Friday, October 31, 2008


YIPPPEEEEE! I am so freaking excited! Barack & Michelle Obama will be speaking at a rally in Springfield, Missouri tomorrow - November 1st!

I just found out about it today! My Grandma and Aunt live in Springfield, so.... I am flying up to Tulsa and my Mom is picking me up at the airport. We will drive straight to Springfield which will take about three hours -- we should arrive sometime around Noon'ish.

The doors open at 6pm; but I think I will go to the rally site much earlier to claim a place in line. YOWZAH! I can't believe this! To be a part of this great movement! To be a part of history! They energy at this rally will be absolutely amazing as it is so close to the election!

I feel like a little kid at Christmas! Yippee!

I'm off to Costco to buy a small digital camera with a good zoom on it... the only camera I have is a digital SLR that is *awesome*; but too big to lug to the rally. I promise to post pictures!

My Mom is excited, too, as the last politcal rally she attended was for Bobby Kennedy!

How cool to be a part of this!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Since getting my spinning wheel, I've been practicing and playing and just enjoying it! The whole process is so mellow and Zen-like; yet still meets and exceeds my creative needs!

So, my first yarn, wow! Oh, it's a mess... over-twisted in spots, too thin or thick in others; but I'm still proud of it! If I had been trying to create a novelty yarn, I would have succeeded with flying colors!

It is a two-ply (made of two strands) of Merino wool. The color is mainly blue with beautiful flecks and accents in purples, teals, a bit of green and a splash of gold!

I'm not sure what I'm going to knit it into --- maybe a scarf?

After spinning the singles, then plying it, I then made skeins using my niddy-noddy. After all the skeins were made, I wash the yarn exactly like I had washed Loki's fleece. Then I let it drip-dry. Wah-Lah! By washing and "snapping" the
skeins, it sets the twist so the yarn won't unravel as you knit!

Friday, March 7, 2008


It's official... the name of my spinning wheel is Ewelaunda! I LOVE IT! Thanks to everyone who participated in my poll! I want to share some pictures of me (well, not all of me -- my hand) preparing raw fleece for spinning!

Right after my spinning wheel (ahem, Ewelaunda) was ordered, I promptly went looking for something to spin! Well, I found this great place called Houndscroft Farm in Kentucky and I purchased the fleece from two Shetland sheep Loki & Lily!

Each fleece arrived in its own bag, looking gorgeous! Smelly (like "farm" - but I *love* that smell!),but beautiful! Both fleeces (fleece? fleecae?) are black with just a teeny tiny bit of white (literally, strands) thrown in here and there. The wool felt "greasy" to the touch -- but that's not a very good word to describe it. It wasn't like Ew(e) Ha!-You-Haven't-Washed-Your-Hair-In-Days-Ick; but like Wow-My-Hands-Feel-Like-I-Just -Put-On-The-Best-Lotion-Ever! Wool contains lanolin which naturally occurs to help the sheep repel water -- basically making their fleece waterproof so the little baa-baa-baa's don't get soaked to the skin. Since our sweaters and such don't need that protection, it is important to wash out the lanolin; plus when spinning, too much lanolin can gunk-up the moving parts.

I didn't know which fleece to start with (didn't want to show favoritism!) and so I closed my eyes and picked Loki's.

(My directions were provided to me by the owner of Loki and Lily, Tamara of Houndscroft Farm.)

First, I picked up a basketball size of fleece. I looked for any obvious vegetable matter; but, since the girl's were "coated" the bits of hay and such are very small and rare.

Next, I filled the bathroom sink with hot water and dish soap. The water was as hot as my little hands could stand it. I then placed the fleece in the sink and gently submerged it. It is SO important not to excessively handle or agitate the fleece... the more you mess with it, the more likely you'll felt it and end up with a pile of unusable fiber! Once submerged, you can immediately see the first of the natural occurring dirts and grease dirtying the water. It may look gross, but it's really not. Let the fleece soak anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. But don't let the water cool -- you want to keep the temperature constant.

I gently pushed the fleece to the side and drained the sink. Keeping the fleece away from the running water (that, too, can felt it) I re-filled the basin with clean, hot water. No soap. This was the first rinse, and again, the fiber soaked for about 10 minutes.

I kept repeating this rinsing process until the water was clear. After draining the last rinse, I *gently* squeezed the ball of fiber to remove water; then placed it on a towel to wring it out (gently, gently, gently) a bit more. After that, I separated the fleece and placed it on a towel to air dry -- completely. Being that the heat is on here for winter, it took about 12 - 24 hours to dry.

Tah Dah! Fleece that is ready to be mad
e into Punis or Rolags for woolen-style spinning! As I wrote in one friend's email, I'm a pioneer woman! Tomorrow, I churn butter! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Best Trip(p) to the Grocery Store, Ever!

Today Tripp and I took a walk to the local grocery store using his brand new stroller! He loved it!

He sat right up front and enjoyed the "stroll" as much (if not more) as I did!

When we got to the grocery store, I zipped up the stroller and we went through the store with no problems!

It was just a touch chilly today, so Tripp was wearing a little blue tennis sweater -- which unfortunately you can't see in the picture.

We will be going on many more walks to the store and on the Katy Trail in the future!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Spin Me Round Round Baby Right Round Baby Baby!

Isn't she bee-u-tee-ful? (not me, the spinning wheel!) Yay! My new Schacht Matchless Double-Treadle Spinning Wheel arrived on Friday! I couldn't believe it! I had waited so long... Chris had ordered it on December 13'th; but with the Christmas back-log, it took longer than expected. Each Schacht spinning wheel is made as it is ordered!

Chris and I set the wheel up and I only had 15 minutes that first night to play before we headed out for a hockey game. What I couldn't believe was how fast I adapted to it.

When I w
ent to White Rock Weaving Center to look for a spinning wheel, Anna the owner had me sit down and try the wheel out. Well, I was just a mess! I couldn't even treadle the damn thing and keep the wheel going, let alone spin and feed fiber to the bobbin! My Mom, Anna and me were laughing so hard because I was so mental on that thing! So, I ordered dvd's about spinning and watched every You Tube video out there! All these weeks of watching - and not doing - must've been the trick, because when I sat down with my new wheel, everything just clicked!

Now, I still have a lot of learning to do: speed of treadling, how much twist to give the fiber to form the thread, making a thread that has continuity of thickness and twist, and on and on...
Right now I am using sheep's wool as shown in these pictures. This is the natural color of the sheep! The fleece is sheared from the sheep then cleaned of it's natural greases and any vegetative matter (straw, grass, etc). Then it is combed several times to align the individual fibers into one direction. It is then assembled into this large ball called "top".

To spin the top, I take a small chunk and pre-draft it... that means I lightly pull lengthwise on the fibers to make a thinner piece of top and by doing this, it makes i
t easier for me to spin and get the continuity I want. I then begin spinning it, literally -- I am spinning the fiber, giving it twist, so that the fibers will hold together and become strong. Once I have achieved the right amount of spin, thickness and texture, I let the spinning wheel take up the thread and spin it around the bobbin.

Now, I could knit with just this one ply of yarn/thread; but that would be crazy (for me)! That would make a lace weight yarn -- but I think even *that* thick of a yarn would still be 2-ply. To make a yarn that is more sport weight, I would ply together 3 or 4 of these spun threads! Then the yarn is "set" by gently wetting it, beating it :) or rapping it on a table corner a few times, then letting it dry completely! Tah-Dah! Yarn!

I'll keep you posted as I create things!

Get Over Yourself

I understood the first time; figured "what the hell" the second time; but this time...

Ralph Nader to Run for President

Friday, February 15, 2008

Testing 1, 2, 3...

I just switched my browser from Safari to Firefox and it's amazing! It's almost like getting a new computer, again! Anyway, there's this add-on called ScribeFire that allows me to post to my blog, edit it and the whole kit and kaboodle with a simple click of a button! Wow! (I say it louder) So, I'm just testing it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The High Life

I have decided to become a member of both NORML (national organization) and DFW NORML (local chapter).

NORML is a nonprofit organization that stands for the "National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws."

I don't want to insult anybody; but I think it's important to know that I am not some stoner... I lead a productive life and I am a responsible adult. I do *not* condone the illegal use of drugs; however, I do believe marijuana should be a legal substance (that could be taxed and regulated).

I have depression and o.c.d. tendencies and I have been taking medications for this for years. It was a rocky road to find the right meds, with a few mishaps along the way. A bad "side-effect" of the depression and o.c.d. (for me) can be nights of insomnia... so bad that I'll be lucky to get five hours of sleep in 72 hours. Through the years, doctors have tried to cure my bouts of insomnia, with damn near every medication available -- all to no avail. At one point in my life, a doctor had me on EIGHT DIFFERENT MEDS to "cure" me... my anti-depressants, another pill to ease the side effect of the anti-depressant, another to stop making me feel jittery from that pill, a strong sleeping pill, a pill to help me wake up, a pill to give me energy, etc. This combination of LEGAL, PRESCRIBED drugs made me so unwell, I had a major nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for two weeks (thankfully, I found a great dr and I am currently taking one medicine).

Marijuana can help you sleep. One doesn't need to use it everyday. One doesn't feel "hung-over" the next morning. Yes, it can "mellow" you... but nothing more dangerous than a couple glasses of wine.

I don't believe mj is as dangerous as many people believe; however, it should be used responsibly. After reading many facts regarding mj and it's usage, I have realized that these facts need to come to light.

Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings -- that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In the 1937 marijuana was made illegal after roughly 90 minutes of discussion and "evidence", almost all led by a bigot name Harry J. Aslinger. If you think I'm using the word "bigot" just because I don't agree with what he said, please read some of his ACTUAL quotes from those hearings:

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and many others."

"...the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother."

"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."

"Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing."

Here are some statistics for you to think about:

Causes of Death/Annual Deaths
According to Drug for the year 2000 in the USA
Poor Diet & Physical Inactivity/365,000
Microbial Agents/5,000
Toxic Agents/55,000
Motor Vehicle Crashes/26,347
Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs/32,000
Incidents Involving Firearms/29,000
Sexual Behaviors/20,000
All Illicit Drug Use, Direct & Indirect/17,000
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs i.e. Aspirin/7,600

Marijuana is less addictive than Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol, Nicotine and Caffeine.

There are many great sites out there that can lead to the facts about marijuana.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We Are Fam-Ah-Lee...

This past weekend was a great one! My Mother-In-Law Jackie, Chris' brother Thor and his wife Dio and daughter Antigone came to visit to celebrate Jackie's birthday. We had a blast!

Everybody flew in (from San Diego and Annapolis) on Thursday afternoon. We went to dinner at Texas de Brazil (a churrascaria) and ate a fantastic dinner! The food was delicious, the wine wonderful and of course the company, outstanding!

Friday afternoon we went to the Aquarium and it was pretty cool! We also turned everyone on to "Central Market" -- the most amazing supermarket! Jackie, Thor & Dio are official addicts! We bought waaaay too much food and enjoyed a great bbq/cookout that night!

Saturday was a lazy but enjoyable day! We eventually worked up the strength to visit the Dallas Zoo. It was rather disappointing, I'm sorry to say. What few animals were there did give us their best, though!

Saturday night was the blow-out dinner to celebrate Mom's birthday at Aurora. Freaking amazing/awesome/stupendous/insert-a-fabulous-adjective-here! The restaurant was intimate and beautiful; the staff attentive; the food to-die-for. I'm drooling and shorting-out my keyboard reliving those memories! If you are ever in Dallas, I HIGHLY recommend this place!

Unfortunately, everyone had to go home on Sunday. It truly was a great weekend with lots of laughing and enjoying each other's company!

Hopefully it won't be another year until we can all get together again!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

My Goodness! My Fergus!

We just came home from the emergency vet's... Fergus had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy about six months ago... we knew the end was coming. These last few months had been wonderful... we spoiled him even more than we had before and he totally took advantage of it!

Fergus was such a wonderful dog... patient, kind, loving, playful and incredibly noble. Even tonight when he was in great discomfort, he was stoic and seemed he wanted *us* to be ok.

The decision was made at a little after 11pm that he should be put down. His passing was wonderfully peaceful. Dr. Cox was amazing and she let us bring Elvis, Eddie and Tripp so they could say their good-byes.

Fergus will be missed, and tonight, my heart is broken in two.

My Goodness! My Fergus!
August 24, 1999 ~ February 1, 2008