Friday, June 24, 2016

I Didn't See That Coming

Yesterday's United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union was a shocking surprise...and not in a good way.

Voting Against Your Own Best Interests

I didn't follow the vote in the U.K. yesterday.  I pretty much assumed they would vote to stay in the EU, so I was amazed to see that they voted otherwise.

This will have profound effects on peoples' lives...and not just in the U.K.

I'm always amazed when hateful rhetoric can sway people to vote against their own best interests.  Xenophobic rants against the Muslims seemed to be the driving force in having more than half the voters in the U.K. decide to opt out of the EU, which I think will make lives so much worse for them.

But voters in this country do it all the time.

If I were to suggest that everyone vote for an anarchist as president of the United States, they'd think I was a nut case.  And yet, anarchy is what most Republicans in this country are voting for with Donald.

And it never ceases to amaze me that most impoverished people in this country are constantly voting for the candidate that will do the least for them financially.

Maybe I just focus too much on financial stability and that clouds my ability to understand what drives these voters...but I'm still always gobsmacked by what looks like ignorance in voting to me.

I have to just keep saying to myself, "Everything will always work out the way it's supposed to."

I'm starting to think I might be a liar.

Current Knitting

I've done a bit more work on the button band for the nephew cardigan.

Instead of just doing a vertical band and easing it into the chest/neck opening of the cardigan, I've decided to do some short-row shaping to make it more custom fit.

I did the short-row shaping with the button-hole band and it worked very well.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Where I Feel Safe

A meme on Facebook finally helped me realize why the mass murder/shooting at Pulse in Orlando shook me to my very core.

Manny's Den

When I was at college (Rutgers College), one day on the campus bus someone pointed out the gay bar in New Brunswick, NJ, and for the next two and half years, I was fascinated by this dumpy little hole-in-a-wall with blackened out front window.

In my junior year of college, I finally acknowledged that my sexual interest in men wasn't just a phase, and that I was indeed gay.   Coincidentally, my roommate that year was a gay man and at one point, I got up the courage to ask him to take me to Manny's.

By this time Manny's had moved to a dark and ugly backstreet of New Brunswick, a couple of doors down from a locals bar catering to what seemed like a pretty rough crowd.  It took a bit of courage to just walk in that neighborhood, and perhaps even more for me to go to my first gay bar.  I was terrified and exhilarated.

But the minute we walked in the dark confines of Manny's Den, I knew I was safe and I was with my people...for the first time in years.  My shoulders fell away from my ears and I relaxed listening to the loud disco music and a couple of screaming queens sitting at a, really...they were queens and they were screaming (with joyous abandon).  The possibilities for who I could now be seemed infinite in that moment.

I danced with another man for the first time in that bar.  I kissed another man with passion for the first time in that bar.  I found my first boyfriend at that bar.  I found pride in who I was for the first time.

You have to know that Pulse in Orlando held memories like mine for thousands of gay men.

Having someone take away the sanctuary-like aspect of that club really affected me in a deep and visceral way.

I couldn't have been more thrilled to have the meme above show up on my timeline in let me recall all the joyous times my local gay bar had give me and also made me remember I now carry my pride with me and I can create bubbles of family anywhere I go.

Current Crochet

It's finally time to give a photo update of the Rowan LDK Afghan.

The afghan is now 54" tall (and the width remains at 50" wide).  Based on the amount of Rowan Lightweight DK yarn I have left, it's not going to grow too much more.  I'll be lucky if I make it to 60".

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Needed a Break

I've been feeling overwhelmed by a few different emotions lately and I've never been overly good at handling complex emotions to begin with.

Partial Shut Down

I'm not easily overwhelmed, but lately I found I needed to take a step back and limit any participation in social interactions, including reading/posting on Facebook, watching/reading news stories and writing blog entries.  I didn't want to even have conversations with friends or family,

I just needed to back out of everything except activities that were eating and working.  Even work became more burdensome than usual or at least I had a lot less tolerance for dealing with people.  Backing out of all else was all I could think to do.

At least until I felt a bit less overtaken.

With a little bit of reflection, I think my feeling were mostly that of feeling hopeless.

The "Jerry Springer" mentality of the people in this country have created an environment where everyone needs to defend their position when something extreme happens.

If your people think your religious freedom is being infringed upon - you must insist on the infringement of the rights of others.

If you think your second amendment rights are threatened - you must insist that guns weren't the reason for so many deaths.

If you think political correctness is threatening your way of life - you need to insist on offensive ideas that go against this country's principles and often our constitution.

If you think you're a minority who is being terrorized or suppressed - you need to lash out and/or push back hard.

The current environment doesn't work very well when trying to make the World a better place.  No one seems open or willing to empathize or see things in a different way.

I have to keep reminding myself that disturbances are a reminder for me to see how I can do better myself.

Current Knitting

I didn't feel the need to shut down work on my fiber projects.  They were easy and required very little fact some of the creative aspects of working on these projects actually helped to re-center myself.

I've finished the button-hole band on the Nephew Cardigan, and I've started the button-band.

The bands are 13 stitches of 1x1 ribbing to give them a sturdiness.  I also decided to add a structural feature to the sweater and created this small "yoke" on the upper back of the sweater.

Initially, I wasn't sure if I'd pick up stitches around the sweater to make the button band and collar, or if I'd knit it separately and sew it on, so I left the live stitches at the top-center on the back of the cardigan.  I picked up and doubled those stitches to make a tightly knit patch that gives the collar of the sweater some additional sturdiness and structure.

I also added a few more rows onto the Rowan LDK Afghan, but Afghan's aren't in good favor right now, so I'll forgo a photo today.

Friday, June 10, 2016

49 Amazing Men

Yes, every single one of them...amazing!

Gratitude for Men Who Knit

The community of men who are into fiber arts astounds me each year...or at least the men that make their way to a Men's Knitting Retreat each year.

(Sitting Left to Right) - Peter, Ron, Veryl, Jeff, Nick, Ben, Ron, Kevin, Steven, Ken, Dave, Kenny (Kneeling Left to Right) - Christopher, Jack, Dennis, Hayes, Ted, Daniel, Jason, John, Michael, Brady, Kirk (Standing Left to Right) - Ray, Kevin, Steve, Barry, Colin, Phil, Ian, Tom, Bruce, Leo, Rob, Chad, Matthew, David, Tom, Tim, Ryan, Aaron, Michael, Gary, Joe, Alasdair, Bill, John, Phil, Mark
And the fact that I could add the caption to that photo by memory (at my age), not to mention that I have a personal relationship with each and every guy in the photo (yes, including myself), is a profound statement in and of itself.

I know I said I had finished posting about this year's retreat, but I just wanted to acknowledge this group of guys one last time.

Current Knitting/Crocheting

I picked up the nephew cardigan to finally start the finishing.

I've attached the sleeves and sewn up the side seams and the under-sleeves.  Now I just have to do the button band and collar.

I also go a couple of more rows done on the the Rowan LDK Afghan, and as beautiful as it is, it doesn't deserve another photo.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Sheltered Life

Despite having grown up in a world that wasn't always very supportive of an alternate sexual orientation, it still amazes me to hear about racism or sexism or other forms of bigotry.

Two Examples

With Donald spreading filth and attracting all the cockroaches of bigotry, the hatred is starting to become a lot more public.  To hear a congressman yesterday say that Donald's statements about the Federal Judge of Mexican heritage were "too racist", I could only think...what is an acceptable amount of racism?  I mean really.

But regardless...before Donald allowed KKK members to come out and rally without hoods, I really ran into very little outward forms of bigotry.

I remember chatting with a Chinese-American guy at his family's Chinese Restaurant once and I was amazed to hear that when they ran the restaurant in Illinois, he was constantly facing racist comments and actions.  I mean I was shocked to hear this.

And then Linda Pratt posted the following to Facebook today:
When I was nine, in fourth grade, I wrote a book report on becoming president. I also sketched my inauguration gown, inspired by Hans Holbein and Tudor history. No kidding, it had a squared neckline and empire waist.

I went to school at a time when feminism and equal rights were belittled. I had an ERA bracelet that I wore every day. When it broke at the R, my father asked one of the machinists at GE in Bangor to solder it, and I wore it for another year. I am sure I was the only girl in my school that has a subscription to Ms Magazine. I kept reading that magazine for twenty years.

Tonight it's not me on the podium, and the woman there is not the most perfect human, by far, but neither am I. Yet tonight that nine year old became actualized.

Thank you Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Geraldine Ferraro and all other women of all parties that have paved the way.

Some of my friends may not agree with me. That's ok. I respect what is in your head and heart as I hope you do mine. 

I'll always remember coloring that dress on the cover of the book report.
These two incidences in my life made me realize that I really have no idea what the struggles of others are many times.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to open my mind further any time I get the chance.

Current Crochet

I've added a few more rows to the current Rowan LDK crochet afghan.

 I still have quite a bit of work to do on this wonderfully colorful blanket, but it's mindless and enjoyable crochet to do.