19th Jun 2007

Super Cool Skein

I got a skein in the mail yesterday from Habu Textiles.

I do believe it’s from my No Sheep Skein Swap Secret Pal.


It’s beeautiful.

It’s the 98 Blue Kasuri


I played around with it this morning on four-aughts (size 0000 needles).

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18th Jun 2007

The Adventures of Blossom the Goat

Got my goat back!

Here’s Blossom’s adventures, as far as I can piece them back together:

Thursday, June 7th, Blossom arrives from friends in Idaho.
Saturday, June 9th, Blossom takes off for the hills some time in the
Sunday, June 10th, my dad thinks he spots her across the lake.
Michael, Alaetheia, and I hike in to find a white boat (not a white
goat) bobbing (not grazing) in the water (not on the shore). Feeling
pretty stupid and tired and sweaty from the mile+ hike, I go ahead and
call to the folks in the boat, “Excuse me! Have you seen a little
white goat?” to which they say, “No” in a tone that indicates they think I’m as weird as I feel.

But I don’t care, because I already feel dumb, and now I’m
doubly goat-depressed.
We put up signs at the post boxes and the post office.
We go into a goat funk.
We go into goat mourning.
We come back out of the funk.
Friday, June 15th we get a call from some folks who had the goat back
on Sat. and Sun., but she ran off again. Now we at least have an idea
of which way she went (because “head for the hills” pretty much is
omni-directional from our place).

My dad saw a bob cat.
This was before we got the goat.
The coyotes are raising their pups.
We’re not hopeful.

Saturday, June 16th, we put up more signs–eight–on our way to town.
We start getting calls:
First, a gal who thinks she saw our goat on Craigslist.
Then some folks who had her briefly, but she was making their dogs (a
Neufie and a St. Bernard) cower, so they took her to friends.
Then a guy who says, “I think my friends have your goat.
Incidentally, I’m one of the folks who was on the boat you were
hollering at on Sunday . . .”

Exactly one week after we lost her, we are reunited with Blossom,
who’s only a little worse for the wear. Actually, she’s not worse for
the wear at all. She’s pretty spiffy.


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07th Jun 2007

No Sheep Skein Swap Pal

Hooray!  My pal has persisted and made contact!  Hooray!

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05th Jun 2007

No Sheep For You Skein Swap

Oooh La La!

I have picked out both of my downstream partner’s skeins . . . picked from a small shop in Sonoma, CA, just off the Plaza, where I stayed for sil’s wedding two weeks ago. The wedding was beautiful, but the yarns are exquisite! Going to have to stop coveting them myself long enough to send them off.


I haven’t heard from my upstream pal.


Her email might have been caught in my spam killer. Hey, upstream Pal! Please try again! The AskQue sends a weird little letter to ask if you’re friend or foe, but it will recognize you if you reply to the query letter, and will forever after recognize you as friend.


Posted by Jen under Fiber, Musings | 1 Comment »

15th May 2007

No Sheep Skein Swap

No Sheep Skein Swap! Say *that* three times fast.

No Sheep Skein Swap

No Sheep Skein Swap

No Sheep Skein Swap

Whoa–sounds like I’ve been drinking, and it’s still pretty early in the morning.  (I haven’t).
I’ve emailed my downstream pal, and am noodling on what to send. Maybe my trip to CA next week will yield the perfect thing.

I stole most of the suggested questions, but added a few of my own:

11. Are you also a spinner?

12. What are you reading now?

13. What fibers have you tried and loved?  Tried and despised?

14. Any yarns you’ve been looking at, and haven’t gotten around to picking up?


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23rd Mar 2007

Spin To Knit Orphan Swap

I joined the S2K orpan swap just in time for my original pal to send the skeins. There’s a beeeautiful mossy green one and a pink-and-purply one with the softest, softest pink fiber in it. Thank you, Secret Pal!

I’ve spun my first skein for my orphan pal, and will send it off this week. My new upstream pal hasn’t yet made contact, and I worry that she got stuck in my SpamKiller and chucked by my hubby not paying attention . . . but she just might not check mail often, so I’m not sweating it.

All of my spare time has been spent spinning and working on the new store Fiber in the Hands of An Angry Spinner which still needs a shopping cart, or at least Paypal, but Michael is working on that.

In the meantime, my LYS Harmony Yarn Studio is carrying my yarns, fibers, and stitch markers.

Hooray for the champions of locally produced goods!

Harmony Yarn Studio

1034 N. 3rd Street

Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho 83815


Posted by Jen under Fiber, Musings | 2 Comments »

19th Feb 2007

Car Fights and the Childless

My sister and her girls lived with us when her husband got shipped off
to the sandbox. My girl was 3, hers were 2 and 5. The younger two
went to preschool, and the 5yo was in K; all were in car seats, across
the back of my sister’s Malibu.

My little one used to piss off her little one by putting her finger on
the 2yos seat. The 2yo would haul off and bite mine, and then there
was ensuring crying and finger-pointing, all while my sister was
trying to drive in a busy city. Since the 5yo had carpool, putting
her in the middle wasn’t an option, since she needed to be able to get
in and out herself.

So I wrote the name and directions to the restaurant supply house,
handed my sister a 20, and sent her to buy a full-sheet baking pan,
which we then jammed between the seats of the two little ones,
effectively blocking all touching and biting.

Here’s the funny part. When I tell this story, I can immediately find
out exactly where in life people are.

Childless people say things like, “Why don’t you just make the
children behave? Why didn’t you just teach them to stop?”

People whose children are past that age, say things like,
“Damn–that’s a good idea, and I wish I’d thought of it X years ago.”

And people who are in the middle of it ask me for the directions.


–Jen (noting that if you live in a sunny place, you’ll need to make a
pillowcase for the cookie sheet, so you’re not blinded when you go
around the corner)

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19th Feb 2007

To Parent or Not . . .

“You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a
car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let
any butt-reaming asshole be a father.”

. . . who’s to say who’s a good parent or not?

Right now, the system is stacked in favour of middle-American values
and mores, and a lot of poor families are penalized by the system
(esp. CPS) for being poor.

A case in point . . . this one dates back to when I was in college.
My roommate and I lived upstairs from a couple with two kids who were,
like much of the county, very poor. He was generally high on pot (and
we actually kept our bathroom door closed and the window open a lot of
the time, otherwise, because of some weird ventilation in the creaky
old building, we’d get a contact high while brushing our teeth–which
you’d think was a good thing for poor college students, but neither of
us tolerated it well). They both drank quite a bit. But there was
never any doubt in our minds that they loved the little guys. (Even
though they did almost kill us all one night when they were out of
fuel oil and decided to run a propane heater in the livingroom. But
that’s a case of ignorance, not malice).

This is not a way I would choose to raise my kids, and not an
environment that I think it particularly healthy–but I think the
alternative (foster care) is often (if not nearly always) worse. I
believe we have a biological imperative toward our offspring that,
even though we’ve done a pretty good job of severing and undermining
those ties at a societal level, is still deep within.

There’s plenty of things I wouldn’t choose for the environment to
raise my children in: guns, tobacco, drugs, rotting floorboards,
pesticides, junk food, lead-leaden lunch boxes, air pollution,
violence, public schools, television, euphemistically “sassy” clothing
for girls (think Barbie lingerie), war, crime, fundamentalists of all
stripes, idiot drivers, mildew, acrylic yarn, industry meat, and
packaged chemical mixes labeled “food.”

But I can’t control all of these factors, and we’re likely to
encounter and interact with most of them, and a whole host of them are
things that are seen as benign and part of many people’s lives.
(Heck, giant multi-coloured dustbunnies wafting through the house, and
running around in the woods [where we have bears, and moose, and
coyotes, and porcupines and probably a cougar] is part of our lives .
. . and a lot of people probably don’t think those are all that

So I figure that there’s a lot of variety in the world, and where we
see a need, we (ourselves, not a phone call to some faceless agency)
ought to work toward filling it.

I had a conversation once with my neighbor from across the street. It
was a small, rural town with a population under 2000 and an
unemployment rate over 20%. The first interaction I had with this guy
was the night I moved in, and we were tearing out the (25 yo) carpet,
and he came over to ask if he could have it. (Sure–then I don’t have
to take it to the dump, right?). Anyway, a few years later, I was
painting the porch, when he came over to chat. And Mike said that his
son was newly engaged, but he was a little worried about the girl’s
family. Mike and his wife had raised three of their own kids, and
taken in several teenagers along the way who’d been kicked out of
their homes . . . and he mentioned that they’d never made over 10K in
a year (we were having this conversation in 1999). And what he was
concerned about was that this girl’s parents were white collar
professionals–a doctor and a lawyer, I think. And he said, “I told
my son, “I don’t care if you marry the biggest whore in town, if you
love her and she loves you” . . . but, Jen, I can’t see our families
sitting down together for a holiday meal, you know what I mean?”

So here we have the tables turned, but the same basic premise: what’s normal in one house is not necessarily in another.

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19th Feb 2007

To School or Unschool

I agree that there are bad home situations that can be made far worse
by the family deciding to homeschool (or to say they’re
homeschooling). But I’m not convinced that school is the answer
anymore than I’d argue that sending the children to prison would be
the answer.

I’m of two minds on this:
First, I’m pretty sure that school is a contributing factor to the
breakdown of families. It was created to be, and quite evinced in our
society. Every parent who says to me, “I could never homeschool my
kidlet(s); I couldn’t spend that much time with *h**”, I’m convinced
is saying–without even knowing it–“I don’t like the person my child
is turning into spending their days institutionalized.” But it’s not
just the children who suffer the effects of early
institutionalization–the parents, too, went to school . . . it’s an
avalanche of generation after generation of early institutionalization.

(I don’t, by the way, put that idea forth in casual
conversation–although it is a universally acknowledged truth that
children pick up bad habits in school, no parent wants to acknowledge
that in the conscious world–because then they couldn’t send their
children to school anymore. At one point, I was still green enough to
say these things aloud in mixed company).

If you compare the maladies of orphanage-raised children to those of
school children, you’ll find a number of chilling similarities, albeit
the school children are of course generally milder cases. (With some
notable exceptions–the boys from Columbine come immediately to mind).

Second, I think school-as-refuge-from-bad-family-situation is like
duct-tape-as-permanent-water-leak-fix. It’s the wrong tool for the job.

Teachers aren’t trained or paid to be counselors, the
teacher-to-student (and worse, counselor-to-student) ratios are too
high to provide decent services–and the schools seem to manage to
meddle in all the wrong cases.

In sum, I agree with you that homeschooling is not likely to solve the
problems of a family already in crisis, but I don’t think that
school–even as a “breather”–is going to help it particularly, either.


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11th Jan 2007

Some Books on Unschooling

How Children Learn by John Holt (rev. 1995, Perseus Publishing)

Learning All the Time by John Holt (reprint 1990, Addison Wesley
Publishing Company)

Instead of Education by John Holt (reprint 2004, Sentient Publications)

Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling by John Holt and
Patrick Farenga (rev. 2003, Perseus Publishing)

The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn

The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School by Valerie Fitzenreiter

Challenging Assumptions in Education by Wendy Priesnitz (2000, The
Alternate Press)

The Book of Learning and Forgetting by Frank Smith (1998, Teacher’s
College Press)

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by John
Taylor Gatto (rev. 2002, New Society Publishers)

The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s
Classroom by Mary Griffith (1998, Prima)

Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans,
A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn (1999, Mariner Books)

Real Lives: Eleven Teenagers Who Don’t Go to School by Grace Llewellyn
(1993, Lowry House)

In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong (rev. 2000, Jeremy P. Tarcher)

Better Than School: One Family’s Declaration of Independence by Nancy
Wallace (1983, Larson Publications)

Child’s Work: Taking Children’s Choices Seriously by Nancy Wallace
(1990, Holt Associates)

Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich (1971, Harper & Row)

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