The official blog of Susan Landis-Steward, writer of whatever she likes, and co-founder of Puddletown Publishing Group

Archive for September, 2008

Dang! Wish I Could Find the Camera!

This past weekend was one of the High Holy Days for Pacific NW spinners, knitters, and weavers: Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival. Since I missed Black Sheep Gathering due to moving, I was really ready to shop for stash, even if a broken wrist was preventing me from doing much spinning or knitting.

Oh, I want to show you what I bought! Maybe Jenny knows where there is a camera.

But, here’s the run down. We got there about 10 am, after a great breakfast and a nice ride in the country. Jenny does not believe in going anywhere directly. First stop, the bathroom. I only tell you this because there was a long line and another woman and I decided to liberate the men’s room. Which caused a  line and made one man mad. All I can say is live with it. Two stalls for about a million women? And the 100 or so men need to wait? Tough cookies!

My usual routine is to make a full circuit without buying. I made it about 3/4 of the way and then had to stop and buy some fiber I had to have, in part because of the presentation. I WILL find the camera! I will!

My next purchase was some Pygora/silk in gorgeous heathery blues.  We are thinking about getting a Pygora goat so it felt important that I actually learn something about them. I also bought some white Pygora A/B to see what it spins like without the silk.

Then I found some “mystery batts” in great colors. Browns, oranges, blues, greens, definitely a fall heather theme.  The fiber content is Merino/Silk/Cashmere/Angora so I guess the mystery is in the percentages. At $1.50 an ounce I had to buy a full pound. I had to. Really.

About that time, Jenny called and wanted to meet for some lamb kabobs in the grassy sward. It’s a tradition. I held down seats at a picnic table peopled with crazy women who were clearly giddy from the smell of lamb, lanolin, and wool. I also think they drank their breakfast. One had smuggled in a dog under her coat. Another thought she should have a UFO booth where folks could bring all their unfinished objects and pay her to complete them. What a great idea!

Jenny is always eager to watch the animal judging so next stop was the barn. I left her in command of my purchases while I wandered off to buy a drop spindle or two to add to my collection. One is apple wood and it’s SQUARE! Spins like a dream. The other is a plying weight spindle from my friends Jim and Brigit at Pacific Wool and Fibers. I have several of their spindles and love them. And they are CHEAP! (Shhhhh. Don’t tell.)

I passed up Dicentra although I LOVE her fibers. But I can buy them at Northwest Wools or online. I try to find stuff I can’t get locally or easily.

What else? Oh, yeah, a pound of white wool roving for dyeing. It’s just co-op wool but it was cheap and soft and will spin nicely.

When we got home, I put the drive band back on my wheel (it had slipped off while our floors were being repaired), not an easy task when one hand is useless,  and started spinning. Fortunately, when I spin on wheel my left hand is the working hand; on a spindle, it’s the right. However, with two new spindles in my collection, I HAD to force the fiberglass monster on my right wrist to allow my not-so-opposable thumb to flick a spindle full of yarn.

AND, even before OFFF, I found a source of recycled sari silk. This is thrums from looms used to weave sari fabric and I bought two bags full. One is shades of purples, pinks, a great silvery white, and a hint of blue. It’s so nice I’m just going to spin it into yarn without blending it. The others is bright colors, red, green, yellow, gold, blue, purple, all colors, mostly silk but with some rayon and some gold thread thrown in. This will be blended with part of the eternal nine pound black fleece I bought year before last at Black Sheep Gathering. I can’t wait to get started on ALL of it!

Hopefully, I’ll be adding photos to this post later tonight. But right now, I really do need to get to work.

Update on the Wrist

Today was my four week checkup on the broken wrist and I NO LONGER HAVE A CAST! I do, however, have one of those velcro/elastic/steel/nylon splint things. Which I can remove. And, the doc told me drop spindling is “good therapy” for my wrist. Life is good.

I also have a referral to occupational therapy and am not allowed to ride my scooter until “they” say so. Did I break my wrist? Who knows. We may never know, or it may manifest now that I have permission to actually use it. This is weird medicine at its best. Some docs say I broke,  some say I didn’t. At least they aren’t going to do a CT scan unless it gets worse which is good.

I do not do well with anything that involves putting me in a confined space for a long period of time. To get me in an OPEN MRI machine requires lots of Valium. To get me in a closed one requires, well, maybe death. Speaking of which, don’t even put me in a coffin. Just start a big fire and burn me up.

News You Need to Know

As some of you know, I am a news junkie. Not just the news you get from the folks that brought us George W. Bush, but news of all sorts. Some of this I want to share with you because I think the whole country needs to know.

First up: This from the Army Times. Yes, you read that right. A full Brigade, stationed in the US, to quell civil unrest. Interesting timing, with an election looming that the Republicans NEED to win and have proven they will do anything possible, legal or illegal, to win. Armed with tasers, supposedly nonlethal, but responsible for a death right here in PDX last year and for a death somewhere else just in the last week. Also, note the duties of this force:

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.

Funny, that. I always thought that was the job of the National Guard. Question: Is the October Surprise going to be Martial Law?  Or maybe the GOP plans to steal another election. This time from a black guy. Hmmmm. Are they expecting riots or something?

Steal elections? How would that happen? Read on:  You might not know that Diebold machines are owned by a Republican and have been implicated in numerous “odd” voting incidents that favored Republican candidates.

There’s much more out there but I’m not going to do all the work for you.

One More Thing before Bed

right now I have four books on my desk. Well, not exactly on my desk, but on my calendar. Two for authors who contacted me, too from my bread-and-butter customer, a major publishing house. Under normal circumstances, I can do 500-700 pages a week.  So far this week, I’ve done less than 100. Which means I have 300 more pages to do by Sunday then need to do over 100 as quickly as possible for one of the authors.  Then I start on another book for my primary customer and another book for an author. And knowing my  primary client, they’ll sneak another book in there somewhere. I like being busy, I like the money, I love my work. What I don’t like is a broken  wrist. I know, I know, I’m whining. I don’t know which I like better, whining or playing with the software.  But it hasn’t been a week yet so I get to whine some more.  I figure I should get at least two weeks to whine, more if the news is bad on Monday. Six months in a cast  deserves at least a month of whining, with intermittent whining at four-week intervals. So if you happen to be one of the lucky people who know me in real life prepare for a long, hard  whine.

oh yeah, I remember where I was going with this. The floor in our new house is buckling, and needs to be ripped out. Our son-in-law, who installed the floor, is coming on Thursday to fix it. I think it’s a bigger job  than can be done in two days. I’d be ripping floor out, but my main ripping instrument is in the cast. I realize I have a  matched set, but after half a century of being purely decorative, my left hand is stretched to its limits. I am learning to move a mouse with my left hand, to get a fork all the way to my mouth, and to pick up a cup without spilling water all over the floor.

Someone assured me today that this will actually be good for my brain. You know left brain right brain. That crap. But here’s a scary thought. Although I am right handed and therefore should be left brained, my right brain seems to be doing just fine. In fact, it’s in overdrive. I tend to be wildly creative, mostly in the making up of absurd theories that tend to drive the people around me insane. If my right brain is strengthened by the incessant use of my left arm, we could all be in trouble.

You guys all better hope that I get my right hand back soon. I promise, if I’m in a cast for six months, that I will come to your house and haunt you with my whining. Now.   TIME FOR BED!

Update on the Wrist

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about scaphoid fractures. The bad news is this is a tricky little bastard of a break. There’s not much blood flowing to the bone and if you break it in the wrong place you can kill the bone. I already have one dead bone in my body, the tip of my right thumb. I broke it off one morning getting out of bed, felt it snap, and went to the doctor where  an x-ray revealed the tip of my thumb floating in flesh. it’s not hurting anything, although it’s weird to think about it being there. I’m sure it’s dead by now. It’s been years.

Back to the wrist. Next Monday I find out how bad the break is. If I broke it the “right way,” I may be in a cast for six weeks maybe eight. If I broke up the “wrong way,” I could be in a cast up to six months. And it may require surgery. All this because I put my foot down and there was nothing there. Aging is a bitch.

So, if you are the praying type, or the healing energy type, or any kind of superstitious type, or even some sort of atheist type, send good thoughts my way. I’ve been in this cast for less than a week and seriously have considered bashing it against a rock. What I wouldn’t give for a good shower without a plastic bag involved!

Right now it feels like my arm is swelling, and I can see that my fingers are turning purple. Jenny assures me that this is normal. But she’s never broken her wrist so I question her knowledge of normal. I’ve never broken a wrist either, but it seems to me that all the swelling should be gone by now. The fingers turning purple is probably okay, I know that bruises grow, and I know they grow more when you get older. While there’s a part of me that hates to admit I’m getting older, these bruises on my fingers prove otherwise. I just hope the bruising goes away quickly, because it looks like my hands are dirty but in a purple sort of way. Besides it hurts. Amazing that breaking my wrist did not hurt, but having all the blood drain into my fingers does.

Well it’s almost 3 AM and I think I’ve proved that MacSpeech Dictate works just fine. So off to bed I go so I can get up tomorrow, put a bag on my arm, take an impossible shower, and spend the day talking to my computer. If you ever break your arm, buy a Mac, and get this program. It is truly AMAZING!

By the way, the microphone that comes with the software is so good, even the cheap one, that I have a fan blowing on one side of me, and the TV on the other side, and all the mic picks up is my voice. I should be an an advertiser!


Disability Catch-22

just when you think you’ve found a good thing, you find out that there’s always a catch.

Case in point: I have some loans, for our barn, for my scooter, and for my car. On all of those loans I carry disability insurance. When I had the brain injury, I learned that it was important to have insurance in the event of something unthinkable.

But here’s the catch: to activate the insurance, I have to be completely disabled. I’m not completely disabled, I just have a freaking broken wrist, which slows me down a great deal in my writing and indexing. Since indexing is my moneymaker, I’m losing money because I’m going slow. If I stop indexing, I bankrupt my business. If I keep indexing, I might not be able to make my loan payments. Mostly depends on how good I get iat using this software.

So the choice is keep working and maybe go broke and have to file personal bankruptcy, or quit work, collect on the disability and have my loans paid, but lose my business.

Not a nice choice. But the kind of choice millions of Americans face every day in this country. One reason I’m voting for Obama.  That by the way, was the first word I’ve had to enter by hand because voice-recognition doesn’t care who’s running for president and heard his name as  “a bomb.” I certainly hope that’s not a sign of prescience on the part of computer.

Writing with No Hands

Well, after several people suggested it, I finally joined the voice-recognition Revolution. I’m just learning, so don’t expect a lot from me. But so far in this post, the computer has made no mistakes. I’m using a program called MacSpeech Dictate which, as the name may indicate, is only for the Mac. If you’re still in the dark ages, and using a PC, the closest you get is Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

I just started using the software today, primarily for my indexing business, and it works great. I was amazed that the first word I spoke was entrepreneurial and damn if it didn’t spell it right. Most of the kids I know can’t do that. Most of the adults either. In fact, close your eyes and spell it right now. No I didn’t mean “it.” I meant “entrepreneurial.” Did you catch the punctuation. Yep. Both hands are in my lap.

I’m not sure what this is going to mean for my writing, but it means I’m going to get my work done. And that’s a good thing.

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