Ellen of Twinset has thrown down the gauntlet for civility and challenged knitters everywhere to knit a hat that'd you'd be happy to wear to send it to a Congress member of your choice (provided they're not already taken) en masse on Feb 28th. She's hoping that "many other knitters will join in on our effort to introduce a bit more kindness into the political sphere with the delivery of handknits to our Congresspeople. Here is what you need to know.
I'm already trying to decide who to pick based on what hat I think they'll like and how long it's going to take me to make it.....
I have an FO!! Behold Untangled. I worked on it off and on this weekend and it went by pretty quickly. And best of all, it works like a dream.
Right before Christmas, (it can't be that long ago), I got this in the mail:
It was a Christmas surprise! From Bookfoolery & Babble. She sweetly sent me not only local Red Pepper mix, complete with its own wooden bowl, thankyouverymuch (sadly no pictures of the cute bowl with dip & pesto crackers in action. It was quite picturesque but it was also quite yummy which totally distracted me from the picture taking) but also
a Susanna Kearsley novel! Too cool because they are hard to find around here.
But there were even more goodies heading my way from other fabulous friends.
Everywhere Knitting sent me a pair of her handknit convertible mitts/mittens in the softest yarn imaginable, in a blue that rivals Lake Tahoe, just because I admired them on her blog. (Who wouldn't?) She also sent along cinnamon scented spice soap that smells good enough to eat. (Possibly you can eat it but I'm not brave enough to check).
But am I done with the fabulousness arriving in the mail? I am not! I won this calendar of photographs that Rachel of the Times We Are Living In shot - are these shots fabulous or what? (That's a collage of the calendar in case it's not obvious).
I thought about stealing one of her photos (with permission) (which isn't really stealing then, is it?) but check out her blog and take a look for yourself. Amazing photos. "Her" elk herd is a particulate favorite of mine. I have to say, we have some amazing photographers. Fiber Fool and Landscape Therapy are other faves of mine.
Mom's 74th birthday was last Saturday. There were THREE funerals scheduled that day! Two at 11am. She wasn't super thrilled (I'm sure none of them were wild about it either) but we managed to have a decent birthday for her after all. Went out to Jack's Restaurant afterwards and had a late lunch with an old friend of hers and when we got home, watched sappy Hallmark movies. She'd a bit of an escalading panic attack from her MRI at the end of December but she finally managed to get her blood pressure back under control this last week. Thankfully, because mine was starting to go up. Worrisome parents. Honestly.
In knitting news, there is a glove! Whoo! Naturally, I went a little off pattern because it's impossible for me to follows directions, I think between the Make 1's and the K2tog's is where I went astray. We'll see how it looks next to the right glove - there might possibly be Ripping Back. But there also might be Fraternal Twins, aka Good Enough.
The pattern is really dead simple but it took me having to knit it up to see what she had in mind. I glanced at the chart and it finally "clicked" - I could see the whole thing laid out neatly. Which is yeah, the whole purpose of charts but half the time I've written out the directions (K2, slip one, psso, K5, P3, etc, etc) just because the symbols didn't "take" as much as words did.
BOOKS I read Tana French's latest, Faithful Place. I'm still not sure what I think of it. (Warning: Sort of vaguely spoilerish, but just to be safe, you've been warned. ) While her books are always compelling reads and character driven rather than plot - I think that's the rub. The choices the characters make ring true but they're not choices I wanted them to make. Frank Mackey is the main character this time around. He's pulled back into his volatile family life after 22 years absence when the suitcase of his old girlfriend, who he was supposed to run off with way back then - was found in a nearby derelict building they were to have their last fateful rendezvous.
And just in case it seems like I'm ignoring your email - my iPhone seems to be acting up again. It's not sending out my reply emails somewhat randomly (I do seem to be getting all of them) - it might be because I've been in meetings and seminars in various hotels throughout freaking California (I drove 310 miles one day and had nine hours of cont ed time - it felt like twice that driving time) but it might be because it's always doing something wonky like that. (I did drive across the San Rafael/Richmond bridge at dawn and at dusk to an absolutely GINORMOUS full moon. I'm hoping all the halfwits that skittered across the lanes to the shoulder were taking pictures and not having car trouble. At least they pulled over.
It began well enough too. Look at the darling beads and how nicely the rosewood dpn's (double pointed needles) look with that stitchmarker. Sweet, eh?
(The beads are left from my Georgia O'Keefe Beaded Scarf kit I won (and have already knit up, thankyouverymuch) in a contest at The Fairy Godknitter's - she's now got an Etsy site, btw, Cupcake Fiber Company for "beautiful batts of hand dyed spinning fiber". (I quote because that's a perfect description of those lucious swirls.) Hmm. I think I need a closing parenthii. Parenthesis? Parenthetiwhatchacallit? Yeah. I do.)
Uh oh. The beading - that originally I hadn't planned on doing - is coming along nicely. It only took me approximately two weekstwo days a couple of hours to figure out how to get the beads on the yarn (Cabin Cove's Merino/Nylon in Olive).
Julia's instructions for using thread & a needle to place the bead on the stitch as you knit (and not pre-stringing) is probably faultless but.....it took me long enough to realize I could use a bead needle, much less something new.
So. Where was I? Oh yes. The two stitch bead cable is winding nicely and I'm clipping along......uh oh. After the hem turn, there's a four stitch bead/cable. As the pattern reads. It appears to be missing.
Hmm. Anyone seen any good movies lately? I can't wait for The Mechanic to come out (Warning: a slightly starling clicking noise but no music, thankfully. Why do sites do that? Do they think we're all at home surfing the net?), even if no one can replace Charles Bronson and they've already tried in the Christian Bale version - whoops, no, I'm thinking of The Machinist.
Sigh. Do I always do this? Is it on purpose? It is fun to unravel the stitches and then work them back up differently - it's a small version of magic - but it's got to be faster to do it right the first time.
So. Read any good books lately? I finished Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha Nussbaum. I agree with her premise but.....I started arguing with her in the margins. It was taking me weeks to finish a 158 page book. (Actually, I think it was 143 pages but who am I to argue with the Library of Congress?)(Incidentally, awesome link to find out the actual published date of a book. It's maddening to look up say, Pride & Prejudice and read that it was published in 2004. Really? Really?
Oh sure, re-published. I want to know when it was written. Voila, Library of Congress catalog.)
Anyway. Not For Profit...I completely agree, we need to have liberal arts/humanities in the schools. It's important for scholarship and citizenship. I'm not sure where anecdotal evidence vs a representative sample falls on the proof side but I concede her point. We shouldn't teach solely for the profit of the economy. Society needs more than that. I'm just not sure how far we'll get if we don't have jobs to support our philosophical pursuits. I'm sure the target audience travels in more rarefied circles than I do in any event.
There are the followers and the followed. The sheep & the shepherd. The wolf & the lamb. The fiber & the dye.
The metaphor and the muddle.
(I admit, the point where that might have come close to making sense was rewritten but I'm too enamoured of it to edit it out. Yeah, I'm like that. It was deliberate. So there.)
Now I'm reading Eifelheim. Cool! Takes place in the present and 14th Century Germany, I'm not quite sure how yet.
Martin Luther King's famous speech from on August 28th, 1963: "I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
As in, think before speaking, slow down and focus. Naturally I assumed that this meant I would become graceful, calm, cool, collected and wise. Ah, the power of a single word. It just doesn't have the magic it used to.
But it is a word I'd like to keep as a touchstone this year.
adj. dɪˈlɪbərɪt; v. dɪˈlɪbəˌreɪt/ [adj. dih-lib-er-it; v. dih-lib-uh-reyt] adjective, verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.
1.Carefully weighed or considered; studied; intentional: a deliberate lie.
2.characterized by deliberation; careful or slow in deciding: a deliberate decision.
3.leisurely and steady in movement or action; slow and even; unhurried: a deliberate step.
verb (used with object)
4.to weigh in the mind; consider: to deliberate a question.
verb (used without object)
5. to think carefully or attentively; reflect: She deliberated for a long time before giving her decision.
6.to consult or confer formally: The jury deliberated for three hours.
1350–1400; ME < L dēlīberātus (ptp. of dēlīberāre to consider), equiv. to dē- de- + līber ( āre ) to balance, weigh (deriv. of lībra balance, scales) + -ātus -ate
Synonyms 1. purposeful; willful. Deliberate, intentional, premeditated, voluntary refer to something not happening by chance. Deliberate is applied to what is done not hastily but with full realization of what one is doing. Premeditated is applied to what has been planned in advance. Voluntary is applied to what is done by a definite exercise of the will and not because of outward pressures: a voluntary enlistment. 2.methodical, thoughtful, circumspect, cautious. 3. See slow 4. ponder. 5. cogitate, ruminate.
1. accidental. 2. impulsive, precipitate.
We'll see. Hopefully this year will be a little more balanced in that I won't be working a million hours a week all year long. I think I've seen my best friends a total of ten times combined last year.
Here's a fun little New Year's memeI found at Margaret's Books Please. I've used titles from my 2010 books read. (Eighty three (83) total, two read halfway then skimmed through, one read and trashed, all but 12 by virtue of my library card and those 12 were from my shelves! It can be done! I wouldn't have believed it. The oldest one was written in 1900, The History of Civilisation Vol 1, edited by Crane Brinton, followed by Margery Sharpe's 1937's The Nutmeg Tree. Sixteen (16) written in 2010, due, no doubt, to the lure of the New Book section by the check out counter.)