Saturday, October 30, 2010

Use your inside voice....

Sadly, we could not make it to DC, this weekend, for the Rally to Restore Sanity.   However, we did get to watch it live, with a bunch of like minded people, at a local get together.    Over all, it could have been much better, at times it was boring, lacked relevance, and was down-right silly (Yes, I know, that's why they call it the Comedy Channel).   At other times, it was sharp, clever, and hit the cultural nail right on the head.   I am glad we got to see it and glad that I had my knitting for the slow bits.   My favorite part was John Stewart's closing speech.  I felt that this was what we had all shown up to hear:

 “I can’t control what people think this was.  I can only tell you my intentions.   This was not a rally to ridicule people of faith or people of activism or to look down our noses at the heartland or passionate argument or to suggest that times are not difficult and that we have nothing to fear.  They are and we do.  But we live now in hard times, not end times.  And we can have animus and not be enemies. 
But unfortunately one of our main tools in delineating the two broke.  The country’s 24 hour political pundit perpetual panic conflictinator did not cause our problems but it’s existence makes solving them that much harder.  The press can hold it’s magnifying up to our problems bringing them into focus, illuminating issues heretofore unseen or they can use that magnifying glass to light ants on fire and then perhaps host a week of shows on the sudden, unexpected dangerous flaming ant epidemic. 
If we amplify everything we hear nothing.  There are terrorists and racists and Stalinist and theocrats but those are titles that must be earned.  You must have the resume.  Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Partiers or real bigots and Juan Williams and Rick Sanchez is an insult, not only to those people but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate.  Just as the inability to distinguish terrorists from Muslims makes us less safe not more.  The press is our immune system.  If we overreact to everything we actually get sicker and perhaps eczema. 
And yet with that being said I feel good—strangely, calmly good.  Because the image of Americans that is reflected back to us by our political and media process is false.  It is us through a fun house mirror and not the good kind that makes you look slim in the waist and maybe taller, but the kind where you have a giant forehead and an ass shaped like a month old pumpkin and one eyeball.
So, why would we work together?  Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyball monster?  If the picture of us were true of course our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable.  Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?  We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is—on the brink of catastrophe—torn by polarizing hate and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do.  We work together to get things done every damn day!
The only place we don’t is here or on cable TV.  But Americans don’t live here or oncable TV.  Where we live our values and principles form the foundation that sustains us while we get things done not the barriers that prevent us from getting things done.  Most Americans don’t live their lives solely as Democrats, Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives.  Americans live their lives more as people that are just a little bit late for something they have to do—often something that they do not want to do—butthey do it.  Impossible things every day that are only made possible by the little reasonable compromises that we all make. 
Look on the screen this is where we are this is who we are.  (points to the Jumbotron screen which show traffic merging into a tunnel).  These cars—that’s a schoolteacher who probably thinks his taxes are too high.  He’s going to work.  There’s another car-a woman with two small kids who can’t really think about anything else right now.  There’s another car swinging I don’t even know if you can see it—the lady’s in the NRA.  She loves Oprah.  There’s another car—an investment banker, gay, also likes Oprah.  Another car’s a Latino carpenter.  Another car a fundamentalist vacuum salesman.  Atheist obstetrician.  Mormon Jay-Z fan.  But this is us.  Every one of the cars that you see is filled with individuals of strong belief and principles they hold dear—often principles and beliefs in direct opposition to their fellow travelers. 
And yet these millions of cars must somehow find a way to squeeze one by one into a mile long 30 foot wide tunnel carved underneath a might river.  Carved, by the way, by people who I’m sure had their differences.  And they do it.  Concession by conscession.  You go.  Then I’ll go.  You go then I’ll go.  You go then I’ll goOh my God, is that an NRA sticker on your car?  Is that an Obama sticker on your car? Well, that’s okay—you go and then I’ll go.
And sure, at some point there will be a selfish jerk who zips up the shoulder and cuts in at the last minute, but that individual is rare and he is scorned and not hired as an analyst. 
Because we know instinctively as a people that if we are to get through the darkness and back into the light we have to work together and the truth is, there will always be darkness.  And sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t the promised land.
Sometimes it’s just New Jersey.  But we do it anyway, together.
If you want to know why I’m here and want I want from you I can only assure you this: you have already given it to me.  You’re presence was what I wanted. 
Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder.  To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine.  Thank you." 
 - John Stewart closing speech, Rally to Restore Sanity, Oct. 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Roly Poly Owl Amigurumi

Roly Poly Owl Amigurumi

Check out my very first amigurumi.   I am so please with how it turned out.  It is quite a bit more pink in person (It is, after all, October.).   The pattern is from KnitPicks.  It was well written and very easy to follow.  I used Sugar & Cream and a #7 crochet hook.   I will probably make at least one more in pinks before I move on to blue or maybe brown.   I love the look of variegated on the bottom with a solid on top, so will probably stick with that.

In other news, I have started adding YouTube links in my side bar.  Between the TKGA Basics class that I am taking and a particularly complicated knitted Xmas present, I have found these technique videos invaluable.    I am also going to add some basic knitting videos, as I come across ones that I like.   I get a lot of inquiries  when I am KIPing.   I would like to be able to refer some of those to my blog.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flowers from Hubby

Look what hubby gave me, yesterday, just because "I saw them and thought you would like them".   Is he a keeper or what?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gentleman's Scarf +/- 20 lbs

Behold the "Gentleman's Scarf" (Knitted Gifts by Ann Budd).    From the my first look, I wanted to make this scarf.   It just cries out for a well dressed man on his way to the theater.   Alas, I live in Florida and neither my hubby nor my sons would wear this well.    So, imagine, my delighted surprise when I met my mother's friend (not allowed to refer to him as "boy", or "gentleman", friend).    I do like him, though, quite a lot.   He is just lovely with my mother and I really appreciate his help and kindness.
Who better to receive the one Xmas gift that I will knit this year?

Choosing the yarn has been a trial.   I had hoped to find enough Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a manly color but had no luck (I still think it is the perfect yarn for this scarf).    I did find some luscious admiralty blue Zara.  Loved the color, loved the feel, hated the gauge (for this project).  Thinking  I should have stuck to my original plan of using a fingering wt.  (The called for yarn is sport but I just can't imagine knitting tight enough to get 10spi), I found a gorgeous brown variegated Aslan Trends sock yarn .   I did worry that it would not show the pattern well but talked myself into buying it anyway (fell in love with the subdued, elegant, color).  However, after 24 rows (2 pattern repeats) it became glaringly obvious that the yarn was not going to show the pattern to its best advantage.

At this point I had already spent quite a bit on yarn that was not going to get the job done.   Back to my stash I went.   This time I decided to give this handspun, undyed alpaca a try.   Just 12 rows into the pattern, I can see that this is going to be much better.   The yarn is just a bit fuzzy but still seems to show the zig zags and cables well.   Finally, I am on my way.

In non-knitting news, I hit a weight lose of 20#'s yesterday.   I was so excited that I checked again today to be sure they were still gone.   Not to sound too "Mary Sunshine" but I really do think this diabetes thing might be a blessing in disguise.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Next Thing on My List....

My visit to NJ to see my mom was wonderful.    I loved spending time with my mom, and  friends.    As much as I love living in FL, I do miss my mother and friends.   My mom  very generously surprised us by offering her car to T1.    He is deliriously happy and we are all very appreciative.    Driving her/his car home to FL was the sensible thing to do.   After all, I used to make that same drive at least once a year when we lived up there and I would come down here to visit my brother.   However, a cold (ironically enough, caught from T1 before I left), a lovely but unfamiliar car, and wretched weather, combined to make the drive long and difficult.    By the time I made it home (after two nights on the road), I was ill with exhaustion.    All I wanted to do was snuggle in bed with a good book to read between naps.

Wisely, I think, I used that time to read the October books for my two book groups.   For the 1st Monday group, I read "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See.   Reading the back, I did not think I would like it but I did.   It is about two sisters who go from a priviledged Shanghai life to being little more than mail order brides in 40/50's era California.   It was pretty compelling reading.   In fact, the story caught me up so thoughly that I absolutely hated the ending.   I want more!

The 3rd Thursday group is reading "The Next Thing on My List" by Jill Smolinski.   This one I loved.   It is about a woman (June) who feels responsible for a young woman's death.   To make amends, she decides to finish the dead girls "Thing I want to do before I am 25 years old" list.   I know it sounds just too cute and predictable but I found it to be much less so than expected.    Not one thing that this woman does goes according to plan (I feeling I am all to familiar with).  She is forced to come out of her comfort zone to accomplish even the easy tasks (some are less easy than others).   I loved this book if for not other reason than it did not end the way I expected it to.   For me, this was a quick but satisfying read.

As it is October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), I am knitting all pink, all the time.   More on that later.