Dec 29, 2009

Wow! Almost 3 years blogging!

So, yeah, my 3rd blogoversary is coming up in January, and I am busy thinking up things to do to celebrate:

a) I could have a give away

b) I could make a resolution to blog more often and have a giveway

c) I could have a contest and have a giveaway.

I think I'll probably have a giveaway no matter what. Just need to come up with something cool to give away. Fiber? Handspun yarn? Something hand knit or crocheted? Or maybe some commercial yarn (be warned - it's all synthetic) or a creation from that?

While I'm thinking, why don't you think about it and tell me what you think? Then i'll compile the ideas and see what I can come up with!

Dec 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wish I knew Bailey! I have visions of Celeste in the same snowy bliss next winter!

Dec 22, 2009


Okay, I'm all for cleaning up the environment, but let's do something about the exhaust from gasoline and diesel engine cars first and put everyone in a vehicle that uses clean energy. THEN I'll think about getting Celeste a job, but I can't really think about eating my pet for Christmas Dinner. Found on Yahoo right here.

Polluting pets: the devastating impact of man's best friend
by Isabelle Toussaint and Jurgen Hecker Isabelle Toussaint And Jurgen Hecker – Sun Dec 20, 3:23 pm ET

"PARIS (AFP) – Man's best friend could be one of the environment's worst enemies, according to a new study which says the carbon pawprint of a pet dog is more than double that of a gas-guzzling sports utility vehicle.

But the revelation in the book "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living" by New Zealanders Robert and Brenda Vale has angered pet owners who feel they are being singled out as troublemakers.

The Vales, specialists in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington, analysed popular brands of pet food and calculated that a medium-sized dog eats around 164 kilos (360 pounds) of meat and 95 kilos of cereal a year.

Combine the land required to generate its food and a "medium" sized dog has an annual footprint of 0.84 hectares (2.07 acres) -- around twice the 0.41 hectares required by a 4x4 driving 10,000 kilometres (6,200 miles) a year, including energy to build the car.

To confirm the results, the New Scientist magazine asked John Barrett at the Stockholm Environment Institute in York, Britain, to calculate eco-pawprints based on his own data. The results were essentially the same.

"Owning a dog really is quite an extravagance, mainly because of the carbon footprint of meat," Barrett said.

Other animals aren't much better for the environment, the Vales say.

Cats have an eco-footprint of about 0.15 hectares, slightly less than driving a Volkswagen Golf for a year, while two hamsters equates to a plasma television and even the humble goldfish burns energy equivalent to two mobile telephones.

But Reha Huttin, president of France's 30 Million Friends animal rights foundation says the human impact of eliminating pets would be equally devastating.

"Pets are anti-depressants, they help us cope with stress, they are good for the elderly," Huttin told AFP.

"Everyone should work out their own environmental impact. I should be allowed to say that I walk instead of using my car and that I don't eat meat, so why shouldn't I be allowed to have a little cat to alleviate my loneliness?"

Sylvie Comont, proud owner of seven cats and two dogs -- the environmental equivalent of a small fleet of cars -- says defiantly, "Our animals give us so much that I don't feel like a polluter at all.

"I think the love we have for our animals and what they contribute to our lives outweighs the environmental considerations.

"I don't want a life without animals," she told AFP.

And pets' environmental impact is not limited to their carbon footprint, as cats and dogs devastate wildlife, spread disease and pollute waterways, the Vales say.

With a total 7.7 million cats in Britain, more than 188 million wild animals are hunted, killed and eaten by feline predators per year, or an average 25 birds, mammals and frogs per cat, according to figures in the New Scientist.

Likewise, dogs decrease biodiversity in areas they are walked, while their faeces cause high bacterial levels in rivers and streams, making the water unsafe to drink, starving waterways of oxygen and killing aquatic life.

And cat poo can be even more toxic than doggy doo -- owners who flush their litter down the toilet ultimately infect sea otters and other animals with toxoplasma gondii, which causes a killer brain disease.

But despite the apocalyptic visions of domesticated animals' environmental impact, solutions exist, including reducing pets' protein-rich meat intake.

"If pussy is scoffing 'Fancy Feast' -- or some other food made from choice cuts of meat -- then the relative impact is likely to be high," said Robert Vale.

"If, on the other hand, the cat is fed on fish heads and other leftovers from the fishmonger, the impact will be lower."

Other potential positive steps include avoiding walking your dog in wildlife-rich areas and keeping your cat indoors at night when it has a particular thirst for other, smaller animals' blood.

As with buying a car, humans are also encouraged to take the environmental impact of their future possession/companion into account.

But the best way of compensating for that paw or clawprint is to make sure your animal is dual purpose, the Vales urge. Get a hen, which offsets its impact by laying edible eggs, or a rabbit, prepared to make the ultimate environmental sacrifice by ending up on the dinner table.

"Rabbits are good, provided you eat them," said Robert Vale."

Dec 18, 2009

Celeste's own web page

#1 dog site for dogs & bipeds!

Take a little peek! It's still under construction, but Celeste's working on it!

About Kaiser...

I wrote to Donna, the project manager of Building New Hope in Nicaragua, About Kaiser's funds, and what to do to specify that a donation is only for Kaiser,and she wrote me back:

“To answer your question about donating to Kaiser, Kathleen, this can be done by going to our using PayPal or by sending a check to Building New hHope. Either way, just write in that it's for Kaiser. And ony Kaiser will get it. We are very good about this...donations go where they are intended. Always.

Thanks so much for your moral support and excellent info about your Husky!


And then I asked for an update on Kaiser. And here it is:

“Sadly, the govt agency that must sign off on allowing animals to leave the country will not do this for Kaiser. He's too sick. He's condemned to this the limited knowledge and resources to make him the beautiful dog that he was just months ago.

But today we may have made a little breakthrough. We shaved off all of his thick fur (he lost much of it to his disase, whatever it is) and we soaked him in chlorohexine, an antiseptic shampoo that is also soothing. We're hoping that this will stop whatever is eating his skin, and if we're lucky, cure it. We have plied this poor dog with all kinds of drug combos and applied all kinds of lotions and creams. We are working without a net. There is no lab available that could exam a biopsy....even a skin scraping. It is not a good situation.

But Kaiser has people here who love him and will not give up on him. Thank you for your concern. We'll keep you posted, Kathleen.


Dec 16, 2009

Please Help Kaiser

This is Kaiser, a Siberian Husky in Nicaragua, Central America, where Donna Incitti Tabor is trying to treat him for an inexplicable skin disease. Whatever it is, it's taking him down little by little every day. The thought of euthanisizing this sweet and beautiful animal is painful, but the people at the kennel in Casa Lupita realize that it soon could be their only humane option for a dog that they all have come to love..

Kaiser arrived through less than pleasant circumstances. Apparently he was purchased by a young man who wanted a tough-looking dog, and Kaiser fit the bill. But things changed when the thick fur on his legs and underside of Kaiser's body fell out. Then as his bare skin became infected and inflamed, he stopped being a pet and became a liability, and no medical care or attention was given to him.

If there's a positive aspect to this pathetic situation, Kaiser's owner is a neighbor of Jasson Fuguera, a newly-graduated veterinarian who volunteers at the Casa Lupita animal clinic.

When one of Kaiser's family members threatened to kill him if he couldn't be cured, Jasson brought him to Casa Lupita to care for him every day and to keep him safe from a disappointed family. Different treatments and remedies are tested on Kaiser, But it's all second-guessing since no one can say exactly what the dog's illness is.

They are about to include a more experienced veterinarian in Managua in a treament plan. Dr. Diaz Fonseca feels this may be the same skin affliction present in another dog that he once treated successfully. He is willing to try to save Kaiser.

Though Dr. Diaz is giving a most generous discount for treatment, it will be a long process.... not days or weeks, but months. It will include a skin biopsy, lab work, expensive medication, and daily bathing. And it will eventually mean daily trips from Granada to Managua with Kaiser.

They are now putting out the word to all of you fantastic readers and animal lovers, who may be able to help save Kaiser. He is already fortunate to have reached the heart of Valarie Findlay, a Canadian who has made a start-up donation that will allow treatment to begin. She also intends to adopt Kaiser and have him flown to Canada to join her and her family of four rescue dogs. But first, he must be substantially cured to pass the muster at customs. The full treatment will require the help of many...not just Valarie.

The following is a photo of Kaiser as he was a few days ago. Please help change this to a happy, healthy dog who can one day romp freely in a Canadian snowfall. If at all possible, please donate to Building New Hope through PayPal or by mailing a check to our Pittsburgh office at:
106 Overton Lane
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Dec 13, 2009

Merry Christmas to me!

In anticipation of the coming hot, snowless, and mostly un-celebrated Christmas holiday, I treated myself to a couple of drug-and-alcohol free indulgences for the holidays with this:

and this:

The Gypsy batts are still kicking my behind, too. This is almost 500 yards of fingering weight Gypsy, with about 2 more ounces to go...

I think I'll have to find a nice project to make with it, but CRAP! I think I must be the slowest spindler in the world. Maybe I'll be done with Gyspy by the New Year...

Dec 9, 2009

Navajo plying video

I've always wondered about navajo plying. I've heard about it, read about it, and wondered about it, but never have seen anyone actually do it. I knew the principles but not the mechanics. Here, finally, is a pretty clear illustration of nevajo plying on a spinning wheel:

Since I don't have my wheel with me, I'll have to fiddle around with a spindle to see what I can figure out. I watched other videos that show navajo plying with a drop spindle, and all of them seemed very tedious and labor intensive. So much stopping the spindle, sticking it in an armpit, hooking it and putting the strand around the short, nothing easy or smooth about it. If it's really that difficult, I think I'll just stick to my regular plying technique and bypass the navajo method.

Dec 8, 2009

Reading list for 2010

Thinking ahead, and dreaming about going back to the land of less traffic, accessable libraries and books, open spaces and places to explore with Celeste and O, I am building my "Must Read" list for 2010:

1. The Sable Queen(From the Redwall series, by Brian Jacques)
2. Doomwyte (From the Redwall series, by Brian Jacques)
3. All the Redwall series. (I bought some for my daughter and neices, who seemed to enjoy them.)
4. Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood
5. The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
6. Pirate Latitudes, by Michael Crichton
7. Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
8. The Sookie Stackhouse Series, by Charlaine Harris
9. Witch And Wizard, by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
10. New York, by Edward Rutherford

That's it, so far. I'll be adding to the list after the first of the year, I'm sure. What's on your list?

Dec 2, 2009

A very pleasant surprise

This week has been very good for me so far. First, I have 4 really happy, enthusiastic classes to teach! The language levels range from beginner to higher intermediate, but - maybe because it's close to Christmas, I don't know - they are all great, so far. I can walk into class and see smiles on faces, ready to participate and seemingly happy to be there. Amazing! It could be that I finally have managed to put together interesting classes, or maybe these are just exceptional students. Whatever it is, I hope it continues!

Second, I've been visited right here on this blog by none other than Randolph, the super sleuth Labrador Retriever of the canine mystery, A Dog About Town. What a wonderful surprise to read his politely Labradorian comment, and receive a subsequent e-mail from him! Wow! I read A Dog About Town a couple of years ago. It was a fun and fast-paced read, and (I am happy to say) was one that I could pass on to my nieces without getting the hairy eyeball from their mother.

If you are in the mood for a short, fun read, check out A Dog About Town, written by J. F. Englert, and Randolph. I think you'll like it!