Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wallow in the last of the sun.

It's a cloudless morning, and predicted to remain cloudless all day.  The last roses of summer are blooming, and, although I have a shipload of tasks to do today, I'm going to go outside and embrace the rays.  How many more days will there be this year that I can walk outside without a raincoat?

I have two bags of daffodil bulbs to plant.  This is the perfect, God-given day for it.  Then, come March, after months of rain and days so cloudy that you don't throw a shadow, I'll be able to look outside and see YELLOW!  I do love those happy daffs.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fun at flock and fiber fest.

Without photos.  I got photos, but how to get photos from the cell phone to the computer to the blog is beyond me at this point. Sooo...

 Imagine, if you  will, a girl about 8 years old leading a frisky, curly-coated billy goat  who is bleating with each prancing step.  Imagine scores of white tents set up on a green lawn under a blue sky, and imagine each tent holding a unique rainbow of hand-dyed rovings and yarns.  Imagine hundreds of happy fiber artists, colorfully and artistically clad, wandering from tent to tent, becoming ever more heavily laden with glorious purchases.  Imagine the scents of lamb barbecue and kettle corn, sheep and goats and and their stables lightly perfuming the air. Imagine the hubbub of hundred of happy shoppers.  It was a splendid day!

I got there early enough to grab three mystery batts from  Fantasy Fibers.  these are the batts she pulls off the carding drums when they need to be cleaned.  There's no telling what's blended in, but every mystery batt I have ever spun has been an education.  Merino and alpaca and silk and who knows what else.  I do love the mystery batts.

My shopping plan is to carry a big basket, and when the basket is full, I'm done shopping.  Batts take up a lot of space, but I can always hang skeins of yarn around my neck, so I wasn't too worried.  As usual, I just didn't have the cohones to force my way into the Blue Moon booth, which was packed elbow to elbow with some fairly fierce shoppers.  Folks do LOVE their Blue Moon yarns!  I was carrying the basket on my head to take up less horizontal space, but I felt as if I would need both hand, me knees and elbows, and maybe my teeth to shop the Blue Moon booth.

I found some stunning enameled shawl pins with matching earrings.  I was completely taken wit a set of kitties for $68.  They wouldn't have gone with a thing that I own, and luckily, the line at the cash register was long enough to allow me second thoughts.  Instead, I bought some hand-dyed blue-faced leister in shades of blue and lavender.  And some merino, alpaca blending very manly grey with green and purple highlights, and some merino in rust, orange,brown and gold because I just had to have it, even though I don't wear those colors ever.

When my basket was full, and my pocketbook was empty, I took the long way home, taking the Canby Ferry. Imagine green forest and blue river with small electric-powered barge running from bank to bank.  Imagine half a dozen cyclists in their colorful gear lined up against the side.  Imagine six cars to fill the barge, and a gentle five minute journey across the river in the last of the summer sunshine.  As I drove home, I could see clouds forming along the horizon.  Last night it rained.  Today it rained.  Tomorrow it will rain.  The water year is beginning.  The flock and fiber fest was a perfect farewell to summer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doctor talk

On Wednesday, as long as I was at the doctor's office, I decided to get my shingles vaccine.  See, when you had that case of chicken pox back in the 2nd grade, you got over the symptoms, but the virus took up residence in your nerves, hiding behind the tangles of synapses, playing poker with the cold sore virus while they waited to mature.  Herpes simplex can re-errupt as a cold sore, or as sores on other moist, tender parts.  And chicken pox can come back as shingles - a burning, itching, torment that can, at worst, cause permanent nerve damage.  (The old myth that, if the shingles that appear on your waist get so bad that they completely encircle you, you will die, is not true.  It happened to my mom, and she lived another 50 years.)

Having observed this burning, itching torment, I decided to avoid it if possible. I was a grownup and got my shot.  Of course, I studied all the possible side effects first, but I forgot that they would couch it in doctor talk.

You know, when you are having a pelvic exam, and the doc says, "You may feel a twinge," and the next thing you know, you have tears rolling down your face and there are dents where your hands were clenching the sides of the cold metal table?  Twinge.  Right.

Or, during the colonoscopy, he says, , "You may experience some discomfort." And then you would scream like a little girl if only you could get enough breath?  Discomfort.  exactly.

So the possible reactions to a shingles vaccine include ". . .some temporary reddening and itching at the injection site."  This swollen, hot, tender spot about the size of a demitasse saucer and red as an aroused babboon's butt - this locus for a desire to grab the steel brush off the grill and SCRUB, this sensation that has gone on for 35 hours now, is a "temporary reddening and itching."  At least I didn't get the ". . .giant hives, throat swelling shut, and fever of 103."  If they say THAT in doctor talk, what must it really be like?

When my mom had shingles, the doctor came to our house twice a day for a week and gave her a shot to keep her sedated. Since I'm just experiencing "mild discomfort" I get by with hot packs (to short out all sensation in the area!) and focusing on other things.  I am listening to Terry Pratchet's book, "I Shall Wear Midnight" and sewing.  Pictures soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Holy Crow, it works!

A few weeks ago, in spite of a good life and sunny days, I started feeling blue.  The grey film was sliding over everything, and I was having thoughts about hurting myself.  Not that I was saying, "Life is so miserable that I just can't stand it anymore." Just random flashes.  Like driving down the road and visualizing turning the car into the side of the 18 wheeler beside me.  Or, while slicing a mango, thinking, "This knife is really too short to actually kill myself with."  I'm not crazy, but sometimes my body  decides to soak up too much seratonin, whch we all need to stay cheerful and balanced. 

don't worry.  I was not suicidal or anything like it.  But Winston Churchhill's black dog was on my trail.

So I made an appointment to talk to my doctor about upping my Prozac dosage.  And in the meantime, somehow, I started using the treadmill again.  I am getting in half an hour a day.  And doggone, if that grey film didn't lift, and the grim thoughts stopped, and I even went back to having happy dreams.  Exercise really does help!  I saw the doc yesterday, and we agreed to keep an eye on the situation, but not fool with the dosages yet.  And keep on walking!!

One thing that helps, and I can not begin to express how very much this simple little thing helps, is that DH applauds when I have finished a workout.  I just radiate smiles right now thinking about it.  Approval is SO important to me!

Oh, and the weight is beginning to burn off, too.  After I broke my wrist, I sort of  went into a funk for three months.  I was crippled, and wanted to do nothing but eat and feel sorry for myself and be cautious about further injury.

And my dreams started letting me know that all was not well.  I dreamt repeatedly about being lost and late for something. 

Oh, that's right.  Other people may not react to that situation with the same gut-twisting dread that I feel.  This is a dream that brings me bolt upright, sweating in fear.  When that happened, I called the doctor.  But it takes weeks to get in to see your medic if it's not an emergency.  And bad dreams do not really constitue an emergency. 

Luckily, I managed to get off my fattening butt and start walking.  We watch Jeporady, then I put on walking shoes and hit the treadmill.  If I had to go to the trouble of workout clothes, it wouldn't happen.  I just sweat into what I was wearing all day, throw it in the washer when I'm done, and take a lovely hot bath.  I sleep like a hibernating bear, and the day is brighter when I wake up.

And last night I dreamt I was going back to college with a bunch of the women from my writing group, and we moved into a BIG apartment together, with lots of empty cupboards for us to start putting wonderful things into.  Oh, the glorious possibilities.  WHAT a happy dream!

On the other hand, DH just got his work schedule for the next three months.  He has to work at least one day, if not both days of three out of four weekends till the end of the year.  They just don't have enough machinists to keep the machines going, so they have instituted mandatory overtime.  This sucks rocks!  If you know any machinists, or even someone who would like to be a machinist, Precision Cast Parts in Portland Oregon is hiring.  They will even teach you how to run the machines, and send you to school to improve your skills.  You DO have to pass a drug test, and not be a recent felon.  But they pay really well, and as long as America is fighting wars, Precision will have work to do. (They build airplane and tank parts, as well as all sorts of other cool things like artificial finger joints, and land-based power turbines and titanium golf clubs and stuff.)  And you get to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  If you know any young people who want a good, solid livlihood, send 'em this way!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest blogger

My fellow writer, Alice Lynn, has offered to share some of her thoughts today.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I want to thank Roxie for welcoming me to her blog. Inspired by her post of September 10th, I’ve been pondering the subject of ghostly visions or sensations, animal and human. Do our pets survive death? Do we?  I feel hints, if not answers, can appear in dreams. 

My fascination with dreams began in childhood, and continues to be a source of wonder and curiosity. I’ve dreamed stories, three of which inspired my three published novels. One way to sharpen your dream recall is to keep a dream diary, something I did for years. I also studied everything I could find on the subject. I exchanged dreams with my sister and worked at interpretation. Eventually I taught a community school class on the subject.

From dreams of departed loved ones to psychological insights, our dreams entertain, instruct, integrate, and sometimes warn us of health matters or coming events. Their importance cannot be dismissed since it is a known fact that people deprived of REM sleep (the dreaming phase) often become unstable mentally and emotionally. Dreams, like visions, seem to be messages from the unconscious or even the Cosmic.

 After losing my son to a motorcycle accident, I received a dream postcard, the return address written so clearly that I can see it yet. “The Summerland, Heaven,” it read, signed “love, Joe Kelly.”  That made me smile, for he always signed his full name even on birthday cards. That message was a great comfort, for I felt he was letting me know he was all right and not to worry.

Another dream came after the death of a valued employee. The vision presented a cameo-like appearance, without action or dialogue. Miss Claudia sat in a nimbus of light, her red hair and fair complexion glowing with health. In her lap lay a vividly beautiful turquoise shawl. When I shared this experience with her daughter, Ruthie exclaimed in amazement. “Mom was knitting a scarf before she died, and the color is just as you describe.” 

The warning dream was actually a series of three, dreams of dying. I was taking a Jungian class as part of my degree work at the time and finally talked to the professor.  After a discussion, he suggested I might want to check with my doctor. I hadn’t had a mammogram for several years, but decided I might as well book one.  The result was the discovery of a small cancerous lump. Luckily, it hadn’t spread, and after surgery, a dose of chemo, and a month of radiation, I was cured.  That was almost 12 years ago.

The study of dreams and visions goes back as far as our most ancient civilizations and is an honorable one.  Do you pay attention when your “dream master” puts on its nightly show?


A native Oregonian, Alice Lynn spent her formative years in the Willamette Valley. She has pursued interests that range from horseback riding and amateur theatricals, to sculpting, gardening, and sewing. Her mother, who was a great reader, instilled in her a love of books. Writing seemed to flow naturally after that and has always been a part of her life. She graduated with a degree in psychology from Marylhurst University in 1999. Currently she resides in Oregon City with her husband and three cats. Alice just released her third book, Scattered Pieces.

About Scattered Pieces: When Katie’s little brother is snatched in 1946 it tears her family apart. It’s only through her friendship with the irrepressible Marilyn and Marilyn’s handsome brother Tom that she navigates a lonely childhood. In college, studying psychology helps Katie understand her mother’s mental illness and her own fears. And it leads to a client who may know something about her brother’s disappearance.

You can find Scattered pieces at the following online retailers:, Alice is also the author of Wrenn: Egypt House and Volunteer for Glory.

Connect with Alice online:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

ready for the rain

The rain has started again.  Last Saturday was over 90 degrees, today, we'll be lucky to make it to 70.  Fly nags me until I take him to every door and open it for him.  He thinks Summer is still hiding somewhere out there.  But no, there is rain behind every door.

Often there will be a parting kiss of summer in early October, then the water year opens for business and the omnipresent rain will begin again.

So I have been sewing - a comforting thing to do when it rains.  Listening to Terry Potter's Wee Free Men and crafting quilts for the orphans.  Here's the green side.  This is fabric given to me by LG.  It's a lot of fun to use someone else's palette.

And here's the brown side.  And still, pounds of fabric sing to me, promising to keep orphans warm and well loved in places all over the world.  I need to get more thermal layers.  Old blankets, or bags of batts.  Time to shop!

 Leftovers never go to waste.  Here's scraps from the green side, creating a new tea cozy.
And here's the red side of the tea cozy, because JoAnne's had a 40% off for seniors day, and I couldn't help myself.  I should have bought batting, but I need a new tea cozy to go with my new big teapot, and I wanted a red one!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life goes on

Thank God the day has passed.  "Remember!" screams the news media.  "Remember, remember!" As if we could ever forget.

Our knitting was on the last hot day of summer.  Hot, for us is when it gets over 90.  And around here, we don't get humidity without precipitation, so it's usually a dryish heat.  Yesterday, a marine low moved in, and temps got into the mid 70s  Ahhhh!  And with that full moon, I want to drag the Darling Husband outside and neck in the pavillion.

His co-workers are getting teaparty leftovers,  Yesterday, the brownies went.  Today, the gingersnaps.  Like locusts, they will eat anything, so tomorrow might bring them stale angelfood cake.  I'm keeping the lemon merengues.  I drank strong leftover green tea all day yesterday and was vibrating slightly by 4 pm.  No more caffeine after 3 for me. Buzzzzz!

It is fascinating to me how many of  us have experienced contact with spirits that have passed on.  And I struggled to decide on just about every word or phrase in that sentence.  Almost as if there isn't exactly a vocabulary for the experiences.  As one of the gals at knitting said, "It's for you.  It doesn't matter if other people don't understand."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

tea in the pavillion

I was too busy enjoying myself to get many photos, but I did snap one shot of the spread before we dug in.  In the center, surrounding a small vase of flowers, is angelfood cake.  To the left, reading top to bottom is lemon merengues, gingersnaps, brownies with peanut butter chips, and honeydew balls with mint.  To the right is a stack of bacon, lettuce, tomatoe, and avocado sandwiches.  And to the right of theem is a plate of caramel/apple cookies that LG brought.  We were a small group - only 9, which meant we were able to get a group discussion going.  (any more than that, and we tend to break into smaller, more intimate chatteries.)  And toward the end of the time, we began sharing our experiences of being "visited" by people who have died.  I was surprised by how many people had dreamed of a loved one shortly after that person's death, and been comforted by the dream. which leads me to wonder - what are ghosts? 

There was a cat I loved - his name was Blue , and he loved me with complete, unstinting devotion.  He was with me during some of my hardest times, and when I finally had to have him put to sleep, I grieved  so sorely.  Then one night I dreamed that I saw him in the window where he loved to sleep.  He opened his eyes and looked at me with perfect blissful contentment.  I knew he forgave my failures and understood why I had to help him die, and he still loved me with absolute cat love.

Blue cat will help me die when the time comes.  I won't transition alone. 

Do you have ghosts?

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I'm a day late for AW Wednesday

Food sampling at Trader Joe's! Watch for the lady that crosses herself!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

scrapping up

Piecing busily, I have finished another scrappy quilt.  Actually, I have the front and back center of yet another quilt pulled together as well - turquoise, lime and avacado on one side, wheat, brown and cranberry on the other.  They both need borders to bring them up to bed size.  No rush, though.  I have lots of fabric and lots of time.

Tomorrow, I initiate baking frenzy for the Saturday soiree.  Gingersnaps, lemon merengues, angelfood cake.  Friday I make the melonballs, and the guacamole for the BLATs (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado and Tomato sandwiches) and toast the bread . . . make iced tea, stage the buffet setups, mumble, mumble .. .

Saturday morning, move extra furniture out, set up the buffet,  plate and put out cookies, cake, put together sandwiches, make hot tea, put out iced tea, sparkling cider, melon balls, get chalk and write on garage door, "Come around back  > > >"  Take a deep breath, enjoy the party!

It's supposed to be the hottest day of the year on Saturday.  If we need to, we can just grab everything and move into the house with the air conditioning.  My friends are flexible and fun.

Monday, September 05, 2011

another knit

A longwhile ago, I got some pink and grey silk and wool roving and added it to the stash. In time, I spun some delightful thick and thin grey yarn and added it to the yarn stash.  Recently,  I needed something fairly mindless to knit, so I began mitered squares with the soft pink and grey silk and merino yarn.  So soft.  It needs to be a scarf.  five feet of scarf later, I see lots more  yarn and decide to do my other favorite thing which is to add a ruffle.  One ruffle was good, and two, which just finished off the yarn, was even better.  Now, the scarf goes into the finished objects stash.  Probably off to the orphange.  If I decide to keep it for gifting, I might bead the edges. 

But for now, I'm making a hat for my brother-in-law the scout master.  Again, I went stash diving.  This time I pulled out a skein I bought because it was a colorway that I never buy. Time to stretch my creativity.  I usually go with pink, blue, purple, so I bought some Iron River Ranch hand dye in yellow, green and a teensy bit of orange.  For some reason, it makes me think of dinosaurs, so I am knitting a dinosaur hat for the beloved BIL.  Stay tuned for photos.

Also on the schedule, The darling Ms, LG brought over some scrap fabric from the stash clearance of a friend of hers.  I adore other people's scraps.  Again, colors I would never choose.  Especially lime, avacado and turquoise.  Time to whip together another quilt!   I have one quick and dirty stripper in shades of blue to finish off, and then, play with new colors!! Woohoo!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

off to the fair

Every year, DH takes the Friday before Labor Day off from work and we go to the State Fair.  We always get there right after they open, so sometimes, the kids are still in bed.
 But it's never too early to be beautiful.  Here are three sheep getting the final primping before their 4H owners lead them into the show ring.  They get groomed to a fare-thee-well, even getting polish on the hooves.  This must be a fairly odd experience for the average sheep.
 And once they've been buffed and puffed enough, they have to wear a pretty coat until it's showtime.  Otherwise, being sheep, they'd go find something to roll in.  Sheep are not known for intelligence.  Their primary aim in life is to die, preferably somewhere inconvenient, ideally, in your water supply.
This little guy was just too cute.  Had to get his photo.

We walked all over the fair.  Next year I have definitely got to enter some things!  The poetry competition was puny, and the quilt show was poorly represented as well.  Even the photography competition was sparse (though I haven't a clue what makes a good photo.)
This is one of the fun activities.  The pool has about three feet of water, and you pay to get inside the buble, have it blown up, and then flail about with glee.  I was reluctant to risk my wrist right now, but if they have it next year, I'm in!  It's sort of like bumpercars without motors.
I looked all over for deep-fried beer or Kool-Aid, but the oddest I could find was deep-fried PB and J.  And one place offered corndogs about three feet long.  They were cooking the fish and chips, and the blooming onions in the same vat of grease.  We passed on the deep fried everything.
But, one activity I did participate in - the State lottery commission had a tent, and we won a chance to grab "dollars" for a chance to win lottery tickets.  I got in the booth, they shut the door and turned on the air for 20 seconds and I snatched paper out of the air and stuffed as much moolah down the front of my shirt as I could.
 Right up till they opened the door.  I had 23 "bills" in my clothes which won us 6 free lottery tickets.  Woohoo!  That was wonderfully silly fun!

We walked at least five miles wandering around the fair.  But DH feels we needed more exercise, so today, we went for a bike ride.  There is a paved bike trail along the East side of the Willamette river, right down the hill from very urban life.  The hill is city land and heavily forrested.
And just across the fence from the bike path, we saw a doe, calmly enjoying some yummy blackberries on a late summer morning.  I could have hit her with a rock.  Heck, if I had a watermelon with me, I could have spit seeds on her.  And she just ignored the hell out of us, and all the other riders and walkers who happened by.  I do love living in this city!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The recipe for bacon maple cupcakes

Next time, I'll just mix maple syrup with powdered sugar and glaze the cupcakes rather than frost them.  And these were better the first day.  The bacon got - greasy tasting overnight.  Maybe if I nuked them a few seconds in the microwave before serving . . .

* 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
* 1/2 tablespoon bacon drippings (left in the fridge to become solid)
* 1 egg
* 5 tablespoons brown sugar
* 4 tablespoons maple syrup
* 1 1/4 cups self rising flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* tiny tiny pinch kosher salt
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup of minced bacon, cooked and drained

What you’ll do–
* 1) Cook some bacon in a fry pan (about 6 thick strips). Reserve the drippings and place in the fridge to solidify. Mince 1/4 a cup of the bacon. The chef should eat whatever is left to assure that the bacon is tasty.
* 2) Beat the crud out of the butter and solidified bacon fat ’till light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat well until combined.
* 3) Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
* 4) Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder together.
* 5) Add some of the flour and mix, then some of the milk, then continue to alternate the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the bacon. Taste and add more maple syrup, flour, or milk if needed for desired taste. Keep in mind the maple frosting is very sweet, and to add in very small increments for alterations as maple syrup in large amounts can break a cake batter.
* 6) Scoop into cupcake papers and bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Be sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes for even baking.

Maple Syrup Frosting

* 4 tablespoons of butter.
* 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
* 1 cup of powdered sugar.
* turbinado sugar (optional, but recommended).
* coarse grain sea salt (optional, but recommended).

What You’ll Do –
* Combine the syrup and butter until combined. Add the sugar, a bit at a time, and whip at high speeds until combined. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Sprinkle on sea salt and turbinado sugar for decoration and a lot of added flavor.
(add some crumbled BACON TOO!)