel after such a generous act. NOT the "great fun" everyone has been promising with this machine, though it is beginning to be a little fun to play with. Heck, I thought the big challenge would be getting used to using a keyboard and mouse after 12 years of laptops! (and yes, that is a BIG challenge).

BTW, since I've been a long-time windows worker, I know to close a program by clicking on the icons in the upper right of the screen. Why did Mac think that clicking the upper left is so much more "intuitive"? It's not. I'm looking that THOSE type of challenges more as ways to grow strong connections in my brain (challenge that gray and white matter! make it strong!).

Still, I'm curious by the decision. When I close a book, I close it right to left; when I bookmark a page in a book, I move from right to left. Why was it "intuitive" to close from the left? You Mac afficianoados chat amonst yourselves and let me know.

And if a guru somewhere can get my mac talking to the internets.. I'll be forever grateful. For now, I'm gonna stop whining and sign off from my Vista (sucks rocks)-platform laptop.

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

Friday, February 22, 2008

Clothes: Keeping Only What Fits or What Still Has Life?

It's approaching the end of winter.. approaching, I'm not saying it's here yet. The ornamental stone fruit trees are blooming, the days are getting longer. The end of winter is approaching. Which means I'm going through my closet and meager collection of the clothes beginning to decide what I keep and what I get rid of.

I am NOT one of those people who saves clothes for years even if I never wear them and they don't fit. I can imagine using something in the next 6 months or it's passed on to someone who might.

And here's my dilemma. So far it's been easy to get rid of pants when they get too large: they start falling off my butt. But how do I decide about t-shirts and tops?

I have about 6 x-large stretch cotton t-shirt that ARE too big on me. The shoulder seams drop 1" below my shoulders and it hangs loosely over the bust. The shirts, probably because of the stretch, hang loose but do not hang like sacks. My 100% cotton t's have been relegated to night shirts or the

Do I keep them?

My argument for keeping them: those days when I'm working outside, when it's hot and I want something further away from my skin. The argument for giving them away: I'm not wearing that size anymore. And someone who IS wearing that size could use them.

What about the dresses and jackets that hang more loosely?

So what's your take? I suspect everybody will say that keeping the looser fitting clothing (if it does not hang like a sack) can do no harm.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I [Heart] Felt

Last week I received a preview copy of I [Heart] Felt by Kathleen Taylor. While I felt (technically full) all the time (using thrifted sweaters), and while I knit (though not nearly enough), this is the first time I've sat down to look at a book about knitting and felting items.

Most of the felting items I've seen, while practical and perfectly serviceable, have been - must I say it? - a bit boring. I know, you can point to many projects that aren't so it's just my impression. Still. It was my impression.

Now? I'm grabbing my sticks, looking for colorful wool yarns, and jumping onto the knit-and-felt bus! As Kathleen says in her foreward:

I want felted bags, and slippers, and potholders, and hats, and mittens, and decorations. I love the look and feel of felted items, but knitting is not only my passion, it's my comfort and my refuge. And when the knitting is boring, the results are boring.

What's the cure for all this boredom? Pushing your felting to the extreme. Don't be afraid to knit with finer yarns and smaller needles; to strand novelty yarns with wool yarns for great new textures; to experiment with barely felted cable stitches that keep their definition; to expand the design possibilities with felted Fair Isle and intarsia; and, finally, to finish projects with folk-art touches such as beading, appliqué, and needlefelting. All of these are great ways to jazz up your felting, as you'll see in the following chapters.

After all, it's so important to explore color, texture, and embellishment. Take yourself, and your knitting, beyond boredom to fun and fabulous with the projects in this book.

Just plain have fun.

The projects in this book are stunning! Lots of felted purses (sigh), adorable hats (I can't wear them, but I could make them as gifts, right?). Kathleen even discusses lightly (very lightly) felting cabled sweaters to keep them from stretching out of shape! There is a felted project (or three) for every knitter who imagines they might want to try it.

This purse made everyone who saw my copy exclaim "Oh! Cute!" This alone is reason to get the book.
What are other bloggers saying about this book?

The CraftGossip Blog is giving away their pre-release copy to the commenter who begs the nicest leaves the best reason.

I'm Knitting As Fast As I Can appreciated that Kathleen used easily obtainable and affordable yarns for all these projects.

Heather at DIY Life loves that :
it includes complete instructions for how felt from the ground up, with all the information a person needs to go from knowing nothing, to being a confident felter.

Before I forget: Kathleen has her own blog.

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Barrel Cactus Up The Wall

Barrel Cactus Up The Wall
Originally uploaded by darinhercules
Testing the ability of posting blogposts directly from Flickr. So far, I likey!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Love Letter to My Body

BlogHer is premiering a new separate topic area today: Body Image by encouraging us all to write a Love Letter to Our Body.

Dearest Body of Deb,

I haven't told you recently - ever? - that I love you. You make me possible yet I take you granted. I'm sorry.

In the past I have felt disdain for you. You were thicker, taller, shorter, skinnier, fatter, weaker, tighter, looser, lighter, darker than I desired. You were out of control; too slow or too fast in responding. At times, I could not trust you.

In the past I have felt betrayed by you: You have poor eyesight and bad blood fats. You have a brain that did not respond well to the female hormones you created. You have allergies. You have tendons that tend to inflame.

Still, in 55 years, 7 months, and 14 days you have never stopped being there for me.

So, today I celebrate your better qualities and make promises to you:

You possess a brain still capable of learning new things. I promise to challenge this capability with physical and mental tasks that make this brain grow and live!

You possess strong bones. I promise to provide you with calcium and the weight bearing exercises to keep these bones strong.

You possess strength. I promise to continue challenging that strength.

You posses energy. I promise to give you 8 hours rest each night to restore this energy.

You possess health. I promise to champion your health with the foods and medications that make it possible.

You possess a voice. I promise to use it for good. And to sing every so often to make it happy.

You possess a heart. I promise to fill it with joy and caring.

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mark Your Calendars

My life has been permanently altered by my association with BlogHer. I've been open about that in the past and I'll remain committed to their passions and ideals in the future. This year, the big BlogHer Con will be held in San Francisco July 18-20th. I hope you consider making your way out here to join us. Last years con in Chicago was days of total energy and love.

However, if you're living of the Mississippi and just don't believe that you'll be able to make it, there is still hope. The BlogHer Road Show will be hitting the streets in October, making 6 stops from Boston to New Orleans. Surely one of these places is close enough for you to consider coming by and saying hi!

From Kristy Sammis:

BlogHer's Reach Out Tour Dates Announced

In October of 2008, BlogHer is launching its first-ever road show! For those members of our community who can't make it to the annual event (and for those who can but simply want MORE), this year BlogHer will be bringing the conference to cities down the Eastern Seaboard and into the South.

Each city stop will include a full-day conference and cocktail party. Programming will vary slightly from city to city, and you're welcome to come to as many cities as you like!

Registration will open in March, but for now we ask you to mark your calendars:

Boston - Saturday, October 11
DC - Monday, October 13
Nashville - Thursday, October 16
Greensboro - Saturday, October 18
Atlanta - Tuesday, October 21
New Orleans - Saturday, October 25

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

Monday, February 11, 2008

Big Things

Pt Pinole
Proof of life: The spouser and Katy (where's Jake) during our walk at Pt. Pinole on Saturday. (hey, someone had to take the picture.. and that someone would be me!)

Yesterday I claimed to be busy with several things that have distracted me from blogging. Yet I know you can't know if those big things are staring mindlessly into space and picking ticks off the dogs or something more enterprising.

So I'm going to give you a tiny glimpse of some of the big things (without actually telling you about the big things..)

Big Thing #1. Is a project I have mentioned before I want to undertake. It will involve a number of artists and crafters and require about 25 hours work a month on my part (unless I can farm some of it out). So I need to do the research so this sound so pretty that someone will be willing to pay for it. Does it sound pretty yet?

Big Thing #2: Is a talk and/or article. Has an audience. Needs research and a wiki. I'm about 2 hours into what will probably be about 20-40 hours work.

Big Thing #3: One friend describes this project as the meaning of life. Another calls in a revolution. I think it's quite Buddhist in nature.. though I'm not a Buddhist (hmm.. should I be? could I be?). I hope to get it live in about a week or so (really wanted it before Valentine's Day, but I don't think that's realistic anymore). Will take time to set up and then most of it should be fairly automatic. It's the setting up part (which is way outside my comfort zone).

Plus person life stuff like taxes and annual doctor visits that suck life outta a day.

Really, doesn't sound like I'm living a great life with wild possibilities in the future? I can't wait until I can share more with ya.

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

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm Fine, Really...

It has been pointed out to me that my normal amount of bloggarhea has been greatly curtailed as late. And a query if my health (mental or physical) was causing it made me decide that I must make a more concerted effort to update y'all on my life.

I'm busy. So I sometimes forget to blog. Sorry.

Let me use today as an example:
  • I woke up too early: 6 am. Came downstairs, got coffee, checked email and websites, made a couple comments, fed the dogs, took a bath. It was then almost 9 am.
  • Grocery shopped.
  • Walked the dogs.
  • Hung a load of clothes on the line to dry.
  • Went to the gym at 11 am. Worked out. Left said gym at 1 pm.
  • Drove to San Francisco to see my friend Sarah who gave me an old Mac! (Yes, you read that correctly, she gave me a Mac!). Over the Bay Bridge, down 101 and 280 and out near the Ocean.
  • Walked from her apartment down to the beach to look at the magnificence that is the Pacific Ocean.
  • Walked back up the hill to her house. (remember there was earlier this 1.5 hour workout). It has phased me not at all, as I am a lean, mean, kick-ass fit woman!
  • Drove home through Presidio Park, over the Golden Gate bridge, through Marin to the San Rafael Bridge to Richmond and home. A perfectly pretty round trip!
  • And now I'm home checking email, checking websites, commenting on a few, remembering to blog.
  • Next: dinner, a soak in the tub and most likely a early night to bed.
Tomorrow is bringing a roofer, a workout, and a night with friends. Who knows what else??

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

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


intention for the day: Avoid distractions. Fine-tune Focus.

I've noticed that much of my day can be determined by my mood the instant I awake.

The days that I wake clear-headed, excited about some project, just plain happy - those are the days that unroll at least the way I envision them or better.

The days that I wake tense, tenuous, fuzzy-brained - those days I struggle to find words, find focus, be productive at all. The day struggles along in fits and starts that accomplish little.

I'm starting to recognize those days and create plans ahead of time to deal with them. If I'm lucky, I can spend those days cleaning up, winding up projects. There are times when there isn't any choice: I must do bookkeeping, writing, or some detail work. Then I break the job down into very small segments of time.

Often a period of good aerobic exercise will increase concentration times. So a long stint on the elliptical (and some weight training for focus) is in my plan this morning.

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

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tee Shirt Teaser

I know.

Don't faint.

I'm going to be writing about quilting. (but not my own).

My friend, Roberta Deluz, has written a book that will be published by C&T this month. And I'm thinking this is a book that many of you may want in your library. Why? Roberta can help you design a t-shirt quilt that doesn't look like all dull, boring t-shirt quilts we've been making low these many years. The book is called: Terrific Tees

The photo here is a detail of her first T-shirt quilt which contained a number of shirts won during years of doing the Bay to Breakers race. Yeah, Roberta is a little compulsive. She designed and appliqued all those SF scenes... and pieces all those variable flying geese. But don't let that scare you away from the book.

Take a look at the preview page from her book. Those quilts on the right hand side:

The purple one with the hearts is a fund-raiser quilt for the RELAY FOR LIFE. Roberta makes and raffles off a quilt every year during the race; this was one. There are (I think) 6 t-shirts in there, but they blend with the piecing perfectly. Don't they?

The dark blue square quilt? T-shirts from a boy's time in softball.

The black one with her "signature" "insane amount of appliqued feathers border"? Commemorates years spent at Cotton Patch's now defunct Brown Avenue Quilt Show.

Wouldn't making a quilt with design be so much nicer than simply sewing together squares of t-shirt fabric and having to tie it? The book will be available after 2/14/08. Go bug your LQS to order it. I've seen it... it's fabulous.

oh, and no.. I do not have a quilt in the book, but I am working on a quilt based upon her technique.

Image credit: C&T Publishing,

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

Friday, February 01, 2008

Are You Wearing Red Today??

My intention for the day: bring joy with me.

Are you wearing read today? I am. That's because today kicks off American Heart Month and so today is National Wear Red Day. It snuck up on me, or I'd warned you about it sooner. (this silly changing months on Friday! Who thinks of that?).

I am regularly upset that we women will stand up and loudly encourage and advocate for women to get their mammograms. Yes, breast cancer is prevelant and scary. Yes, if you die from it, it's painful and horrid. However, breast cancer is not even in the top 5 causes of women's death.

The #1 killer of women of heart disease. Yet do we stand as loudly and say: Get a blood test! Know your cholesterol! Know your risks!


Why not?

I've said it before. When my father had his quadruple bypass surgery, I was 35. I went into my family doctor and requested a lipid profile. He thought I was too young to worry about it, but agreed that a baseline test would be a good idea. While my baseline cholesterol was high - about 265 - what concerned him most was that my HDL - the good kind of cholesterol- was lower than he had ever seen. It was 18. It should be over 35.

Diet and exercise increased it eventually to 19, but I never broke the 20s without medication. And nobody seriously thought that a pre-menopausal woman really needed medication. I argued for a while and convinced every doctor I had to keep me on something.

I currently take the lowest doseage of Lipitor. Last test was not where I would like my cholesterol to be, but I was below the danger line. More importantly, my HDLs were up to 65. That's where they went as soon as I started using meds, and they have high since then.

In my case, taking action early and being an advocate for my own health means that I did not have the heart attack that was likely awaiting me in my late 40s-early 50s. Would it have been mild and a warning or deadly? We'll never know.

Recent reports are showing an ever increasing number of young women having strokes and heart attacks. NOT young like 40.. young like 25-30. YOUNG. In many of those cases it poor diet and lack of exercise; they can reverse the damage they've done to their bodies if they start paying attention today.

How about you?

Do you know your risk of heart disease? Do you know your numbers? Are you doing what you can to be heart-healthy?

And are you wearing red today?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions where I blogged about February's horoscopes, and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.