winter

winter

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well, this is challenging.

Yesterday, my Mother-In-Law visited. She brought over a big box of blocks for the boy's first birthday (they were out of town the day of the party) and a bag of stuff for me. She was just as excited over what she brought me as she was over what she brought the baby. So, of course, I had to open it up. Inside I found that she had brought over more wool for me to spin and two absolutely beautiful small hand-spindles. There also was a book on spinning and knitting with handspun fiber.

She showed me how to card the white corriedale wool she brought me. She then showed me how to use the bottom whorl drop spindle. I've been learning on a top whorl drop spindle that is heavier then both of these little beauties put together. I've learned something important. The smaller the spindle, the faster it spins and the finer you can spin your fiber. I've also learned that bottom whorl drop spindles are difficult to start and a little more labor intensive then the top whorl version.

That said, I'm going to put in a good amount of effort to learn how to use both of these, as the faster these things spin the more challenging it is to get nice smooth yarn from them. I'm delighted to say that with some of my first efforts, I've managed to make well... thread with this. It gives me great hope that I'll eventually be making my own embroidery floss with this! It's not as smooth as what I was doing on the larger top whorl spindle, but it's still quite thrilling. I've spun a bit on each of my new spindles. I'm debating using the larger spindle to ply (twist together) the material. I think it is strong enough to hold the larger spindle's weight.

And I have to say, Corriedale wool is so increidlby soft! It'll make some very, very nice little clothes for the boy. I'm thinking I may use some of my handspun wool to make a pair of booties for my cousin's little girl who'll be born early next year. I'm absolutely delighted with the progress I'm making learning how to do this stuff, in case you can't tell.

I've also set to work on a lovely surprise for my Father. Each time I learned to do something new with handcrafts, I'd been giving samples of it to my Mother. I've decided that this year, I'm going to give Dad a scarf made from the wool that I've spun. I may not have enough to make it entirely from this, but it's alright because I know that even if there's just a panel of a scarf made with it, it'll be appreciated and a pleasant surprise.

The other fiber arts related challenge I'm facing right now is trying to figure out how to use this Knifty Knitter that I bought almost a month ago. My plan is to use it to make hats and scarves for each of my neices. I'm thinking this will be a fun project to work on and it goes incredibly fast. I've made two hats already, though they're not quite the size I needed them to be. I'm going to buy some commercially made yarn for that to accent the blue that I have kicking around from the sweater project that never happened.

Next year, I'll make my husband his knitted sweater. I just haven't gotten enough of this stuff figured out how to do it yet. I think by this time next year, I'll be most of the way done with a sweater for him and possibly even a few other projects too!

Edited to Add: I'll try to post up in the next few weeks some pictures of me spinning, what I've got to work with, and what I've made so far!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A little more politics.

So, I made the mistake of watching the first of the Presidential Debates last night. Before I launch into my rant on the substance of that debacle, I've got to first say one thing:

Why the hell do they call it a debate?

I understand that they could claim the two candidates 'debated' the issues brought up but I highly doubt that you can honestly say it was a real debate. It was closer to two children standing out in the street screaming about who's daddy is bigger then two grown men engaging in a debate regarding important issues facing the nation today. And the claims that this was a 'very polite' debate? Those were just as laughable as the concept that this was supposed to be a debate. I'm sorry but polite does not mean interrupting or speaking over the person you're having a discussion with. It doesn't mean being condescending or patronizing to the other person either. And it doesn't mean lobbing veiled insults either. Unfortunately, both of the candidates engaged in that, which just served to lower my opinion of them. I had hoped that both of these respected politicians would engage in civil discourse on the matters that were presented. They failed, however, and have only served to prove that politicians are opportunistic slugs and ego maniacs.

Now, on to the stuff that came spewing out the mouths of these fine men. For the most part, I found it irritating that neither candidate really put any effort into answering the questions posited. Barack Obama did attempt to answer one, but he gave a very... poor answer. If you're going to say that you can't comment on a bill that doesn't exist or that you haven't reviewed, then just say it that directly. Don't beat around the bush and try to mangle the answer into some mismash of rhetoric and your philosophical musings. It's irritating and intellectually dishonest. The American people are not populated with a pack of dimwits (please, Goddess, be kind and let that be true).

It was repulsive how much time each candidate spend posturing and holding forth on how unqualified the other was. I was thinking that maybe, just maybe we'd get to hear the answers to the questions asked and that we'd see a real debate. Instead, we saw them using their few minutes apeice on a given topic to pose and poke at each other. It almost makes me think they don't know what a debate is. Now, I will say, John McCain did seem to go out of his way to initiate the verbal attacks but he didn't exactly appear to desire to answer the questions.

It was actually rather laughable how neither man seemed to have any answers as to how they'd adjust their plans for spending in the wake of what ever bail out package is passed. It's also rather disappointing to see them jump right into back biting, bickering, and general bitching as to who is going to waste more money. It wasn't addressing how they planned to save money during their future administration but how the other guy was going to spend it during his future administration! Yeah, I wasn't impressed in the least with that bullshit. I pretty much did my best to ignore the debate when it got really full of that kind of blustering.

My attention got ripped away back to it, however, when McCain was implying that it may be necessary to engage in military action with Iran. I felt a little ill when that started. I just felt increasingly in shock and horror as this line of talk expanded between both of the candidates. I think the thing that just left me in absolute disgust and briefly unable to speak was when Obama said that military action should be engaged with Pakistan.

I'm sorry, but the man who's campaign has been centered around the fact that he voted against the Iraq war has just made an absolute hypocrite of himself beyond repair. I was going to vote for him until he started talking about continuing the Bush Doctrine and spreading the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan. I'm sorry, last I checked Pakistan was a soverign nation and an ally of the United States! Once I heard those words out of his mouth, quite frankly, I realized that he's no different then McCain, Bush, or anyone else in the national government right now.

They all want to be petty dictators under the guise of being freely elected Presidents. Why has the petty dictatorships around the world been tolerated by the USA? Because we want to be just like them! Why else have things like the Patriot Act been passed? It's not for national security! It's to turn the free citizens of the United States in to subjects!

I haven't the words for how disgusted and horrified I am by both of these candidates. Sure, they may say that they weren't advocating continuing these wars abroad, but they sure as hell were making that loud and clear. Nothing can wash away the stain on the hands of these men. They have acted in collusion with the sitting President of the United States, as have damn near, if not everyone in Congress and the Justice Department, to engage in treason and high crimes against the United States of America.

Forget the war on terror, people, we've got a hell of alot more fish to fry and they're alot bigger then Osama Bin Laden!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Struggling.

Yeah, I guess that's the word for it right now. I finally cried. That was last night.

I'm torn between deep anger at how the doctors blew off Rose's concerns and those of her husband and just ... wordlessly deep grief.

So many years of friendship on this green earth that were waiting are gone.
Making up for missing the wedding by throwing the baby shower... that'll never happen now.

So many other things that I had hoped for and looked forward to seeing, like going to the big 50th wedding anniversary party for them...

It hurts to realize just how many things you hoped to see and it may hurt as much as realizing how much you didn't say because you got in your own way.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm officially disturbed by this.



If you had seen these on the Today show, you probably were wondering 'what the hell?' or something else along those lines.

Yeah, this is yoinked from the web and this is the news article it is from. Don't anyone jump down my throat for not attributing this, because the link back *is* my giving credit where it is due. I also must warn that I am about to launch into a vulgarity laden rant about this concept.

Now, maybe it is just me, but I think there is something very wrong with trying to dress small children like adults, specifically when one takes clothing designs intended to make the wearer sexually appealing and translate it into supposedly 'kid-friendly' fashions. These idiotic high heels for infants (oh, and they're not meant for walking, as the heel collapses with weight applied) are but the latest wave in a trend that has included (among other horrors) string bikinis for toddlers, bikini waxing for 8 year old girls, and making teen and pre-teen girls dress like either cheap prostitutes or poorly paid porn stars (Don't believe me? Click here and here for examples. There's alot more out there on the web!).

Look, I don't have a problem with kids wanting to get dressed up and look kinda like the adults around them. There's nothing wrong with that. It's fairly natural. Children want to imitate the adults around them as imitation is part of learning about how to be an adult. But I've got a huge problem with:
  1. Turning children into sex objects: Dressing little kids in 'sexy' fashions is just that. It's the visual version of pimping your children out to pedophiles. This makes them more of a target!

  2. Borderline sexual abuse for the sake of conventional fashion wisdom: Most 8 yr old have no pubic hair! Waxing is applying hot wax to the skin, putting pelin papers on the wax, and ripping the paper and hair off after the wax has cooled. The bikini area is very sensitive and it willfor the first time. Now, it may sound like I'm biased here and I may be talking out my ass, but I'm not. It hurt like a bitch when I had my legs waxed for the first time last summer. I didn't have a bikini wax, I don't think I'm ever going to because I know how sensitive that region of my body is and I know it'll hurt worse then having my legs waxed.
  3. Encouraging the negative self-esteem issues with these treatments: Look, people, acne happens. It's actually a fairly natural part of puberty. Hormones change your body chemistry and it's reflected in all sorts of ways, including an increase in acne. Children do not need dermabrasion to reveal youthful looking skin underneath. Dermabrasion is using a fine grit paste to scrape layers of skin off your face! Most adults do it to try to get down to the layers of skin that have more moisture in them and thus look younger. Taking those top layers of skin off removes part of a protective barrier between you and the rest of the world. It can make acne worse. If done too much, it will damage your skin. What the hell are you doing to your kids if you teach them:

    * Your skin is not attractive the way it is because you have acne.
    * Acne, blemishes, and large pores are ugly and need corrected.
    * Your skin is not attractive because it is too dry/oily.
    * Your skin is not attractive because it is not tanned.
    * Your face is not attractive because it is not evenly toned.
    * Your face is not attractive the way it is because your eyebrows are not perfect.

    I see a pattern emerging here, do you?
Seriously, what the hell are you parents who go out and try to dress your children like the women on the runway thinking? Yeah, I am judging you. And I don't give a good goddamn if I get flamed for this. I've been on the receiving end of that kinda treatment. Let me tell you, it made my teen years even more of a hell that I'm struggling to recover from and I'm just a few months shy of 30.

You tell your kids that their face/figure/hair color/teeth are not attractive, you are telling them that they are ugly. You are telling them that they are not deserving of affection and that they are not going to be accepted. Seriously, it makes me sick to my stomach to see this as a growing cultural trend and it's got to stop. I don't know what the hell you people are thinking. It's one thing to say, "Honey, that's not your most flattering look. Try this color blouse instead, it will do a better job of bringing out XYZ feature that you were trying for with this." or "Sweetheart, you really need to wash your face more often because it'll keep it healthier."

But to tell teach them to hate things about themselves that they can not change at such a young age? That's beyond vile. I haven't the words to express my disgust and contempt for parents who treat their children like that. You are abusing your children. Oh, you may not be hitting them or hurting them in some physical fashion. But you are hurting them psychologically and emotionally, and that is wrong. Just because you don't like the color of their hair, the fact that they get acne, or even the color of their eyes, doesn't give you grounds to be critical about it. And that's what this is. It makes you no better then the other kids at school who harass them. It actually makes you worse because your children trust you and expect you not to engage in this kind of behavior.

Now, there are some things that are a bit of a rite of passage. Teaching the teenage girl how to apply make up (if she's interested), explaining to her the basics of feminine hygiene, and how to put together outfits that are flattering to her appearance is a basic part of growing up which is needed for the girl to transition into womanhood. Teaching the teenage boy how to dress in a fashion which is flattering to his appearance and the basics of masculine hygiene are also a basic part of growing up for a boy and helps him to transition into manhood. But this is obscene.

Yes, teach your teen how to take care of their skin. Teach your teen how to dress in a way that plays up the features they believe are their best. Teach them how to cope with the hormonal changes and physical changes that comes with puberty. Don't engage in this soul destroying bullshit that's so popular with the 'in crowd' right now.

We're adults. We're supposed to be beyond this high-school bullshit. Participating in putting our children thru it is reprehensible and each adult and parent who participates should be deeply ashamed of themselves. It's our job to teach them how to value themselves because of their intrinsic value. When self-esteem becomes focused upon external things, the person in question is hurt and will continue to be hurt as life sweeps things away.

Don't do that to your kids, for the love of anything sacred, for the love of your children.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A little politics.

So, who else out there in the Interwebz has seen this? You may have even heard it in the news today. Apparently, our fearless leader (or as some folks have called him the Prezitator) approved an act of war towards one of our allies and attempted to keep it hush-hush. Oh, wait, that's what sending special forces troops across the border of another soverign nation to engage in sorties with a force that's been engaging you in the area where you're conducting a war, Mr. President?

Please, tell me what the hell it is then? Because, even a country hick like myself can tell you that such things isn't anything even remotely like good international relations. And I don't know a damn thing about foregin politics or anything else like that. And you know what makes this even better, it casts some real doubt on those denials by the President and everybody else in the Executive Branch of our government's that there was any incursions across the Iraq-Iran border.

Seriously, I'm convinced the only reason why Pakistan hasn't declared war on the USA is because they are too strapped for the cash and resources to do so. Maybe it's just me, but this kinda shit is insane. It's just made all the more vulgar and disgusting with it being hilighted today, on the anniversary date of the terrorist attacks. Why? Well, it's fairly simple:

It appears to justify those attacks in the eyes of people around the world who have some kind of an argument with the USA.

But, who cares about that? Right? After all, he's a Lame Duck President and he can't do shit about shit, right?

If you truly believe the above statement, I've got a bridge to sell you.

As the President continues this bullshit, it's clear that he needs to be impeached. In my opinion, I would also argue that he and the other decision makers at the top level of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States of America should additionally be tried for treason. After all, he has actively worked to deprive us of our rights to due process, our freedom of speech, and several other basic rights that are vital to the health and continued wellbeing of this nation.

Thoughts.

Rose is dead. She died in her sleep night before last. It pains me to think of it because I'm not feeling like my heart has been torn from my chest. Stargazer suggested to me when we talked on the phone yesterday that perhaps it's just a matter of being in shock. I honestly don't know.

It's so hard to remember that she's dead. I keep thinking that I've got this or that e-mail to send her, X fabric to show her, and such.

And then, we have the fanfare and ritualized/staged national mourning of '9/11'. I've had the TV off all day and the radio too. I just didn't want to listen to any of it. It makes me sick to see it.

It doesn't feel like it's been 7 years.

At the same time, I can't help but feel horror and disgust at the fact that we're engaged in military action in Iraq. Those people had nothing to do with the events on that day aside from the fact that they claim to practice the same religion. Even that is subject to debate.

It troubles me even more when I know that publicly voicing these opinions off of the internet would earn me a rather unpleasant set of circumstances.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Update

Hey there!

The last few weeks have been busy and rather exhausting. The boy's first birthday party went fantastically well. We really lucked out on the weather. It was a beautiful day (though a tad too humid for my comfort) and nearly everybody made it to the party. It was a really fantastic surprise to have our friends from Buffalo drive out for the party.

Those of you who happen to read my blog here that made it to the party, THANK YOU!! I will be posting pictures up here soon. As I don't know how to get them off of the camera, that'll be done by my dear and darling husband in the immediate future. (The memory card is getting full, so he can't really procrastinate now!)

The boy is getting bigger everyday it seems. He's decided that he wants to crawl now. Those little hands slap incredibly fast on the floor when he decides that he wants to scurry across the room to get into mischief. We also seem to be going thru more laundry of late, but it could be that it's due to my son putting in extra effort on feeding himself. We've graduated to sippy-cups, but we're now back to bottles.

Apparently, bottles are much easier when teeth are trying to come in. The little man is now in his "big kid" car seat. It makes getting ready to drive some where *so* much easier. As a result of this, he now sits in the seat of the shopping carts and it's been an interesting time when we go to the grocery store. He is starting to discover that if he reaches out, some times he can actually reach the items on the shelves. He is also discovering that Momma doesn't put up with that either.

I suppose it's been almost a week now... I'm not entirely sure. He has been just eating like crazy. I think it's because he's going thru a growth spurt. Fortunately, however, he has not been half as cranky as he was a few days before his birthday. Nap times and keeping him on schedual, however, has not gone that well. The birthday party and visiting family have combined to completely throw off the daily schedual. So, the next little while is going to be interesting.

I think I'm going to change things a little bit while I get him back on a schedual. I think I'll be changing when we get up. I've been waking up at about 6:30 am again on an almost daily basis of late. I think I'll just accept this fact and start getting the boy up at about 7:00. It may make the morning routine a little easier. And, who knows, maybe he will actually cooperate and take his nap at naptime. I'd add more right now but it's time for lunch.