Monday, March 24, 2008

Lots of Thoughts and Not Much Cohesion

I spend every Saturday night tinking or frogging my shawl. I am sick of re-knitting the same rows over again on Sunday. Oddly, I can knit all week and not have any issues and then whatever I knit on Saturday morning or afternoon is wrong. WTF is up with that? I will never finish the shawl at this rate. I feel like I should be done with this shawl by now. Sigh. I sort of would like to just cast on something else, you know just to take the edge off, but that is not the solution. I need to finish this project and then finish another project I have started. I am trying very hard to stay on course so I can get rid of some of my WIPs.

Yesterday was Easter. We did not leave the house. My lovely husband made pecan pancakes for breakfast, mmm; they are one of my favorites. On Friday, it snowed, actually, it pretty much snowed all weekend, but most of it came then. Overall, we received about 7” at my house. It was beautiful. On Saturday we were out and about and the trees were all coated in snow. It will be probably all be gone by the end of this week since they are predicting highs in the 40s all week. Ahhh March.

I recently watched “Gone, Baby, Gone” on DVD. My husband did not want to see it, so I watched it by myself. It was good, but it left me with thoughts in my head that I have to express. Since my hubby did not see it, I can not discuss it with him, so you my dear readers are going to be stuck with my random ramblings. I will be discussing the whole movie, so if you have not seen the movie and do not want to know how it ends, stop reading here. SPOILERS AHEAD! You have been warned.

The movie focuses on a young girl who is kidnapped and the girl’s aunt hires a local P.I. to help find her. The mother is a questionable sort… one character calls her “a crack whore”. She is a drug mule and her and her boyfriend steal money from the drug dealer she hauls for. Her brother finds out and works with some cops to kidnap the girl and frame the drug dealer for it. They make it look like the drug dealer took the kid for revenge and then killed her during the exchange for the money. The drug dealer died as well. The P.I. figures it out and discovers the cop who headed up the task force has the girl. The cop tells the P.I. that the girl is better off with him and his wife and he should not tell anyone what happened. The P.I. states that no matter how many desserts and road trips they give the girl, they are not her parents and it is not their place to decide they are. Plus, he says he does not want a grown woman coming to him and asking him how he could let her stay with people who were not her parents. So, he does call the police and everyone goes to jail, the girl goes back to her mother and the P.I.’s girlfriend dumps him. Perhaps not the happiest ending ever, but somehow appropriate.
Now, this brings up the issue of what is best for children. Would this kid have been better off living with a stable family who love her and dotes on her? Yeah, every kid deserves that, but they deserve it from their parents. If the parents can not provide this, then the system should work so the kid is put in a home that would provide this so the child can say goodbye to their parent. This is not how it always works out of course. I know from experience that it is nearly impossible to get children out of a bad home. But kidnapping a child is never the right thing to do. Eventually, the child will question where they came from. They will want stories of their birth, their infancy etc. How do you deal with birth certificates? Eventually, all children grow up and they need to know who they are. When they figure it out, they will be lost.
This issue was brought up again today when I was listening to the “This American Life” podcast. It was a program called “The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar”. It was very interesting and I highly recommend everyone go onto Itunes and give it a listen. It was about a woman who decided to look into the kidnapping of her grandfather Bobby Dunbar, which occurred when he was 4 years old. He was recovered 8 months later. The “kidnapper” said the kid was not Bobby Dunbar, but rather he belonged to another gal named Julia who had not seen her son in over a year. Neither one of the women who claimed to be the boy’s mother could really id the kid as their child at 1st and the court decided that the boy was the Dunbar boy and that is where he went. This is long before DNA testing existed and the Dunbar’s were a good solid family and Julia was a single mother whose boy was born out of wedlock and who worked as a field hand. So the boy really went to the “better” home.
As the woman kept digging in the past, she talked to the family of Julia and of the “kidnapper”. All of which had different versions of the same story. Eventually, it began to look like perhaps her grandfather had not been Bobby Dunbar. Finally, there were DNA tests done and sure enough, he had been Julia’s son and he had been sent to the wrong home. Now, on the surface, I am sure he went to the better home, but there were repercussions to the decision and the Dunbar’s eventually split up. And the kid himself thought something was askew.
Today, the woman who opened this can of worms was shut out by her family because they did not want to know they were not Dunbar’s. It is fascinating how much we put in to who we are by who we are related to. So at the end of “Gone, Baby, Gone” even though most people would want the kid to be with the better family, you need to step back and think how you feel if you discovered your grandmother had been kidnapped and you did not know who you were really related to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow

Last night we received a couple of inches of snow, thick, wet snow. Here is a photo for proof.
I took it in the bank parking lot because it was too dark at my house this morning. The trees are all coated this morning and it looks like a winter wonderland. Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we often get snow in March. It used to be that we would get big snow storms (7-8 in), but now, it is like 2 or 3 inches at a time. It makes me very sad. On Sunday, I was sorting through some boxes and came across a photo of my youth. My little sister and I were sledding down a snow drift in my grandparent’s yard. It was huge. Today, we do not get drifts like that here. Sigh. This is part of the reason I am thinking of moving. I need to go somewhere that still gets snow in the winter, lots of snow. I think some lake effect snow will do.
I was reading in the paper, on Sunday it think, an article written by some guy in D.C. Sorry I am being so vague, but I was not paying much attention. Any who. This guy was talking about how the weather center somewhere had declared that winter started December 1st and went to February 28th (or 29th) and spring started March 1st. I did not really read much after this because I thought, what a bunch of horse hockey. Here in MN, we will get snow and cold usually starting in November and we can get snow as late as April (which is very cruel when the robins have already arrived, they look so confused). Now I am thinking I a far southern state like Texas or Arizona winter, such as it is, really only lasts a couple of months and a northern state like MN or Maine, it would last more than 3 months. I just thought it was really arrogant for any one to declare March 1st as Spring. Crap, sometimes people really bother me.
This morning it was slushy coming in to work and I seem to have a small hole in my one shoe as my socks got wet. I was walking in wishing I was wearing my wool socks so it would not be so uncomfortable. I should knit more socks, but I really do not love knitting socks. What I need to do is find someone who LOVES knitting socks and I can trade like hats and mittens for socks or something.
It is funny that sometimes I knit something and I just love doing it and other things I just do not care for. It does not seem to be based on being more complicated or more interesting. I would rather knit 10 stockinet hats than one pair of socks and I only wear anklets. It is quite fascinating to me. I know people who all they knit are socks or sweaters or whatever. Is there something in people that makes them say, “I am good at X so that is all I will knit.”? I am in a little knitting group at work and when I remind some of the newer knitters that I have only been knitting a couple of years, they are all like, yeah but that must be all you do, you are so good and you do such complicated things. Now, I do not think I do anything terribly complicated. I have done some simple lace; I have not even touched the more complex lace patterns I have mooned over since I discovered lace knitting. I think the most complicated thing I have attempted is the stranded knitting and even then, it was just hats and it is far easier than it looks. And again, its not like I am doing a Bohus sweater or something, In fact, I can not seem to knit a sweater. I turned the Sweater of Doom into a vest rather than bother with the sleeves. So I still feel like a beginner, just one that is a little more adventurous than others. For example, I spent my Saturday night tinking two rows of my shawl, because for some reason I knit row 7 instead of row 5 and did not discover this until I went to knit row 7 and thought, mmmm I already knit this row. I even kept checking back while knitting the wrong row. Of course, I had not done a life line because the knitting was going so well. Lol.
I have Guild tonight and I am very excited. I have not been to a meeting since November and I really am looking forward to a night out on my own. Of course, I always have to worry about what to bring to knit on. I would like to bring my shawl because it is a little more impressive and I would like to get it done this week. However, it is fiddly and I do not want to screw it up because I am not paying enough attention. I am also working on some baby sock to go with the hat I knit, so those might be good because they are not as complex. I am doing the after thought heel on the one I have made and then I will cast on for sock #2. I also think we are turning in stuff for the charity of the quarter so I will need to remember my hats I have made. Not the baby one, because I want to do the socks to go with it, but I have 3 others I can give. I always seem to forget my stuff when I go. Tonight though I have a ton of stuff I need to remember: my hats, the Yarnover vendor forms, the returned mail from Yarnover vendors, my knitting. Uff da, it is going to be a busy night when I get home.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lost in Time … and Lost in Space … and Meaning

Today I am in a Rocky Horror mood, hence the title, and I am going to discuss Lost. Plus, there will be photos of knitting!
So I believe all of the Oceanic 6 have been revealed: Jack, Kate, Hurley, Aaron, Sayid, and Sun. So I am declaring myself right on my guess a few weeks ago. Even though I was counting Aaron and Claire as one unit. The 2 survivors who “died” on the island which Jack mentioned in his testimony at Kate’s trial are Jin and Claire. 8 make it to the boat and 2 die there and they have to explain away the dead bodies. WTF was up with no one trying to stop Regina from jumping off the ship? That was too bizarre. How many of the crew have ended their lives on this boat that they can not even be bothered to notice? And if it continues, is it any wonder that only 6 people “survive”? Michael is Ben’s man on the boat… no surprise there, I think everyone knew it was coming. Where is Walt? Probably being held hostage somewhere. Michael may not be the father of the year, but he does seem to know that he is responsible for Walt and would do what it takes to save him.
Now, let’s discuss Ben a little. I think he is working for Hanso. I know that there is some idea that Ben is the end of everything, but I know Hanso has something to do with this whole thing. The Dharma Initiative might have become a security risk and Hanso ordered Ben to join up with the Hostiles in order to save the island. My crackpot theory is that Ben and Alvar Hanso are twins. I realize that this makes absolutely no sense, but I like it anyway. I think Hanso and Widmore are rivals and they both want control of the island. Why, because they are old men and they want it for it’s fountain of youth properties.
Time issues: I have been thinking about this and I am not sure that I have a good grasp of it, but I am going to make a guess anyway. What if time on the island actually is accelerated, not slower, but since there are healing properties on the island it seems like it is slower? So one day in the real world is like 3 on the island. So if the Losties think they have been on the island for 90 days, in real time it has only been 30. Here is my reasoning. It seems like time on the boat is different than time on the island. Also, when Juliet showed up on the island, there was that scene where they showed her a x-ray of a woman’s womb and she thought it was an old lady’s and they told her the woman was in her twenties. So when the Oceanic 6 are rescued, the world thinks they have been gone for a shorter period of time then the 6 think. This would explain why Aaron is one of the 6 because the world thinks he was born before getting on the plane and he would not have been on the manifest since you do not have to buy a seat for a baby. It would explain the death date on Jin’s tombstone. It would explain the fertility issues on the island. Just a guess, who knows what the truth will be.

On to knitting:
I have been working on the Wool Peddler’s Shawl from Folk Shawls. I have just started the lace part last night. I am enjoying the knitting, but I think next time I knit this I will use a heavier weight yarn so it will be a little bigger. I am worried it is going to be too small for my large frame. Regardless, here is a picture of the shawl in progress. It is actually a deeper red than what my camera captured, more of a beet red.

Here is a photo of a couple of hats I made recently for charity, one baby hat out of sock yarn and one toddler hat out of some Japanese yarn.

And lastly, here is a photo of Vickie Powell’s Kick Ass-cot I made out of Twize. I have wore it to work a couple of times and I really enjoy it. It makes me feel like Fred from Scooby Doo.

Monday, March 10, 2008

In Order To Form A More Perfect Union...

I know I promised photos in this edition, but I have not had time to take them, much less down load them to the computer, so again, it will be photo free today. However, I wanted to talk about the big excitement I had over the weekend. I was a delegate at the district level DFL senatorial conference. Okay, that is not the official title, but I can’t remember it and I am too lazy to look it up. I was part of the political process. Since I was trained in history, I would like to diverge here for you folks who are not from the fine state of Minnesota to explain why our Democratic party had extra letters in the abbreviation. The FL stands for the Farmer-Labor party. What, you ask, is a Farmer-Labor party? Well, my little ones let me tell you… Minnesota has always been known for some pretty serious and somewhat radical politics and back in the 1920s, the farmers and urban workers formed a coalition to fight the railroads. The Farmer-Labor party was nationwide, but it was really only successful here in Minnesota. In fact, there was basically the Republican Party and the Farmer-Labor party in the state for most of the 1930s. Many of the governors in the 30s were members of the Farmer-Labor party. However, farmers and urbanites have very different needs from the government and they began to divide. In 1944, the Democrats merged with the Farmer-Labor party and became the DFL. There has been talk of dropping the FL, but I truly hope they don’t because I think it reflects the fact that MN is not the rest of the country.
Now, I do not normally associate myself with any given political parties because I believe that people should vote with their conscience, not because a party tells them for whom to vote. But, I went to the caucus and got swept up in the fever of being part of the process and well, I signed up to be a delegate to the district convention to support Al Franken. My husband, who is a yellow dog Democrat, was doing it and asked me to join him. It was actually a lot of fun and very informative. I think everyone should go do this at least once just to see how the political process really works. Plus, there is a lot of sitting around so I got a TON of knitting done. That is a win-win situation in my book! On Friday I received the yarn I ordered from Little Knits to start the Wool Peddler’s Shawl in Folk Shawls. It is very fun. I would highly recommend it for someone who is just starting out with lace. I am almost to the serious lacey part of the shawl, although none of it is extreme. I am enjoying it so far and I can see making more than one. I got a lot of it done on Saturday while at the convention.
This was the highlight of my weekend really, Sunday was spent just sort of sitting around the house knitting and watching TV. We also had to kick a bunch of boys out of The Girl’s room on Sunday morning as she had 3 boys who had spent the night without our permission. The one was supposed to be picked up at 11 and the other two “did not have anywhere else to stay”. I think she is trying to turn out house into a hotel and I told her that I was going to start charging these kids. I mean, they took a shower and everything. What is up with that? I can not wait until she has to pay her own utility bills. Aaarrgh!

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Week in Review

I turned 39 last Tuesday. I took the day off work and hung out with my sweetie. We went out for breakfast, renewed my license, went to a wine sale and hit a yarn shop. Big Day! I started to get sick on Monday afternoon and felt pretty cruddy by Tuesday. Just a cold, no big deal, but it meant that I really did not want to go out to celebrate my birthday. By Thursday, I felt better, but I could hardly speak. I was fine by Friday.

On Thursday, The Girl had to go to the orthodontist. I do not know if I have mentioned this, but she has had braces forever (about 4 years) and even I am sick of going there. Anyway, I was sitting in the lobby, knitting, when Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” came on the radio. Now, I was a teenager when this song came out in the eighties and I know I did not really like it then because I could not relate to the subject matter. Sitting in there in the lobby, I realized that I am now of the age that I should be able to “get” the song. However, I have never really had any Glory Days. I was not popular in High School, I was not a star athlete, nothing like that, I was just me. Fact is, I would rather have my fingernails pulled out than go back to my teen age years. In reality, my life now is way better than it was then. Are these my “Glory Days”? They do not seem very glorious, just better than the past. Perhaps, my glory days are yet to come, maybe I will be like Grandma Moses and be glorious in my old age.
When I think of glory, I think of this quote from Euripides’ play “Medea”: “Let no one think of me that I am humble or weak or passive; let them understand I am of a different kind: dangerous to my enemies, loyal to my friends. To such a life glory belongs.” I used to have a t-shirt with that quote on it. We went and saw a production of Medea at the Guthrie about a bazillion years ago. It was excellent and I bought the t-shirt at the gift shop. I would like to think that I strife for such an existence, but I know that I am not that passionate about anything. I know for instance, that no matter how mad I got at my husband, I would not kill my kids to spite him. That is just too cruel. However, I have become less passive so perhaps there is hope for glory yet.

I finished my vest, formally known as the Sweater of Doom. I do not have a picture yet, but I wore it to work on Friday. It is the 1st real article of clothing I have made for myself. The most exciting part is that now I have something to wear to Guild meetings. I always feel so left out when everyone else is there in their beautiful hand knit sweaters. Of course, my vest is pretty plain Jane, but I think it looks good and it fits so I am happy.
Currently I am working on a baby hat while I try to decide what to do next. I have a lot of options and I just need to figure out what I am in the mood for now. I spent most of the weekend looking at my options and I am thinking I will wait until I get the yarn I ordered for the wool peddler shawl in Folk Shawls. I have been obsessed with the pattern since I bought the book. I will finish up the baby hat today and maybe make some little socks to go with it. I did not do much knitting over the weekend, just sort of hung around the house watching TV.

On Saturday afternoon, we were all sitting around, arguing about what to watch on TV (Saturday is "Torchwood" night and The Girl wanted to watch her own TV shows) when The Girl received a text message and left the room. She was obviously upset. A bit later, hubby went to see if she wanted some sushi and she said she was not hungry. Now we knew something was very wrong since she loves sushi. However, she said she was fine. Hubby went to get sushi and as soon as he was gone, The Girl came out of her room in tears with her arms covered in blood. He boyfriend had broken up with her. She had been in her room cutting herself. It has been many months since there was any cutting and I honestly thought maybe we were past it. I held in my lap for a little while she cried and then I brought her into the bathroom to clean up the blood. The cuts were not severe, thank God, but I explained that she needs to come to me before she cuts herself not after. However, her coming to me at all is a step forward since before she would do the cutting and hide it from us. I explained to her that we loved her no matter what and that in high school, boys are not very mature. In a few years, she will be able to have mature relationships. She seemed to buy that explanation. Mostly though, I wanted to make it clear that we loved her and that she is beautiful and lovable. God, this parenting thing is hard. She went and spent the night at a friend of hers and on her way out I said she was my girl and she said she would always be only my girl. And she gave me a hug and a kiss, so I must have gotten through to her a little bit. Here’s hoping.
Just so you know, by Sunday night they had worked out their differences and were back together. Teenagers are maddening.

Pictures next blog posting… I promise.