Have a story idea? E-mail the editor





Do you have a story idea or an event that needs publicity?
Send us the details and we'll post it for you. Submissions can
be e-mailed to us at

PostHeaderIcon Archives

PostHeaderIcon Uses for the Humble Clothespin

Tweet me!

What has been a household staple for generations, the mundane, yet multi-purpose ordinary clothespin has evolved from an object of long lasting, economical simplicity to many forms and hybrids.

The first of its kind, straight wooden forms made in England were identified as pegs.  The craft was associated with gypsies using small split lengths of willow or ash wood.  Then in 1853 the spring type clothespin was invented by David Smith of Springfield, VA.

Today, a wide variety of clothespins are available for use other than hanging sheets out to blow in the breeze.  Take your choice, wood, plastic, rubber covered wire, in a variety colors or plain wood.

A bit of Americana in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA, there stands a skyscraper tall, colossal sculpture of a common clothespin.  In a Middlesex, VT, cemetery, a 5-foot-tall grave marker is mounted respectfully erect in the design of a clothespin.
In 1998, The Smithsonian Institute hosted an exhibition titled “American Clothespin.”  The curator of the exhibit witnessed a young lad turn to his father and asks “What is a clothespin?”

Albeit clothespins as such have a long and practical history, however, with the advent of the automatic electric revolution in the art and style of laundry practice, the humble adjunct to getting a grip on shirttails and socks has virtually been aced out for that purpose.  Some community home owners’ associations have even banned using clotheslines in the neighborhood and every manufacturer of wooden clothespins has closed its doors.

Nonetheless, the many assets and uses of the clothespin speaks well for its diversity, a closure for the potato chip bag is just the beginning.  Many craft projects, from creating dragonflies to sling shots or even building a mousetrap, incorporate the use of clothespins.  Playing cards attached to the spokes of bike wheels to simulate a motor sound couldn’t be done without clothespins.

Around the house, holding a nail in place with a clothespin while swinging the hammer will prevent damaged fingers.  Unable to stop a nosebleed, a clothespin will do, in a pinch.  As for organizing discount coupons, take-out menus and other assorted paper keepsakes in the miscellaneous (junk) drawer, you can count on the capable clothespin to keep rank and order in the file.

Using a marking pin to label, the wooden whiz can easily identify each electrical cord in the maze under a desk or behind the TV/entertainment center.  The clothespin serves at casual parties for place card holders or clip-on name tags.  In the kitchen or in the library, the ever-clever clothespin makes a perfect paper clip, keeping the page open while reading or checking a recipe in the cookbook. 

Pairing items together, such as mittens, socks and slippers, makes for ready access, as well as clipping elements of a child’s outfit with clothespins works for more successful self-dressing.  Pins of various colors can serve to label each family member’s lunch bag in the fridge or like-kind backpacks on the hook.

On the road, a clothespin clipped to the visor is a convenient way to hold outgoing mail, a parking pass or a memo.  You can be creative with color or inventive decorations on a clothespin attached to your antenna for easy locating in the parking lot.

Then there’s the almighty strength of a magnet glued to the wooden wonder.  Ideas are countless, but on the fridge the can-do clothespin is reliable in holding on to kids’ collectable art work, shopping lists and important reminders.  In the laundry room, why not secure one on the side of the washer to hold a single sock awaiting its match that seems to elude its mate.

According the American Heritage web page, “Low tech and old fashioned though it may be, the clothespin continues to capture the imagination and attention of hopeful inventors.”  A grand total of 146 new patents for this marvel laundry mate were granted in the mid 19th century alone and 9 more in the U.S. since 1981.  Recent innovations of the catchy clothespin have been named The Teardrop, The Zebra, Hurricane Grip and even a Weather-Predicting incarnation.

As styles change in the fashion industry, so also is there dimension for the genesis of the perfect (clothes) pen.

Karen Balch is a retired nurse, freelance writer and San Ramon resident.

Last Updated (Monday, 10 November 2014 20:21)


PostHeaderIcon All In Need Helps Youngsters With Special Needs

Tweet me!


Every few weeks we feature a person or an organization with an interesting story on 10 Questions With… This week, we sat down with Autumn Green and learned about her organization, All in Need, Family Support. Her is what she told us:

ANNB: Tell us a little about yourself.
AG: I am the founder of All in Need, Family Support. I hold a degree in Business Administration from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, where I also worked as an administrative assistant until moving to the East Bay six years ago.  Being a wife and mother is my top priority.  Austin, my oldest son, was recently diagnosed with psoriasis and ADHD, and my youngest son Yaakov has been diagnosed with a speech delay, pediatric bipolar disorder and Asperger, and sensory process.  Austin is involved in hip hop and break dancing, participates in his church Youth Group. He also has participated in the Walk for Psoriasis. Yaakov is a left defender in club soccer.  I am a member of the Community Advisory Committee on Special Education in the Mount Diablo Unified School District, a volunteer for KidCompass, a special needs program at Oak Park Christian Center, and work part time as a classroom aide in the Mt. Diablo school district.   .
ANNB: How did you come start All in Need?
AG: In 2006, Yaakov was diagnosed with pediatric bipolar and aspergers, and my husband Jacob and I decided it was best for me to stay home with the boys. 
I tried to find the support and treatment Yaakov needed, but I was met with dead-ends at every turn. Frustration and hopelessness set in, but I soon realized I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t getting the support I needed. There were other families in the Bay Area who also needed help. So I set out to help them, starting All in Need, Family Support, or AIN for short, as church ministry at Oak Park Christian Center, serving children 4 years old to 5th grade. But it was quickly obvious that we needed to extend services past the 5th grade.  The program was expanded, became a nonprofit and has to date served children aged two and a half through 7th grade.

ANNB: Where does the name of your organization come from?
AG: All in Need, Family Support’s name came from my own realization that my entire family, me included needed help to deal with  Yaakov’s special needs including supporting him in many areas of his life to help him develop. I incorporated everything I learned in his speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and tutoring in our daily lives. However, it quickly became clear that my oldest son and my husband also needed me. That is where the inspiration for the name “All in Need” came from. The idea is to support entire families of children with special needs. 
What is the goal of your organization?
AG: The goal of AiN is to provide support to families with children ages 18 and under that have special needs like ADHD, Autism, Bipolar, Physical, Mitochondrial Disease, speech and language, in the East Bay by offering respite care in a nurturing and learning environment, promoting social interaction, providing gross and fine motor activities, all in a sensory-based atmosphere. We try to help anyone with special needs under 18. We have two programs that allow us to support our mission: Respite and Social Groups. The goal for respite group,  such as the one to the left, is to give parents a three hour break, while caring for their special needs child in an environment that promotes education and skill development. When developing the program I tried create a place where I would be comfortable bringing my own son with the knowledge that he was being challenged and encouraged, not just placed in front of the TV or computer. Our social groups, are designed for children 8 to 16. These events are an hour and a half long, giving parents a short break. We have various activities scheduled for outings--meals out, movies, miniature golfing, and other age-appropriate activities that typically-developing children would be doing.  

ANNB: How many people do you serve each year?
AG: It is an unfortunate fact that since AiN became a nonprofit organization in 2011, we have not been able to serve as many families as we did when we were a church ministry. As a ministry we were able to offer the respite for free, but now that we have to raise our own funds independently, we have to charge a fee for most events to cover our costs of operation and pay for the events. We have three events a month—outings, respite and game night. Our goal is to serve 20 children per month at respite, and ten for each monthly social event and we continue to grow. Remember: We offer outings the first Saturday of the month, respite the third Saturday of the month, and game night the third Thursday of the month. Registration information for all events can be found at www.allinneed.org.

ANNB: How do people find out about your organization?
AG: For more information, visit AiN’s webpage at www.allinneed.org. To be part of the mailing list, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and let them know that you want to be on the family events mailing list. You can also request to be added to the newsletter email list. All in Need is on Facebook and Twitter (@allinneedfamily). You can also contact me directly at 925-257-4AIN.
ANNB: What do you need to make your organization stronger?
AG: We need volunteers and donations (both product and financial) to make the organization stronger. Without expansion in both of these areas, AiN will not be able to grow to support more families that have children with special needs. We also need locations for our social groups, and help from businesses who will partner with us to give children with special needs the opportunity to do the same activities that typically-developing children participate in. Any individuals or businesses interested in donating or partnering with us can contact me directly at 925-257-4AIN.
ANNB: Who are some of your partners?
- Goals for Autism
GOALS for Autism, Inc. is devoted to increasing the quality of life for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs. As a company we understand the daily stress and worry placed on a family with a special needs child. We are dedicated to providing quality comprehensive educational, behavioral, community and social skills. Our goal is to assist the entire family and to create an environment where everyone thrives to meet their potential.

- Kristen Cumings
Known for her works of art made completely from Jelly Belly jelly beans, Martinez artist Kristen Cumings enjoys sharing the arts with children. Kristen has worked in the special needs field for many years, and is excited to partner with AiN and incorporate both talents to serve the special needs community.
- Brittany Erin Creative Media
Brittany Erin Creative Media is a web design, photography, and videography company in the Bay Area. Brittany enjoys using her skills to help local companies and non-profits grow their business and get noticed. Check out her website if you are in need of any design or photo work!
Current facilities we use:
Oak Park Christian Center: www.opccag.org
St. Andrew’s  http://www.standrews-pcusa.org/

 ANNB: What do parents say is the best part of being involved with AiN?

 “AiN provided my daughter with the opportunity to interact with other children while engaging in full of fun activities. The staff members are very carrying and thoughtful people who ensure that the kids are having fun in a safe environment. At the same time, it allowed my husband & I to spend time together without worries by knowing that our daughter is getting the social interaction that she needs in a safe and caring setting. “

“Thanks for everything you do for all the kids, and us parents!”
An activity called spiderweb (above) is done at social groups.

ANNB: Tell us what you are working on now for the future.
AG:  In the future, we plan to offer more respite and social groups per month as well as eventually offering a leadership program. Leadership would allow children with special needs to support AiN events and programs in areas such as fund raising and publicity. The children who participate in the leadership program would be encouraged to become even more invested in the group and its success by helping organize and plan the events and activities.
In 2013 we will host an event called A Special Day in the Park, where families with special needs children will have access to local participating vendors who offer services for them. There will be occupational therapists, doctors, speech and language specialists, extracurricular activities, support groups and more. --KB

All photos were taken by Brittany Erin Photoraphy  http://brittanyerinphotography.com/blog/living-social-coupon/ 

Last Updated (Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:25)


PostHeaderIcon Obscure Words of the London 2012 Games

Tweet me!

In the spirit of public service, the editors of the Global Language Monitor have selected a number of the more obscure words and phrases (and related factoids)  related to the London 2012 Summer Olympics for your enjoyment.

Citius, Altius, Fortius (Olympic History) -- The Olympic Motto is actually Latin (and not Greek) for faster, higher, stronger 
Dead Rubber (Tennis) -- A match in a series where the outcome has already been decided by previous matches
Eggbeater (water polo) --  Kicking one's feet quickly in a back-and-forth motion keep the body above water
Fletching (Archery) -- Traditionally, feathers from the left wing of a turkey, goose, or raptor used to stabilize an arrow; now replaced with synthetics
Flu-Flu Arrow (Archery) -- An arrow with extra 'fletching' to slow its flight
High Drag Projectile (Badminton) -- The birdie or shuttlecock
Impulsion (Equestrian) --  The thrust, impelling, or pushing power of a horse
Kotinos (Olympic History) -- Olive branches fixed in crowns of victory in the classical Greek Olympics
Marathon (Olympic History -- The word marathon is derived from the Greek for fennel, the spice which apparently grew in abundance on the plains
Nutmeg or Nuttie (Football) -- Kicking the football between the legs of an opponent
Pankration -- A sport contested beginning in the 7th century before common era that combined wrestling and boxing (similar to today's mixed martial arts)
Pheidippidean Pheat (Olympic History) -- Forget the Phelpsian Pheat of the Beijing Games, according to legend Pheidippides ran from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens pronounced, Victory and then promptly died. The actual distance was about 24 miles or  38.6 km
Repechage -- First round losers are provided another opportunity to advance in a competition
The Snatch Deadlift (Weightlifting)-- Lifting the barbell in a single movement, as opposed to the Clean and Jerk
Victor Ludorum (Olympic History) --  The Champion of the Games, in Latin of course

Founded in Silicon Valley, Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language.  For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or click on www.LanguageMonitor.com-- KB




Last Updated (Monday, 30 July 2012 20:51)


PostHeaderIcon Stop the Potty Talk

Tweet me!

How many swear words do you say each day?

I took a very unscientific poll (posed the question to my Facebook network) and found some amusing and candid answers. "In my head? At least 200," one friend said. "Under my breath? Maybe 100. Muttered? About a dozen. Spoken at full volume? Probably fewer than three. But that's on a good day."

Wikipedia tells me that "tape-recorded conversations found that roughly 80–90 spoken words each day are swear words." That might sound like a lot of taboo words but most people speak between 15,000 and 16,000 words a daily, field studies show.

Another friend said she swore a lot more when she was watching "The Wire" and "The Sopranos" on  TV. Good thing she wasn’t tuning into the show "Deadwood,’’ which had an abundance of potty-mouthed pioneers.

A couple other people who were polled said the number of swear words they utter each day depends on if they are driving, working or watching sports.

Most people said they believe they cuss about 20 to 40 times a day

If you’ve tried to forget the f-bombs and win the battle against bad words, this is the week to do it.

California lawmakers recently passed a resolution making this week officially "No Cussing Week." The idea to swear off swear words came in part from California Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who co-wrote a measure to promote "harmony and good manners" among his colleagues. 

The swear police won't be on duty around the state Capitol but lawmakers do plan to put money into a kitty for charity if they use a swear word.

Lawmakers didn’t come up with this idea on their own. Three years ago, a South Pasadena teen named McKay Hatch, then 14, launched a No Cussing Club at his junior high school. The club took off and now there are more than 100 clubs with 35,000 online members in every state in the union, according to statistics on the No Cussing Web site.

If you plan to give No Cussing  Week a try, shoot me an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and let me know how it goes. Have a great friggin week-KB.

Last Updated (Friday, 22 April 2011 19:59)


PostHeaderIcon Great Deals in Danville - Tonight Only!

Tweet me!

Find just the right something for everyone on your shopping list at the Spirit of Danville Holiday Shopping & Dining Event, Thursday, November 12 from 5 - 9 p.m. It’s the perfect opportunity to jump start your shopping while helping to support the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation (SRVEF).

Simply purchase a charity ticket for just $5 to take advantage of exceptional deals from your favorite downtown Danville, Livery and Rose Garden merchants. Hop on the trolley for easy travel between locations and follow the map to discover discounts, goodie bags, wine tasting and refreshments. One ticket is good for the entire evening and will provide each shopper with hundreds of dollars in savings.

There will be wine tasting and appetizers at many locations, such as Art on the Lane, Christe James Jewelry Works, Last Detail, Elisa Wen, Olive - Eco Boutique and more. Many restaurants are offering outstanding deals during the evening as well. Find two-for-one entrees at Luna Loca, Masala and Bridges.

Sip on a peartini at Peasant & the Pear for just $5 and enjoy $5 drinks and appetizers in the lounge at Forbes Mill in the Livery. Most shops in all three locations have fabulous deals that won’t take a dent out of your holiday shopping budget.

Pet lovers are encouraged to bring the four-legged members of the family to the second annual Paws ‘n Claus station at the Danville Livery from 6 – 9 p.m., where Santa Claus eagerly awaits having his picture taken with all of his furry friends. Please bring your own camera to take a snapshot. Every pet will leave with a special treat from Santa – whether he’s been good or bad.

The first 500 guests will receive a free commemorative Danville ornament. Be sure to purchase a raffle ticket for your chance to win a big screen TV or a Trek 7100 bike.

Youngsters can enjoy this night out too. Children ages 3 - 10 can find their holiday spirit under the supervision of trained staff. Each child will have the opportunity to make a gift, complete with gift bag and card, enjoy a light snack and watch a movie. All children must be fully potty-trained to attend (no pullups). Reservations are required. Please call 925.314.3400 to reserve a spot for your child.

Tickets for the shopping event are available at KRV (Rose Garden), G.R. Doodlebug (Livery) and Molly's Pup-Purr-ee (downtown Danville). - JF

For more information, visit www.discoverdanvilleca.com.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 12 May 2010 01:36)

More Articles...
For pictures that tell stories you won't soon forget for rejuvenation of body and mind

Follow us on: