Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

No on Nine

"Nine" arrived from Netflix today.


I should start off by declaring my love for Fellini. 8 1/2 is one of my all time favorite movies. I heard of Nine and felt immediate dread. I had no idea that it was actually a broadway musical for quite some time before. The movie is dreadful.

It's been on for fifteen minutes and I'm already wondering if it could be the worst movie I've ever seen. Nine is the number of times Fellini rolled in his grave.. during the opening number.

Daniel Day-Lewis has an utterly embarrassing Italian accent. Penelope Cruz has a better Italian accent than he does, and her Rs are still 100% latina.

I don't care how much money he poured into this piece of trash, Rob Marshall is no Fellini. He's not even Fellini's pinky.

So. 8 1/2 was a movie about a director who is out of ideas. (but is really about a lot more than just that) Nine is a remake of what 8 1/2 is about on the surface and it just piles musical numbers and blockbuster talent and ridiculous costumes on top of that without really getting into the heart and soul of Fellini's movie.

It's been on for a half hour and Judi Dench is singing. She'd doing her best, but the music is utterly insipid.

This movie started with a giant masturbatory scene with 100 women writhing around an unbathed DD-L, then had Penelope in a scene from low Rent Chicago meets Sweet Charity, so I can scarcely imagine what they'll do with Guido's dream later. I don't know if I'll actually make it that long.

The background music is so bad. Its like they asked Andrew Lloyd Weber to write something that sounded like Nina Rota outtakes.

I'm going to go weave, I can't do this without something else to keep me occupied. I'm actively ashamed of this "be italian" song and Saraghina is like my favorite character in the original movie.

Hey, but I did something!

I had a blog entry every day in November! Woo!
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The more things change.

Since, as I talked about yesterday, most of my life has been involved in trying to lose weight in one way or another. I have tried pretty much everything. Never tried a meal delivery plan or bought in to weight watchers, but that’s because of economic realities. I’m pretty smart and have been able to do research, learn about nutrition, biology, etc and interpret studies with a skeptical eye. This practice has come in handy as I have leaned more towards health and away from weight loss. Examining actual facts and figures on the results of weight loss surgery is what sent me away from considering it for myself.

This article from the NY Times starts off well, debunking the “WLS cures diabetes” thing. It turns out the results are not as good as previously reported. Longer term studies (10 years as opposed to 2) show a high rate of remission after five years, leaving the victims of the surgery with ravaged digestive systems and returned diabetes on top of it. All the horrible side effects of WLS, nutritional issues, digestive issues, inability to eat, hair loss, skin problems, psychological problems, acid problems, dumping syndrome, ulcers, hernias, and on and on, with a reduced ability to heal due to the return of the reason you had the damn surgery in the first place. And then guess what? Most of the weight you lost comes back.
This makes me sick.

That’s not good enough for this sorry assed excuse for a fat-hating world we live in. The article goes on to recommend EARLIER surgical intervention for type 2 diabetics because they have slightly better rates of remission. Over a ten year study. What about 15 years? 20 years? What about thin diabetics? What about slightly fat diabetics who don’t meet the guidelines for WLS? Where does it end?

But fat people have to keep on trying. We are expected to go to any lengths necessary to make our fat bodies not fat any more. Never mind that 95% of people who lose weight go on to regain every single pound and then some. We should keep trying! Never mind that there is a far larger rate of complications from WLS than has been made generally known, maybe we’ll be one of the lucky ones who ends up healthy afterwards. Never mind that to successfully lose a large amount of weight and keep most of it off is a full time job in and of itself. Never mind that eating disorders are at an all time high in CHILDREN because of the neverending FAT IS BAD drumbeat.

It just never ends. The hate never ends. The disdain never ends. The pressure never ends. No matter how sick we make ourselves, we just have to keep trying.

Here’s another interesting thing. The so-called OBESITY EPIDEMIC. It’s not. It hasn’t been for a long time. What small weight gains across the population there are can easily be accounted for by increases in height, smoking cessation, and increased antidepressant use.

It’s enough to make me want to bang my head on the wall forever and ever, thus ridding the world of another disgusting fatass. Sheesh.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding what I didn't know I was missing

I've always been fat. No, strike that. When I was a little kid, I was plump. Chubby. And for one brief period I was actually very thin. Staying in that place was incompatible with living, though, so I got fat again.

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Cute, huh? I think I was about 7.

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This was on a vacation when I was 9. We were in Spain. I was definitely sure I was fat then.

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6th grade confirmation. I'm the one in the long dress with the poofy sleeves. I was pretty much convinced I was the size of a house at this point.

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Here I am thin. I was 18, almost 19, and on a lot of amphetamines and not much food. I wore a size 8 and weighed 148 pounds. I had visible ribs, vertebrae, and hipbones that jutted out so far you could put a coathanger on them.

Needless to say I had issues. I fought back and forth with my weight, all the time feeling disgusting and worthless and every time gaining back more than I'd lost. This happened from probably 8, 9 years old until I was about 40. When I graduated high school, I wore a size 16. I got back into that 16 once, but not for long, and it was all part of a journey to where I landed at 40, in a size 24 to 28 depending on the cut. There was actually a period of time when I had a pair of "fat jeans" hanging on the wall in my bedroom to keep me motivated. Yes, eventually I got to where those same fat jeans were too small.

I gave up trying to lose weight and just did the best I could living day to day in a fat body, but I still hated myself and had very little self-esteem. Eventually, I decided that if people didn't like the way I looked, they didn't have to look at me, and I decided to be as fabulous as I could. Deep insecurities and hatred remained, but I pretty much hushed them up.

When I met Bob in 2002, my weight had been stable for a few years. I was relatively happy and confident. Still in the back of my mind sat the nagging thought that I should DO SOMETHING ABOUT MY WEIGHT. Despite 32 years of trying to DO SOMETHING. Despite ruining my health and metabolism and relationship with food.

I think it was around 2005 when I first found I Blame The Patriarchy, (linked on the sidebar), the blog of one Twisty Faster, a radical feminist and now one of my favorite writers and a HUGE influence on me. Her blog had a standalone forum at that time and it was there someone posted a link to Kate Harding's Shapely Prose, also on the sidebar. That link changed my life.

The post I was linked to was this one. Or maybe it was this one. Whichever it was, it led me down the road to the Fatosphere, to fat acceptance, body positivity, and Health at Every Size. Too late, but better late than never,

If you want to know more about fat acceptance, Kate's archives are a great place to start. So is this.

From there, it's easy to explore links, read, research (studies NOT funded by the six billion dollar a year diet industry) and learn.

I am a happier person. I like myself more now. I am more patient and tolerant with my body. I advocate for myself in medical, professional, and social settings. I wish I had found this when I was 25. I might not have wasted all those years hurting myself instead of embracing the potential for who I truly am. Now, since my injury back in 2008, I have mobility issues, diabetes, and peripheral neuropathy. (along with other fun stuff) If I'd started taking care of myself independent of weight back then, my health would likely be much better now.

But being where I am, I do the best I can.

For more on Fat Acceptance, here are some of my favorite fats on the internet.

Ragen

Michelle

HAES

BFB

And Melissa's excellent series on fat.

Mostly, i would encourage those new to this idea to question what you think you know. Question the conventional wisdom. Question "everybody knows". Read "the diet myth" by Paul Campos and "rethinking thin" by Gina Kolata. Open your mind and open your heart. What have you got to lose?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beef Short Ribs

Beef Short Ribs are a new thing for me. I never had any idea how to prepare them or how delicious they were until a few months ago, when I ventured into Tonic downtown, and got the poutine, made with homemade cheese sauce and braised short ribs.
Short ribs are a regular on the Penn’s Corner Farmstand meat menu so I decided to try making some. I looked at a few dozen recipes on the internet and then winged it. This is the result of my second try.

Ingredients-
Three large pieces of short rib (about three pounds)
One large onion, rough chop
Hot pickled garlic to taste
A couple of bay leaves.
1 ½ cup low salt vegetable broth
1 ½ cup red wine (chianti or burgundy)
Bag frozen mixed vegetables “for soup” (or not-regular old mixed veg works too)
Half a pound whole wheat pasta or egg noodles. (can also be served over potatoes.)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or other large, heavy saucepan, brown the short ribs on both sides. When you turn them over for the first time, add your onion and garlic, and cover.
Once you get a good sear on both sides, add the bay leaves, broth and wine. Add more water if needed to just cover the meat. Cook on medium-low heat until the meat is falling off the bones, at least three hours. (More cooking time gets more flavor out. Really, you probably can’t overcook these.)
Once it's all cooked, pull the meat out of the broth with tongs and set aside to cool. Pour the broth into a bowl or other large container and put it in the refrigerator. There is a lot of fat in short ribs and if you don’t do some kind of separation, it’ll be gross. I tried ladling it off the first time I made this and it was good but too greasy. I don’t have one of those nifty magic pour thingys that separates the grease, so chilling it works well. Make sure you don’t have any bones in the broth, but they’re hard to miss and it’s unlikely anyone would choke on one.
Once the meat is cool enough to handle, remove the bones and as much of the fat and cartilage and connective things as you can get off. Err on the side of leaving a little fat in, though, because the meat is scattered all through the fat. Put it in a container big enough to hold the meat and the broth together and put it in the refrigerator.
Now, go out for pizza.
When you get home, there will be a thick yellow layer of fat on the broth. Take it off and discard it, or save it for science experiments, or for adding to something that needs fat later. Whatever you want to do with it. Pour the remaining broth over the meat and return it to the fridge, using a larger container if necessary. Watch your favorite Drag Queen reality show if it’s on, then go to bed.
Get up in the morning and go to work. When you come home, put the meat and broth into your favorite saucier. Add the bag of frozen vegetables. Heat it up. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Cook the pasta or potatoes separately, and when everything is hot, combine and eat. Take out the bay leaves, or give a door prize to the person who finds them. Congratulate yourself for being able to come home and make an incredible dinner in less than a half hour.

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Feeds 3-6 people, depending on how hungry they are.

When I came out of work tonight, this song was playing on my google music player. It made me feel like I was in a movie or something.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Pizza with Brains

Tonight was the Mensa Pizza Night at Mineo's, the best pizza in Pittsburgh.

I spent most of the day cooking short ribs and pork roast, doing laundry, and weaving. So in lieu of actual content, I will share pizza night photos and the best cannoli ever.
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Bob and Dave catch up

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Phenomenal pizza. And Sally.

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Sally and Louise

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Vince, Linda, and some guy I don't know.

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Mineo's portrait with Michele in profile.

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Dave full of pizza, Barb and Sally.

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Michele and Tom.

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The remains, with Mariann getting a shot of the corpse simultaneously.


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The cannoli needs no introduction.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Unexpected viewpoints

Thanksgiving was, as I mentioned, mostly uneventful. One conversation did happen that made me a little sad, though.

I have this uncle who is pretty awesome. He's married to my difficult aunt, married her late when all their respective children were grown. He's been very good for her and a great addition to the family. He was a longtime family friend and I actually used to babysit for him and his ex wife back when I was a young teenager, so I've known this guy most of my life. He helped me out a lot when I was hurt, took me for doctor visits, called to check in on me etc. Generally a great guy and we all love him to bits.

As my daughter was leaving to go to work after thanksgiving dinner, someone said it was sad she had to work and I mentioned she volunteered because she needed money. I said we help her out as much as we can, but I can't really give her much in the way of pocket money and stuff. My uncle said he didn't believe in helping grown kids at all. Said it would make her overly dependent and she'd never learn to live on her own. I said she was student teaching and going to class full time and then some, and that without our help in what little ways we can help, she'd never make it. Has to put gas in the car, feed the bunnies, and so on. He said she'd figure out a way if we refused to help her. I told him I was glad my mother had never felt that way as we'd have been out on the street more than once. (to which my mother nodded assent) He said, "no you wouldn't have. You'd have figured something out. I did." referring to his single parenthood and how he struggled but managed to make it and raise his three or four kids (I always forget how many) on his own.

I thought of the homeless families I see downtown all the time. I thought of the women in shelters, in abusive situations, the trafficked women and children who had no choices and did what they had to so they could survive. I thought of all the women and children and men too who don't make it, who don't find a way. People who have been turned away from their families and ended up dead.

I was pretty stunned and muttered something about how this was probably not a good conversation to have at that particular point in time. He'd been a little combative all day for some reason, I noticed. He has a prickly, sarcastic edge at times and it's sometimes difficult to tell when he's kidding or not so I just let it go.

It was shocking, though. This person who I admire and respect and love and who has been so helpful to me and to my family over the years, it was rather blindsiding.

Have you ever been surprised and shocked by an unexpected viewpoint?



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Learning to weave

One of the things I got myself at Rhinebeck this year was an Ashford Knitter's Loom. Looms come in a mind-boggling variety of types, sizes, shapes, and costs, anywhere from a $5 potholder loom to a $10K floor loom and up. The number and variety of associated products is similarly mind boggling, as this video can attest.

It cracks me up how the warping boards get bigger and bigger.

Anyway, the Knitters Loom is small and folds up. It makes a reasonable width of fabric (24 inches) without taking up a lot of space. It's quite reasonably priced as well, and I thought it was a good place to get into more traditional weaving.

Part of my learning process is the scheme of making tea towels as holiday gifts. I have a bag of crochet cotton to use in various combinations and if I mess up, I can keep it for myself and try again.

This was the first and still is the best one.
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This was second and is too big, as well as too ambitious. The stripes are not even, either.
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The third one was mostly Anna's making, and is narrower. I think this one might be more bathroom towel.
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There was no type of pattern in the weave, but it almost looks like one in the finished fabric. A sorta-herringbone thing. We didn't do anything to it but put it through the wash.

The last one (so far) has not been washed yet. It should be a little wider, I think, and a wee bit longer, but I'm still experimenting with finding the right place to put the warping peg and where to have the loom and etc.
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They're pretty forgiving though, because hey, it's a tea towel and who cares if it's an odd size or the stripes are a little weird.

I also made a six foot long black and gold scarf that is a garbage disaster. I think I wove it too tight and the warp was uneven so it ended up all puckered on one side.

All in all I'm pretty satisfied with my progress so far. I have a few more projects in mind leading up to the holidays and we will just have to see how it goes. I'll say this much, weaving is a great stash buster.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Catch the grey men when they dive



Don't have a lot to say today.

Took the kitten to the vet for his first visit, shots, a little antibiotic for a possible upper respiratory thing, and scheduled his operation for two weeks from now. He's been lethargic ever since and I'm worried about him.

I don't understand the shopping frenzy the day after thanksgiving. It used to be a day to sit around and watch TV and eat leftovers and hang out with the family and stuff. Now people get in line at 9 pm for midnight door opening sales and lose their damn minds. There is nothing I need that badly. It makes me sad to see the overly materialistic focus, especially the day after we're supposed to be thankful for what we already have.

I've got a horrible cold. That's not helping my mood. Our Thanksgiving dinner was good. My mother made a wonderful turkey dinner and I bought the bird and did the mashed potatoes. We had less people then usual and one more than was strictly necessary-a friend of hers who is a real jerk. I think she is finally fed up with him. We had leftovers today and I have two turkeys stashed in the freezer for later in the year. I generally buy two or three around Thanksgiving because they're too expensive other times of year and we have a nice chest freezer downstairs.

Couldn't even focus to do any crafts today. I finally had it together enough to warp the loom and I did up a quick dishcloth but other than that the day was totally wasted. The scarf I was working on for about a week ended up a disaster. I don't even know what happened. I think the warp was crooked and I was weaving too tight or something because it was all puckered along one side and it's a hot mess, unacceptable for gifting. Will have to come up with something else for my cousin now. Fortunately I've got plenty of yarn and I already have another idea.

Possibly more substance tomorrow-until then, strike all the big red words from your little black book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Kitty Health at Every Size?

I'm a big proponent of the Health at Every Size concept. I believe that fat is value-neutral, and that a person's quest for fitness and health is private and individual, and they deserve to be treated as a human being whether they are healthy or not, fat or not.

What about pets, though?

We have a whole pile of pets. One dog, four cats, two bunnies. We love and cherish all of them, but Biscuit has been with us longest.

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(Biscuit has a facebook page, too, feel free to visit and "like" him.)


Anyway. Biscuit is a very fat kitty. As you can maybe tell.

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I think he started getting fat when Anna went away to college. He's her cat, she raised him from an unweaned kitten to the magnificence he is today.

biscuit 3

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It might be genetic programming, it might be a consequence of depression or separation anxiety, it might be something to do with some urinary tract problems he had as a younger cat. The main point is, this cat is fat. He's not able to clean himself completely and he's been seeming unhappy too, though that might be projection, because I'd damn sure be unhappy if I couldn't clean my ass.

A few months ago we switched to a very high quality protein dense dry food, Merrick Before Grain Tuna flavor. He did lose a little weight on that but not much. We can't do diet cat food (and I wouldn't anyway) because we have three other cats eating, none of whom would fare well on reduced calories, especially the growing kitten.

So I've decided to try to take a HAES approach to Biscuit. To increase his well-being and health as much as possible without considering his weight in and of itself a problem. I'm planning more frequent brushings, engaging with him more often, keeping an eye on his "back end" to see if he needs cleaning more than we have been. And most importantly, finding an exercise he likes and will do. That's going to be hard. He doesn't like to play.

We have two feeding stations, one upstairs and one down. The upstairs one is on a table so the dog doesn't eat it. The downstairs one is on the floor. Biscuit mostly eats from the downstairs bowl and I don't really want to move that one to a high place to make him jump, because I don't want him jumping down. I'm afraid he'll hurt himself and his delicate little feets.

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Yoga? Stretching? Flexing? He's not into catnip. He doesn't like to play with the string toys. He won't play "chase me" with the kitten or Figment, though he does like to fight with Biddy if he gets a chance. I don't want to harness him and take him for walks because he is terrified of outside and would freak out.

Chances are he is fine, just a fat, aging cat who is getting curmudgeonly in his older age. But if I can help him get better fitness, I want to do so.

Any suggestions are most welcomed! And appreciated, by all of us.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

KIP

No, not this guy.




I knit (and occasionally spin) in public. It gets some interesting comments.

A few years ago I saw my first knitter in the wild, on my regular bus. I was a little too excited and I think I scared her off because I never saw her again. Since then I’ve seen knitters and crocheters on transit periodically but I keep quiet unless they say something first.

Earlier this week, a woman told me I had a rare gift. I didn’t understand what she meant. She said being able to knit like I do is a rare gift and that I was very talented. I told her it’s really not that hard, honestly, but thank you.

The truth of the matter is that knitting is really not hard. I’m not even in the top ¾ of knitters I know in terms of skill and etc, I have never done colorwork, I hate cables, I have no interest in anything but basic shaping and lace. I’m really not that skilled or talented or whatever. I think I’m pretty good at spinning for the length of time I’ve been doing it. But again, in very specific ways. I’m not interested in making art yarn, in corespinning, In bulky yarns. I like spinning worsted or finer with a default to three ply fingering weight. At that, I am quite good. Other stuff, not so much, and truth be told, it’s way more practice than talent.

Knitting is only two stitches, knit and purl. And if you break it down, knit and purl are the same thing, just reversed. Compared to crochet, where there are a million stitches to learn, knitting is very basic.

But what you can do with those two stitches!


And that was knit on a bus! I could never. Ever. do that. I need to be at home with the ability to concentrate and have good light. I do have the pattern, though and plan to knit it, from incredibly bright pink silk that I'm spinning on a spindle. I might get the yarn done in ten years.

Anyway, the gist of it is, knitting isn't hard. It's mostly the ability to follow a pattern (or make one up as you go along) and pick the right yarn for the project. With those two simple stitches, done with loops between, more than one at a time, crossing over each other, or in all different colors, you can come up with some amazing stuff.

(For incredible colorwork and cable patterns, see Alice Starmore's designs.)

Here's some of my favorite things I've made from those two simple stitches.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I.G.Y., or nostalgia for unfulfilled promises

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Geophysical_Year




This is the fall of their discontent, those old white guys* and their allies. They were promised flying cars, they were promised gleaming, groomed suburbia, they were promised sleek lines and plush white carpets and a flying car in every carport
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2002 ... more disney mid-century modern

They were promised 9 to 5 jobs and a wife at home, raising their perfect children and keeping their perfect home in perfect condition, while she stayed perfectly compliant and perfectly slim. They were promised health, wealth, upward mobility, pipe tobacco that didn’t cause cancer and that Mad Men would end up being true.



All this modern world is just too sloppy and diverse for them. They decry anything resembling government money going to anyone who doesn’t match their narrow definition of worthy, forgetting that the prosperity of midcentury was possible largely because of the New Deal. It was possible largely because a jobs program was initiated under a very liberal Democratic administration to give work to the poor and unskilled and to help pull the country out of a depression. Midcentury American growth was at the hands of the WPA, something Romney/Ryan and their ilk would have greatly disdained. Without the New Deal and the WPA, the suburbs wouldn’t have happened, because the WPA and the New Deal brought electricity, water, and roads.


As usual, the old white guys* and their allies are nostalgic for an America that never existed. They want the America they saw on TV as kids, Beaver and Mayberry and most especially the Jetsons. They want their women like the women in Star Trek, in miniskirts and high heeled boots and even higher hair, mostly ornamental and easily exchanged. They want their minorities in the kitchen and on the trash truck and in places where they don’t have to look at them, where they are in their place, where they don’t get too… uppity. They most decidedly don’t want them in power.


But the old white guys* and their allies are the minorities now. The 99% have risen up and spoken, and voted, and made a difference. The 47% have stood up to accusations of victimhood and laziness, of waiting for handouts, and have taken their hands to the voting booth and to the blogs and to twitter and have said, it is our time. Not yours.

The all-encompassing greed of guys like Romney/Ryan and their enablers and cohorts and allies, they want time rolled back. They want a do-over. They want to take back women’s suffrage, they want to take back the civil rights act, they want to seal the borders and collect all the money and lock the doors while the hordes of the poor and less deserving wail and pound on the gates so they may feel justified in their greed and arrogance. They believe they are chosen. They believe they are superior. They have a plan and we need to SHUT UP and SIT DOWN and let them handle things. They will try to block and shoot down every attempt at a new new deal. They came right out and said, we want America to fail. Because it’s more important for us to be right, for us to be in power, than it is for people to have medicine, or food, or a place to live.

And we said no. We said Hell No. And we need to keep saying it, because the old white guys* aren’t going away. They know how to play the game, how to manipulate people, how to make people wonder, how to make promises they’ll go on to break. We have to keep telling the truth. Keep taping them when they think they’re alone. Keep speaking up about the lies. Keep telling the truth.



The old white guys* are allowed to have a voice in the country. They’re allowed to help. But they’re not in charge any more. And the sooner they learn to cooperate, the better.




*for literary license, the phrase “old white guys” is shorthand for conservative older white temporarily able bodied straight cisgender upper middle class and up Christian males and those odd women, gay men, disabled people, young people, maladjusted poor, and fundamentalists who ally with them. It goes without saying that many old white guys are actually totally awesome people committed to social justice etc but that’s not who I am talking about here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Discombobulated

Sounds like my husband and I are going out to a 70's themed dance party, but actually, it's about my general confusion to be working on a monday and how I keep forgetting tomorrow's Tuesday, not Wednesday, and why Ru Paul's Drag Race was on a night I worked, and why they're playing football. And due to all this I almost forgot my blog entry. I was literally in bed, Nook in hand, and I had this nagging thought that I Was Forgetting Something. I was. I was forgetting this.

And though this is a supremely pointless entry, the point it has is this-I said I would do this every day this month. I mean to do it every day this month. I would of course prefer to post interesting thought provoking content or at minimum pretty pictures of flowers and yarn, but all that is secondary to the point of doing it every single day.

I've mentioned my lack of dedication to projects before. My lack of motivation to practice, to keep at it. I get bored easily. I'm always ready to move on to the next thing. I am so sick and tired of this scarf I'm weaving and of the traveling socks I'm knitting. I am not sick and tired of writing daily blog entries, but if it happens, it happens. I will do it anyway, just like I'll finish that damned endless scarf and those socks that make me want to scream at the thought of another six inches of mistake rib.

Incidentally, my current read is Joseph Anton, by Salman Rushdie. It's an excellent read, all about his exile/life under protection after the fatwa declared by the ayatollah Khomeni after publication of The Satanic Verses. Rushdie is one of my favorite authors and I have bought and given away many many copies of his book Haroun and the Sea of Stories. His account of this time and his determination to survive and write during it is inspirational. Nobody is out to get me, and this is only for 30 days. His was nine years.

Here are some drag queens, for no apparent reason.
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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hooray for three day work weeks.

This week will be nice-a three day work week of shorter than usual days, followed by a five day weekend. Of course, just as all this wonderful relaxation is about to go down, I'm fighting off a cold. Started last night with scratchy throat things and I was up and down all night until I gave up and took some theraflu, then got five solid hours. I can always tell when I'm really getting sick because I can't stand the thought of drinking coffee. So I got up, made a pot of tea, and felt sorry for myself for most of the morning.

We're going to my older daughter's place to have dinner. She is a recently lapsed vegetarian so it should be interesting to see what she makes. She's a very good cook-takes after me in that regard. I'm bringing a container of my butternut squash soup (which is actually butternut-acorn-golden hubbard squash soup) to share.

I've been trying to post something substantive most days, but some days are just personal blathering, of which you've been promised a modicum. Please enjoy these pretty pictures in lieu of actual thought-provoking content.


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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fiber Arts in the Burgh

Pittsburgh is fortunate enough to have a lot of great resources for fiber artists of all kinds. As a spinner, I've watched it go from "maybe you can find some roving at one LYS if they're stocking it right now" to at least three major yarn stores featuring a variety of spinning supplies including tools, fiber, and books. Our Knit and Crochet festival attracts vendors from all over the country, featuring all kinds of fibercrafting goods. And now we have the Indie Knit and Spin Marketplace, for the second year. The show focuses on local independent fiber artists and suppliers, and associated products. I wanted to go last year but couldn't. I was happy to get the chance this year!

The marketplace is the brainchild of Cosette Cornelius-Bates, of Cosymakes. I first met Cosy about five years ago, at my very first Handmade Arcade. She was selling hats and yarns and freezing. I loved her designs and have been following her and buying her yarns and fibers ever since. I highly recommend her products, I've never been disappointed.

Anyway. The marketplace was small but what was there was fantastic. It wasn't overwhelmingly crowded either, which was nice. All in all an event I'd encourage folks to attend, in small groups, a little bit at a time so it's nicely spread out. :)

I had a small budget and managed to stay within it. (too much upcoming holiday stuff to buy to buy stuff for myself!)

I got these fun odds and ends of Cosy's falkland. LOVE this fiber-it spins like a dream.

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I thought they would play well together.

These washed locks of Debouillet from Fiddlehead Fibers were too tempting. I have never tried this fiber and I love the creamy look of the locks. Reminds me of Cheviot, which is one of my favorites.
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I couldn't turn down these fun batts from Gwen Erin. She had so much great stuff in her booth I could have blown my whole budget there and then some. Her handspun yarns were also exceptionally beautiful.
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There were lots more great vendors there and I encourage you to visit them via the links on the sidebar of the Indy Knit and Spin page.