Summer Vacation at the Lake


I grew up on a lake back east; I dyed this with the bright green of the grass, the darker green of the trees, the blue green of the algae, and the blue of the water in mind.

This is a 6 oz braid of hand dyed alpaca top which was originally a silver grey color.  I dyed it in a crockpot I use specifically for soaps and dyeing.  I bought a starter kit of Greener Shades dyes recently from a friend who is a distributor; they are dyes that use no chrome or tin to brighten colors and therefore are safer to dump in sewers, and onto garden beds.  While my favorite way to dye is with food coloring – easy, bright fun colors – the darker colors tend to “break” meaning they are a mix of lighter and darker dyes, and under the heat stress of dyeing they separate into their constituent colors rather than dyeing the color you want.  Blue, purple, and black are notorious for this.

This braid is for sale in my ArtFire shop and is currently the ONLY thing I have for sale there.  This evening I hope to take more photos of my hand spun yarns to put up in the shop; this will take some time because while I tracked the yardage while I was skeining, I couldn’t put tags on them until after I washed them and so I need to recount each skein for yardage before I put them up for sale.  I really need to figure out a better way to do this.

There will be more offerings soon so visit often!

Huh. Wasn’t just me.

I wasn’t the only one to get screwed over by Carson Cooper. Too bad for me he kept a $200 “fee” for his time and trouble (nevermind it was my trouble). Mr. TF says it’s a good racket and could be a good living, NOT making wheels and keeping $200 for every refund you issue, says he wishes he had the balls to start a business like that.

Apparently he’s done this to a lot of people. I have been contacted by more than one person who asked if I had ever received my Eirny wheel. Seems he takes money but doesn’t produce the wheels that people order – which he says he can/will make. Except the little folding wheels he makes to sell as a ‘stock’ item.

I find it interesting that he is threatening to sue, according to the blog post above; it’s not libel if you can produce evidence. I’ve kept all my emails as well, mine date back to 2011 too.

Too bad, I think he had the potential to be a great wheel maker — if, that is, he actually made the wheels he promised.

Well, I’m very happy with Antonio, my Canadian Production Wheel. I wanted a wheel that could do everything, but I’m happy with a wheel that does only a few things – but those few things it does VERY WELL.

When it rains, it pours…

94nissanThat’s not my truck.  It is however the same year, same color, same drive type.

My 2007 Prius blew up 4  days before Christmas this past year (2013).  It had had electrical problems for quite some time, and many of the “essential” functions had quit working – the touch screen gave up the ghost before it even had 100K miles on it.  Toyota knew there was an issue with poor manufacture of it, but refused to issue a recall; a new one was something like $1400 to replace so dead it remained.  It also never alerted to let me know that, due to a design flaw in the engine, oil would cake up and cause it to start blowing out the exhaust.  I ran the car literally dry in between oil changes at 140K miles; from then on it was a race against the inevitable.  I was on my way to work when the engine blew.  I limped it the last 20 miles to work but it was towed from there.  I sold it for a pittance, with full disclosure, to a Mexican (nationality, not racism) man who was sure he could get it running again.

Unfortunately I had planned to finish my holiday shopping the last two days before the holiday, so it was a very meager holiday for several folks in my little family – money that was going to be spent on gifts instead had to be hoarded for a new vehicle.  I still have mixed feelings about this – on one hand, I’m grateful that my busy school and work schedule prevented me from shopping earlier, because it meant money I had been saving for months was still there for us to use on another vehicle – but on the other hand I’m guilty feeling about the fact that I didn’t get gifts for important loved ones.  Not that presents equal love, but I think you know what I mean.

Anyway.  Fast forward to July 2, 2014.  We’ve had said pickup since the first week or so of January; it’s been a good running truck for a vehicle that’s 20 years old and has 200K miles on it.  I was on my way to take my final exam for my pediatric management class when the truck began making a HORRIBLE noise.  If you’ve ever heard the sound of a rod getting ready to go you KNOW the sound I heard.  If you haven’t, imagine the sound of a jackhammer under your hood, metal on metal.  It’s a sound to put fear in the hearts of strong men and women everywhere.  It’s 112 degrees outside, I’m 50 miles from my class, and 40 miles from home.  I try to limp it on side roads, but the noise keeps getting louder.  I finally pull off into a parking lot and call my husband.  “You have to come get me and take me to my final!”  I also text my instructor my problem; she is totally understanding and tells me just to get there when I can.  Mr.  TF tells me to call for a tow truck.  OK, I think, we have towing coverage on our insurance (we have full coverage on our vehicles, even though they’re old, because we can’t afford to be in an accident without it), no problem, we can get it towed to our local mechanic (who is a local resident and we’ve known him for nearly 20 years – good mechanic, decent human being).

This, is where the trouble starts.  State Farm has contracted out this service.  The representative for the service informs me that they will only tow me 10 miles or to the closest shop, whichever is closer.  HUH??  She tells me the name of the closest shop, and I immediately call Mr. TF to inform him of this development.  He is not happy either, and Googles the shop – which turns out to have very mixed reviews.  Mainly in cases, like ours, where the vehicle was taken in for an unknown (to the owner) problem, and they keep finding things ‘wrong’ and jacking up the price of the repairs.  GREEEEAAAAT.

The tow company they contacted gives an ETA of 45 minutes.  An hour and 15 minutes later we are still sitting in the parking lot, in 112 degree heat, waiting for them to show up.  Mr. TF calls the dispatcher – he’s having trouble with another tow and will be there in 20 minutes.  DH calls BS and says the tow truck driver is probably having dinner.  20 minutes later, he’s still now shown.  DH calls them back and tells them we HAVE to leave, I’m supposed to be taking a final exam, can we PLEASE leave the key inside the truck?  The dispatcher isn’t happy, but agrees when DH (nicely) browbeats her and stresses the importance of my FINAL EXAM to her.

I show up to class over an hour late.  I have forgotten some of the paperwork that must be turned in, so I have to go to the computer lab to print it out.  I still finish before everyone else.  Uh oh.  Either I don’t have a clue or I am careless I think.  I end up with an 80% on the final.  Which means the third option I haven’t listed is probably the culprit, in looking over the answers I got wrong — dyslexia is a real problem for me and I misread some of the questions, probably due to my level of stress.  Thankfully, I end up with a 96% for the class.  Thank the GODS.

The shop tells us the next morning that it’s the exhaust manifold that’s the problem, it came loose, and it will be $250-300 to fix.  Mr. TF is ecstatic, thinking I was wrong and it’s a simple fix.  I think that can’t explain the noise, but keep my thoughts to myself.  He agrees with the shop manager that we will be down around 4pm to pick it up.  The bill turns out to be $485, not $300.  And the they’re not done yet.  And the truck is still making the noise.  While we’re waiting, before they fire up the truck so I can hear that they didn’t fix it, we have a chat with someone who is there to pick up his own vehicle.  He says he’s $2100 into repairs on his car and they still haven’t fixed what he brought it into them for in the first place.  This starts off major warning bells in my head.  So when the truck gets started, and I hear the SAME NOISE, I’m rather stressed out.  The manager says “we couldn’t hear THAT noise over the exhaust noise”…I get a little hysterical and contradict him, saying that’s the exact noise that made me pull over to begin with, and I can’t believe he didn’t hear it, and NO THEY CANNOT KEEP MY TRUCK TO FIND OUT WHAT’S WRONG AND FIX IT.

Long story short, the guy refunded our money.  Which was quite a nice thing to do, and goes a long way toward restoring my confidence in basic humanity.  But we’re still left with a dead vehicle making a horrible noise.  So we go to the local Uhaul and rent a pickup truck and trailer to tow the truck to our mechanic.  Mr. TF loads it onto the trailer, I drive it home.  All’s well until I pull into our circular driveway.  By that time I’m emotionally exhausted by the strain of the previous days, and I get careless when pulling into the driveway.  I don’t swing wide enough and get the trailer hung up on the rocks that border the drive.  Yay.

Since it’s raining and it’s the holiday weekend anyway, and we have 24 hours to get the rig back, we decide to leave it in the yard till the morning.  Next morning, we drive 40 miles to FIL’s house to get his truck so we have a way to get to work at both our jobs.  We come back home,  and, after much freaking out by myself, get it UNhung up, and take it to Mark’s shop.

His guy calls us in the mid afternoon and says it’s all done, that the distributor cap arced and caught fire, and we need a new cap, rotor, wires, and plugs.  OK, great, but I keep saying that I can’t understand how THAT could make it make that noise.  DH says not to be so negative, that it’s better than a new engine, after all.  I agree.  Mark’s employee says he wants to test drive it before we pick it up to make sure it’s fixed.  Mr. TF tries to talk him out of it, saying he can test drive it himself, but no dice.

He calls back in a few hours and says he has bad news.  The noise is still there, and radiator coolant is dripping out the tailpipe.  Which means a cracked head and/or a blown head gasket.  New price:  $1685.  NOW I say, THAT explains the noise!!  Oy.

On the bad side, we had to borrow a credit card from FIL to pay for this.  We are now into a 20 year old vehicle for nearly $6000 and it’s sure to have other problems in the future.

On the good side:  the exhaust manifold is repaired, with a new seal, and new bolts holding it on.  The distributor, rotor, wires and plugs are all new.  We will have a new head on it soon.  It should run like a top for many thousands of miles to come.  It’s paid for, and we don’t have car payments or depreciation to worry about.

So, while I wait for my truck to get out of the shop, I meditate on the quality standards of Nissans and Toyotas made 20 years ago versus in the last decade.  We also own a 96 Camry.  It is a dependable vehicle that just goes and goes, and also has nearly 200K miles on it.  I’m sure there are maintenance issues coming up in our future with this vehicle as well, but I also feel confident that THIS Toyota will be worth investing money into to fix, UNLIKE the Prius which was a maintenance sinkhole.  And I know for certain that I’ll be driving one or the other of these vehicles for the next decade at least – one, because we can’t afford anything else right now – and two, because we’ve invested so much into these vehicles that are paid for that it simply doesn’t make sense to buy anything else for quite some time to come.  The Prius was probably the biggest disappointment of my recent years – a vehicle that cost so much money could be so unreliable and of such poor quality as this from Toyota was an eye opener.  If THAT doesn’t show for certain that the empire is crumbling, I don’t know what does.




Another backlash begins


Read from beginning to end. The backlash in America has not been nearly so strong as in the UK, which is a pity.

Originally posted on Dr. Malcolm Kendrick:

Recently I was the author, and co-signee, of a letter sent to NICE (the National Institute for Care and Health Excellence) asking that their recommendations on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease should be withdrawn. Mainly the advice on the use of statins for those at low risk of a heart attack, or stroke. Those in the UK may have seen a bit a stir in the media.

Others who signed this letter included: Sir Richard Thompson, Chairman of the Royal College of Physicians, Dr. Clare Gerada, past president of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Dr. Kailash Chand – deputy chairman of the British Medical Association. [I have included this letter for you to read, if you wish]

So, we are not talking about a bunch of mavericks here – apart from me, of course. When people who are as much a part of the ‘establishment’ as this are…

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Hey Arizonans! Clothesline bans are illegal!

MEN-JJ09-clothesline1(image copied from Mother Earth News)

Clothesline bans illegal in 19 states

I live in a state with many, many, MANY Home Owner’s Associations (HOA’s).  There have been fights brought to court because the boards of many HOA’s consider solar panels to be ‘unsightly’ and banned.  This, even though we live in a state with something like 320 days of sunlight a year.  This, even though Arizona law trumps HOA rules.  In all of these cases that went to court, the right of the homeowner to have solar panels was upheld, because Arizona law gives the right to the use of solar to the homeowner without interference.  Yay Arizona courts!  And yet, in many, if not most, of these same communities, use of a clothesline is banned by the same ‘unsightly’ rule.

Well guess what???  Those rules are illegal and unenforceable too, under the same laws that give the right to the use of solar panels.  ARS Article 3 Chapter 4 Section 33-349

specifically states that:

A.  Any covenant, restriction, or condition contained in any deed, contract, security agreement or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property which effectively prohibits the installation and use of a solar energy device as defined in Section 44-1761 is void and unenforceable.

I looked for section 44-1761 and unfortunately was unable to find it.  you are welcome to look HERE if you are interested.  Now in the interest of disclosure, if you bought your property before 1980 this isn’t applicable to you, and any HOA regulations dating from before 1980 ARE in fact enforceable.

ETA:  found it.  Google is my friend.

44-1761. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. “Collector” means a component of a solar energy device that is used to absorb solar radiation, convert it to heat or electricity and transfer the heat to a heat transfer fluid or to storage.

2. “Heat exchanger” means a component of a solar energy device that is used to transfer heat from one fluid to another.

3. “Solar daylighting” means a device specifically designed to capture and redirect the visible portion of the solar beam spectrum, while controlling the infrared portion, for use in illuminating interior building spaces in lieu of artificial lighting.

4. “Solar energy device” means a system or series of mechanisms designed primarily to provide heating, to provide cooling, to produce electrical power, to produce mechanical power, to provide solar daylighting or to provide any combination of the foregoing by means of collecting and transferring solar generated energy into such uses either by active or passive means. Such systems may also have the capability of storing such energy for future utilization. Passive systems shall clearly be designed as a solar energy device such as a trombe wall and not merely a part of a normal structure such as a window.

5. “Storage unit” means a component of a solar energy device that is used to store solar generated electricity or heat for later use.

Clotheslines are specifically a device to produce mechanical power — they cause water to evaporate from clothes via solar energy.  So.  For the great majority of us, clotheslines ahoy! Full sheets sail ahead!



The FDA wants to regulate medical apps now too

epocOnlinePhoto ganked from the Epocrates website.

So now, in addition to the Feds wanting to regulate your Google Maps app, they want to regulate medical apps.  You know, the ones your doctor/PA/NP uses to ensure that they are prescribing the proper dosage for you of a given medication.  You know, the ones that often have dosing calculators built in so that there’s no possibility of error on the part of a rushed, harried provider in giving your child a medication.  Of course, they are not regulating the BOOKS that give the same information though can’t help with dosing calculators.

So let me get this straight:  Epocrates is a medical device, not an application, and must be regulated by the Feds.  The same feds who still haven’t approved artificial discs for spinal surgery though it’s been available in Europe since 2005.  The same Feds who approved Pradaxa which now has over 2000 medical harm lawsuits against it and did not disclose larger adverse effects than originally reported in the study which got it FDA approval.  The same FDA that had 63 recalls of medical devices alone in 2013 and another 30 medical device recalls so far this year.  And Epocrates is very reasonably priced as the basic version; I may eventually upgrade to the full version but currently it does the job just fine for my needs.  If the FDA gets involved, I doubt I will buy it at all due to the cost which I know will go up by at least double, and have fewer updates because the Feds will have to approve the upgrades before they can be released.

Yes, I’m SURE regulation of apps which have a market share because they WORK, and are easy to use, and receive frequent updates to ensure they have the LATEST prescribing information will go well if the Feds get involved.  I’m SURE they will continue to be the user friendly, up to date, accurate applications they currently are because, as we all know from previous experience, having the Feds get involved in anything medical means it works better.  Just look at the recalls if you don’t believe me.

It gets better though.  Ever heard of Fitbit?  It’s a nice little app, kind of expensive in my opinion, but it lets you track your weight, tracks calories burned, calories of the foods you input that you’ve eaten, and is supposed to help you keep to your fitness goals.  The FDA has already stated they are monitoring apps like this and would like to regulate them as well.  So that $129 it now costs will go up to $250 or more if they get involved.  Yay, regulation.  Because we’re all idiots and can’t take care of ourselves, we need the government to do it for us.

So what?  You say.  I don’t care, I don’t use those.  Well, any time the FDA gets involved it means the cost is going to go up.  Drastically.  Which means that, eventually, that cost is going to be passed on to the patient.  Because the consumer, the provider, already has a pretty thin profit margin.  And by profit, I mean what they get to live on after paying student loans, business expenses, malpractice insurance, DEA license fees, medical license maintenance fees, etc.  There’s not much left over after all that stuff is paid for.  The average family practice doctor who owns his own business makes about $140,000 per year.  And out of that must come all of those expenses.  An engineer makes about $125,000 and has lower malpractice, and most of those other fees are covered by his company.

Books are great.  I own a few books designed for prescribers.  Except that I have to buy new ones every year or two if I want the most current information — or be able to put sticky notes into my books everywhere every time the information changes.  The apps have the clear advantage of updating with the newest prescribing information on a regular basis.  I will admit in a collapse scenario however, books have the clear advantage.  They don’t depend on electricity and a functioning internet grid for their information. This is why I have backups, but I do love the ease and speed of the medical apps!



The Great God Pan is Dead….or not.

Over the past several days I have been confronted with multiple references to Pan.  Yesterday I was confronted with direct references to him three times in less than 18 hours!  I took this as a sign that I should make a post on the subject.

According to Greek mythology, he is the son of Hermes the Messenger who is one of the ruling Gods of medicine.  I say this via his function of conducting the living into the realm of the dead; his staff with two snakes coiled around it is the caduceus of modern medicine.  Regardless of his later notation of parentage, Pan is most likely one of the earliest Gods of human civilization.  He rules over the mountainsides, pastures, sheep and goats.  As a God of the wilds, it can be expected that he embodies revelry, fruitfulness, open sexuality, health, and fun.  In Roman times he was identified with Dionysus, God of wine and revelry.

Pan, like all ancient Gods, has a darker side.  In his kinder mode he plays reed pipes known as syrinx, or panpipes.  In his darker aspect he embodies Panic and Pandemonium and plays, not pipes, but a conch.  These are two sides of the same coin; revelry can degrade into debauchery, madness, and chaos.  The mountainside in spring is beautiful and holds the promise of the summer’s fruit.  Winter storms hold death.  Sexuality holds both the promise of birth and the certainty of death.

Pan represents the eternal lust for life, and serendipity of fate.  Which nymph will mate with him this time?  Who will chance his anger by waking him from his nap?  It seems fitting that a spinner should post about the ovine, caprine limbed God of goats and sheep.

Lord Byron wrote an ode to Pan, titled Aristomenes.  Ostensibly, it was about the hero of the Spartan war; in reality it seems to be about the loss of innocence and love of simple pleasures that the death of Pan entailed.  He wrote it in 1823, but it was not published until 1903, I would guess because of the infamous nature of the author.  He and his works, like Oscar Wilde and his, were not particularly appreciated until many years after his death.

I present to you Lord Byron’s lament for Pan:

The Gods of old are silent on their shore

Since the great Pan expired, and through the roar

Of the Ionian waters broke a dread

Voice which proclaimed “the mighty Pan is dead,”

How much died with him! false or true–the dream

Was beautiful which peopled every stream

With more than finny tenants, and adorned

The woods and waters with coy nymphs that scorned

Pursuing Deities, or in the embrace

Of gods brought forth the high heroic race

Whose names are on the hills and o’er the seas.

I too mourn the loss of the certainty of spirits in the waters and the woods.  I too share Oscar Wilde’s plea for Pan to return and his assertion that He is desperately needed in these times:


O goat-foot God of Arcady!
This modern world is grey and old,
And what remains to us of thee?

No more the shepherd lads in glee
Throw apples at thy wattled fold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Nor through the laurels can one see
Thy soft brown limbs, thy beard of gold,
And what remains to us of thee?

And dull and dead our Thames would be,
For here the winds are chill and cold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!

Then keep the tomb of Helice,
Thine olive-woods, thy vine-clad wold,
And what remains to us of thee?

Though many an unsung elegy
Sleeps in the reeds our rivers hold,
O goat-foot God of Arcady!
Ah, what remains to us of thee?


Ah, leave the hills of Arcady,
Thy satyrs and their wanton play,
This modern world hath need of thee.

No nymph or Faun indeed have we,
For Faun and nymph are old and grey,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This is the land where liberty
Lit grave-browed Milton on his way,
This modern world hath need of thee!

A land of ancient chivalry
Where gentle Sidney saw the day,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!

This fierce sea-lion of the sea,
This England lacks some stronger lay,
This modern world hath need of thee!

Then blow some trumpet loud and free,
And give thine oaten pipe away,
Ah, leave the hills of Arcady!
This modern world hath need of thee!

Oh, for the loss of innocence of simpler times.  Oh, for the loss of connection to the land, its spirits and its stories.  Yes, Great God Pan, this modern world hath need of thee!

*”Pan” copied from Victorian Web dot Org, other material from my own personal library.


Back off the hummus classification, Sabra…


Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Sabra *IS* technically right. I speak a little Arabic (less now than when I regularly hung around with people from the ME and before I started school). Hummus *is* the Arabic word for chickpeas, as well as the paste made from chickpeas and other ingredients. Other types of beans have other words to describe them and their products.

That being said, this is a marketing driven decision and may well come back to bite Sabra in the @$$. Just sayin’.

Originally posted on A Moral Outrage:

Hummus Giant Sabra Wants The Government To Ban Black Bean Hummus Because Of Etymology

Sabra Dipping, by far the country’s leading producer of hummus, made headlines this week when it announced it is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to officially define “hummus” as a “semisolid food prepared from mixing cooked, dehydrated or dried chickpeas and tahini.” Such a “hummus law” would prevent Sabra’s competitors from marketing dips made from ingredients other than chickpeas — or chickpea dips that do not include tahini, a Middle Eastern sesame paste — as “hummus.”

Sabra Marketing Director Greg Greene argued that an FDA definition, like those the administration already has in place for products such as ketchup, mayonnaise and peanut butter, could clear up consumer confusion now, and especially down the line.

“It’s a slippery slope,” he said. “If there’s no definition for the term ‘hummus,’ products could stray further and…

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Stop threatening and just DO it…


Yes. This. As well as arrest and detain all Border Patrol, ICE, and other personnel who come into Arizona borders with illegal immigrants and charge them all with human trafficking.

Originally posted on A Moral Outrage:

Arizona AG Threatens to Sue Obama Administration over Illegal Immigrant Dumping

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne formally demanded the federal government “cease and desist” from transporting illegal immigrants to his state or else face a possible lawsuit.

In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson, Horne called on the the government to halt the shipments of untold hundreds of illegal immigrant families to Arizona.

“In the past two weeks, the Department of Homeland Security has transported, and continues to transport, a significant number of illegal immigrants from other states into Arizona,” Horne said Thursday. “Men, women and children left at bus terminals in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees with nothing more than instructions to report to the nearest ICE office within 15 days, posing significant health and safety risks both for the people being abandoned and the communities in which they are being stranded, is not acceptable.”


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While I sincerely hope Brandon is wrong, I suspect his prediction will be proven right in the not too distant future. Hence the reblog.

Originally posted on tomfernandez28's Blog:



“Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” – Militia Captain John Parker at the Battle Of Lexington

Just a couple days ago, two armed assailants, a married couple purported by the mainstream media to be “white supremacists” and “conspiracy theorists,” ambushed two police officers at a CiCi’s Pizza in Las Vegas, killing the officers after screaming, “This is a revolution!” The suspects then reportedly covered one officer’s body with a Gadsden Don’t Tread On Me flag and then fled to a Walmart, where they killed another man with a CCW who attempted to reason with them, then committed suicide. Yes, it reads like a Southern Poverty Law Center fantasy story; and in many ways, it is.

As we all predicted the MSM has followed the pattern they…

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