Inkle Bookmarks

14_Aug_GH_GuildWe are a diverse lot. The Glenna Harris Weavers Guild meets once a month to exchange ideas, find inspiration, and just plain gab. Some of us weave a lot, some very little. Some of us have large complex floor looms, some of us do not. So when it comes to having a program at each meeting, there are challenges.


This spring one of our members challenged everyone to weave something for Christmas or the holidays. To this end we are starting simply. For the last two months the challenge has been to weave something on an inkle loom. Many of us have these simple looms that weave versatile narrow bands that can be used as hat bands, belts, bookmarks (who can have too many?), guitar or bag straps, plus much else. Here are my bookmarks. Maybe I can add the work of others to this slide show in the future.


Next month we take on card (tablet) weaving, an ancient technique that dates back to at least the Vikings.


They swirled around in a noisy, buzzing cloud right outside the window where I am writing this. A queen and her court were swarming, looking for a new home to settle down in. I was sure our neighbor could help. She is a beekeeper–a real estate agent for bees who gets paid in honey . I have never known exactly how she gets the bees to live in boxes, but now I do.

Bees from CApoppy on Vimeo.

Moonstruck! No Mistake

Walkin’ on the Moon from CApoppy on Vimeo with music by Mark Humphreys

Where were you? A news broadcast reminded me that tomorrow is the 45th anniversary of man first landing on the moon. I know exactly where I was. Knitting a baby blanket in my apartment on Will Rogers Drive in San Jose, I sat rapt in the moment. It occurred to me that I could not let this event go without sharing it with my friend’s unborn child who, by way of the blanket, could also be wrapped in it. So I made my first on-purpose “mistake”. I knit two “wrong” stitches in a conspicuous spot.

This was the first of several on-purpose mistakes I have made since. It has to be a big deal in order for me to think of doing this. And my “mistakes” are not only in knitting. I have put them in my weaving and even on the exterior of my newly build studio in the garden in 2000 when I was painting it. The board and batten siding was the perfect place to celebrate the life of a friend who had died unexpectedly and another who had married exuberantly. I had a little of the paint tinted ever so slightly. A batten on the back where few see it, and which points skyward, was for my departed friend. A broad batten prominently placed where anyone walking to the studio can see it celebrates a marriage that was meant to be. Now when I sit in the studio I feel surrounded by friends.

I am not the first person to connect my physical world to my spiritual world. Navajo weavers added a “spirit trail” or” weaver’s pathway”–a line running off the edge of the piece that allowed the spirit of the weaver to escape so that she could go on to another. Many cultures and individuals have hooks to events far beyond our everyday lives.

For me right now, I am happy to once again be connected to the moon—and a death, and a marriage. This new way of walkin’ on the moon has helped illuminate my life.

Kindred Beings: What Seventy-Three Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love, and Connection

Kindred Beings: What Seventy-Three Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love, and ConnectionKindred Beings: What Seventy-Three Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love, and Connection by Sheri Speede

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. The author’s life and the lives of the chimpanzees are bittersweet. She withholds none of this from us and shows us how to follow our hearts. I savored this book one chapter a night and always looked forward to what would come next. As a bonus I learned a little about Cameroon, a part of the world about which I knew very little. I hope there will be a sequel–a Speede return.

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Traditional weaving of the Li people of China

This remarkable video of endangered traditional weaving came to me thanks to a post from Bonnie Tarses on Facebook. A must see for all my weaving friends. The ikat technique is very similar to the jaspé technique I witnessed in Guatemala.

Coyotes and Banana Slugs

Banana slug eating coyote scatWe have coyotes. We have banana slugs. But until this morning I never knew their paths crossed.

From the desk where I am writing this I often see coyotes coming out of the chaparral in the morning and going down the driveway  and coming up the driveway in the evening to disappear into the chaparral. Sometimes they leave their calling card, a pile of scat in the drive or on the patio.

In the morning when I take a thermos of water down the driveway to leave for the mountain bikers, I often see banana slugs foraging in the area around the pond.They eat the litter around the pond that has dropped from the trees and bushes.

But this morning was different. A large slug had venture out of its “safe” zone around the pond. It was feasting on the scat a coyote had left on the patio.

By evening the scat was not gone, but greatly diminished. How little we humans know about how the world works!

The Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story

The Second-Chance Dog: A Love StoryThe Second-Chance Dog: A Love Story by Jon Katz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. For a few minutes every night I shared the lives of Jon and Maria and Frieda–trying, like all of us, to work out who we are and what we want to do with our lives. I loved the honesty and willingness to share they all exhibit. No second guessing here. They are real to me. I would welcome them as neighbors.

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A Day of Eggsercise

Starting lineup


The Great Race starts in Saratoga and ends four miles later in Los Gatos. It happened today, and I did it again this year. But this year was different. I came home with almost five dozen eggs.






Chicken coop with chickens in the enclosureAbout three years ago someone started building a a shed and a chicken coup on a little piece of land that juts out from our mountain. It is just before the end of the road that leads to our house. This is not property that a house could occupy. But a water tank was installed. I understood from neighborhood chatter that the water was obtained through a deal with a neighbor who lives on the uphill side of the road. The mini-farmyard was the brainchild of a flat-lander who lived at the bottom of the hill in Saratoga. He wanted to have his children experience rural life–and chickens. On weekends the family could be seen there scampering up and down the hill as the place took shape. Soon the chicken coop with its fenced outdoor yard was inhabited by a cock and a number of Rhode Island Red hens.

Through a conversation with another neighbor in the locker room of the place where I work out, I learned where the owner of the “farm” lived–a location at the bottom of the mountain that I passed nearly every day. It was right across the street from the elementary school.

Two flats of eggsToday when I went down to Saratoga for the Great Race, I parked my car in the parking lot at the elementary school. As I got out, I saw a man come out the front door of the house where the “chicken people” lived. I went over and asked him if he was the chicken guy. He was. He was. We talked a bit and then he said, “Just a minute!” He left and entered the house and soon came out with two flats of eggs. “These should last you a few weeks,” he said. “Where is your car?”

2014-04-27 09.09.57


And so I did the Race with a pretty good time for me and came home with a prize of 53 very local eggs from chickens I wave to every day.

We had omelets for brunch.


DSCN1163Our four decades old apricot tree has suffered from my inept and uneducated pruning for years. My friend Anne, who once taught high school with me, comes up every summer. She is from a couple of generations of local orchardists and has been dismayed at the state of our tree. Last year she sent her husband Earl up to help the poor old tree. He has it on a 3-year plan. After an initial pruning last year, which caused it to provide more fruit than usual, he came up again this year and gave it a second year’s rejuvenation. Not only that, he is giving me lessons along the way.

DSCN1162 When we arrived home today, Earl was here. He is not only a knowledgeable fruit grower and outdoorsman, but also a beekeeper, and a former police officer. He has lived in the Santa Clara Valley all his life and seen more of it than most of us. I think our tree knows that it has been adopted by someone who cares. I am dusting off all my apricot recipes. Grateful to my friends. Thanks. Ear!l

Guns, Garbage and Music

There are those who are helping convert our vices into virtues. Pedro Reyes, a Mexican artist, has turned guns into musical instruments. And in Paraguay garbage is turned into music fit for Carnegie Hall.

I believe in personal freedom. This includes freedom from living with violence and unnecessary garbage. We once had a rifle which was armed with buckshot to dispatch rattlesnakes that came too close. We have given it up. We still create too much garbage. We are trying to give it up. What if we could convert all the guns and garbage into music?

For me, these are people who are exercising the best in personal freedom and making my kind of music.


Twelfth Night 1-11-2014

Once again a lovely get-together to celebrate the holiday. Great company, great wine, great food, great time! Here is a glimpse. I got so carried away that I forgot to take a picture of the magnificent cracked crab that graced the table before we dined. It was preceded by choice olives and followed by pot roast, mashed potatoes and a plethora of desserts, including lovely individual mincemeat pies, a double peanut wham of Peanut Butter Cup ice cream in brandy snifters served alongside gluten-free peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips. –And a fun picture of Dottie who barely escaped my taking a picture of her adding a little brandy to the coffee made from beans from Portland that were gifts to the guests at the wedding dinner celebrating Brian and Sydney’s best-ever wedding in November.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian TrailA Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not your ordinary stroll. I have been taken on a journey that I can visualize. Although I live in the mountains, albeit on a different coast, Bill Bryson has transported me to a wilderness that transcends the fire trail beyond our house. Only once have I undertaken a multi-day trek into the wilds. This was some years ago in the Olympic Peninsula where I was awakened one night in my sleeping bag on the ground, sans tent, with a bear three feet away. But this journey is more than an arduous trek through our spectacular world. It has taken me into the bonds that develop among people who accompany us on our adventures in life. It is physical metaphor for the journey we are all taking Walk on!

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Mother, Mandela, and Me

And, I should add, my grandmother and my father. This personal memoir is about my family and how I perceive its connection with a great man.

First, and most recently, my mother died a month and a half ago at the age of 102. She lived a long and wonderful life. I was relieved for her when she choose to relinquish her life peacefully after she could no longer sustain it or do most of the things she once could do. I feel the same sense of relief for Mr. Mandela.

But my family history goes back further. Continue reading

Mother – December 28, 1910 to October 17, 2013

MotherThe last time I talked to Mother, when she was able to respond, she said, “You know I am leaving. I am flying out of here.” Today she flew. How lucky I have been to have the perfect mother for 73 years. Until a month ago she was still talking to her grandchild via Skype.

She was not always perfect (but close and still a lot of fun), which made her perfect. We were not always perfect and she understood. As one of her nurses said, “I hope she had a good flight.”

Snakes Alive – Again

Today is the Fourth of July. Another hot day, following a week of them. In the 80s and 90s both day and night for a week. Avid bicyclists started climbing the hill early, pedaling by before 7 a.m. And I was out gardening and sweeping before the sun got too high in the sky. As I came around the house and started walking across the patio, I saw it, a spotted rattler camouflaged with fallen leaves. Not a huge one, but not a tiny one either. It was resting, not going any where, and was oblivious to me. What to do.
rattlesnake on patio

Usually when I come upon snakes, they decide it is time to leave. I quietly got a little closer thinking it might decide to take a hike. But no. Continue reading

The Paula Deen Flap

I grew up in Iowa in the 1940s. My grandmother, who lived with us, was a compassionate woman who had been a suffragette. She understood people, including me. When I was four, or five, or six, she took me to prayer meetings in the black sections of Des Moines. She understood what it was to be unrepresented.

Later in my twenties, I was on a Sunday drive with the in-laws of my first husband. We were in a lovely white part of town and drove by a nice house on a hill. In the yard was a black family with two small children playing on the lawn. My mother-in-law looked at this and said, “Doesn’t that look terrible!” She was not a bad woman but had never had experience with black families (or, for that matter Jewish families) living in her neighborhood.

Fast forward to the present. Continue reading

Same Sex Marriage

Time to go on record for how happy I am that the same-sex couples I know (and don’t know) can be legally married and have the same recognition and rights under the law as the rest of us. I believe I am not alone in having several friends, relatives, and friends with children that are same sex couples. These are folks who say so openly. There are many others.

In particular today I remember Barbara and Jo. Continue reading

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life

At Home: A Short History of Private LifeAt Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a trip! Ordinary life illuminated extraordinarily. Bill Bryson takes us through his 19th century English manse room by room and traces not only its history, but the history of each room. This is no ordinary history; he explores every nook and cranny that led up to, or is remotely associated with, the creation of a scullery, drawing room, dining room, bathroom, or bedroom. “Nighty night; sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Translation: cinch up the ropes on the wooden frame that supports your straw stuffed mattress and try to keep it vermin free. Sewage from bathrooms that spewed waste through pipes directly to the Thames made the stench in London unbearable. From plagues to power sources, 500+ pages compel the reader to take nothing for granted. Ordinary life will never seem ordinary again.

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