Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Good Guy With a Gun...

Just read about two "good guys" with guns that stopped a potential murder in a Walmart parking lot.

Attention NRA and Gun Manufacturers!

First of all, people that want more regulations on guns aren't asking these guys to give up their guns.  We can still have lots of "good guys" with guns allegedly protecting us from the "bad guys" with guns.

Second, I doubt these two "good guys" were on the no-fly list and they would still be able to get and own guns to stop the "bad guys" even if one of the two laws passed.
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Third, you'll note the two "good guys" in the story had handguns...not AR-15's.  Regulating who can buy a semi-automatic weapon wouldn't have wrecked this "good guy" story at all.  Again, passing sensible gun legislation wouldn't have stopped these "good guys" with guns.

Finally, and most importantly...name me ANY other manufacturer where it's okay to answer a threat of their product with the answer..."buy more of our product?"

We own two guns, but only because they were left to us by my husband's father.  We don't have ammunition for them and most likely never will.  We have also never had to defend our home against armed "bad guys."  I  also don't want to own a gun, nor do I wish to carry a gun.  I don't want to have to train to use a gun either.

The answer to people like Omar Mateen getting guns that he never should have been allowed to get both because of his background and the type of gun he was able to buy, is NOT arm everybody else with like-weapons.

The answer is to enact sensible gun legislation to limit access to this type of weapon and the purchase of guns to people like Omar Mateen.

Don't get me wrong, Mateen could have resorted to building a homemade bomb to do his murdering, but if sensible gun legislation could save even one life...it should be enacted.

Just know, the NRA, which is a lobbying group for the gun manufacturers...not a gun club...and the gun manufacturers have made more money through buying off our legislative branch and lying to the uninformed.

Current Knitting/Crocheting

Having so much free time without having to worry about being a responsible gun owner (does that mean I'm not a "good guy?"), I've been able to finish my two current projects.



The Nephew Cardigan got all it's buttons sewn on and all the ends woven in.  It ended up being the size requested, but it's quite large.

I also finished the crochet afghan in Rowan Lightweight DK yarn in dozens of different colours.




The edging was a simple crochet picot-like edging and the final measurements ended up being about 55" x 68" after blocking...so it ended up blocking bigger than I expected, but I love the resulting fabric and afghan.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Spring Cleaning

Seemingly moments before Summer started officially, we completed a number of maintenance/repair tasks to our home that feels a lot like Spring cleaning.

So Satisfying

We've owned our home for about 27 years now and every once in a while, our homeowner's association will notify us that they'll be painting the outside of our buildings in the upcoming months, and we are required to replace any wood or trim that might need replacing.

Given that we had a few pieces of trim that needed to be replaced, and we were going to have people working on the house anyway, we decided to have them replace all the wood trim with AZEK Trim...a material made of PVC, so it will never rot or be eaten by bugs.


I've blurred out the number, but the workers even replaced a wooden house number plaque above the garage with AZEK.

Since we were at it, we also took the opportunity to replace a window, replace the chimney cap and replace the window insert on our front door.

And since we did all that, it turned out to be a perfect time to do a wholesale cleaning of the place.

Hardly a person on the planet, other than Thaddeus and I would notice all the changes, but it's still incredibly satisfying to have had all this week completed.

Current Knitting/Crochet

I'm on the last throes of knitting the Nephew Cardigan.


I finished knitting the button band, with all the shaping so it would ease in nicely.


I also almost finished sewing the button band in.  Just a bit more sewing, sewing on buttons and weaving in ends and this sweater will be FINISHED!

I've also finished all the crocheting on the Rowan LDK Afghan.



The total length is just shy of 60 inches.


I also have a few million ends to weave in, and then I'll do a simple boarder on the top and bottom of the afghan to make it a full 60 inches.

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 booth...no, 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 Facebook...it 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 pressing...like 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 emoting...in 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.

Monday, June 06, 2016

A Yoga Body

I don't do yoga very often, but I have often noticed how the folks of my age or older often have nicer bodies when they do yoga on a regular basis.


What I'll Do When I Retire

Friends and family often ask me what I plan to do with all my time when I leave the workforce.

Yoga is one of the things I will add to my routine when I have more time.

I honestly never used to understand why the people that did yoga more often had long, lithe bodies and generally just looked healthier...until I tried a "beginner's yoga class" for the first time.

I'm not in bad shape...I work out at my fitness center on a regular basis and can run further and faster than most men my age.  But my first introduction to yoga was a surprise.  I actually couldn't finish it.  I don't mean I couldn't reach all the poses...I mean I was sweating and winded so much that I had to finish early.

I also love the spiritual aspect of yoga.  I plan on continuing to do Breema, and I think the two will be very complementary in terms of both physical and spiritual well-being.

Current Knitting/Crocheting

I finished the pair of socks I was knitting in Noro Silk Garden.



I can't say enough about the colorways that Noro comes up with for their sock yarn, and while I'm not always a fan of their base yarn...I find it stiff and scratchy to work with...it does make a nice fabric with my toe-up sock pattern.

I also picked up another Work-In-Progress...the Rowan LDK Afghan that I was crocheting a while ago.



I had forgotten quite how much I love how this crochet stitch looks, so it will be nice to work toward finishing this lovely blanket.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

2016 Men's Knitting Retreat - Final Words

Community, relationship, connection...these all seem to be what I get out of the retreat each year.

Knitting?

Yes, it's a knitting retreat, but honestly, knitting and fiber pursuits are only the common bond that draws us together.  Knitting provides us an instant community...a community on which we can build relationships and connect deeply with one another.

That's where the magic is.

Despite haven taken a total of over 500 photos at the retreat this year, I didn't feel like I captured as many of the guys as I would have liked.  But here are the remaining photos, as yet unpublished.

Colin, Kevin and Christopher socially knitting

Bill reviewing the tag table items

Brady looking fine in John's cap

Christopher, Jeff and Ron overseeing lawn blocking

Colin and Kevin on deck

Daniel and Kirk sharing a moment

Dave and Kenny fibering on the floor

Dave helping Gary
David and Chad swatching

Gary!

Jeff!

John!
Kevin and Christopher!

Kevin and Steve!

Mark walking back to his room

Nick and Colin
Phil, Ian and John (Steve and Ron in the background)

Phil!

Ray and Peter up front, Dave and Kenny in the rear

Ron!
Ron, Veryl and Peter fibering on the floor

Ryan!

Ted and Mark!

Ted, Dave and Phil discussing weaving

Ted and Dennis!

Current Knitting

I continued working  on the toe-up Noro socks.


I was able to finish turning the second heel and now I just have some ribbing to do on both socks.