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NEIGHBORS / SHORT TAKES : In Living Color : An Ojai artist raises chickens to get just the hue of eggs she needs before decorating them. She offers classes this weekend.


Ojai egg artist Bernadette DiPietro doesn't take any chances with retailers. She gets her art supplies straight from the manufacturer.

"I raise my own chickens," she said.

This allows her to select her own eggs. "I choose for shape, size and color. Some lay real round eggs; some lay oblong eggs," she said. "Once you get into this, you start looking at eggs differently. It becomes a whole other world."

DiPietro said some of her chickens lay green eggs, some lay brown eggs, some beige eggs, and others yellow eggs. "So when I start off with a chicken egg," she said, "I can start with the color that's already there."


Egg Extra: On Saturday and Sunday, DiPietro will lead classes in Ojai on "Ukrainian Egg Decoration." This is her 17th year teaching the nearly 2,000-year-old art form in California and Hawaii.

Traditional Ukrainian egg art is characterized by geometric design, but DiPietro said her classes wander off that path just a little.

"Every year, I do a different technique, a different motif on the egg," she said. "One year, I did a Chumash design, one year I did an African design, one year I did Australian aborigine dream time."

And then there was the year that DiPietro paid homage to the New Wave movement with a Huevos New Wavos theme. This year, it will be a Southwest motif. If you're interested, call 646-2539.


If you attended the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Ventura on Saturday, you may not have noticed anything unusual about health nut Gypsy Boots. But a week earlier, he was not all that healthy.

The 82-year-old Camarillo resident was on crutches, after twisting and spraining his left foot while walking (and standing on his head every once in awhile) in the Los Angeles Marathon a couple of weeks ago.

"It's another first for Gypsy Boots," Boots said. "I've been playing tennis, football, climbing mountains all my life. This never happened to me."

Boots said he suffered the injury at about the 13-mile mark of the marathon. He blames the sprain on his footwear. "I had on basketball shoes," he said. "I did better last year in Birkenstocks."


Do you resemble your dog?

If so, we'd first like to offer our sympathies. Then we'd like to suggest that the two of you enter the look-alike contest Saturday at the "Just for Fun Dog Show" at Lincoln Oaks Village shopping center in Thousand Oaks.

"We have one gentleman who has a Doberman that he's going to dress in a shirt and tie," said Meg Lauren, manager of the Petco animal supply store, the event's sponsor. "He's an executive type." (We think she was referring to the gentleman.)

Along with the look-alike contest, there will be a pet trick competition, an obedience contest and a costume contest. Lauren said to expect the usual poodles in tutus.

And just to clarify, this contest is only for owners and their dogs.

"I'm afraid if we got cats out there, we might have a riot," Lauren said. So no feline protesters, please.

The day's events will begin at 11 a.m. and sign-ups will be taken until 15 minutes before the judging of each contest.

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