10 February 2016

Politics, World View, and Civility

I don't usually write politically-themed posts, because unless we are speaking one-on-one, and you really want to know what I think, I keep things to myself.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a very opinionated, political person.  I am not, however, a preaching type.  I find true discussions about opinions, facts, and philosophies interesting, but if someone preaches to me that a certain thing or person is the ONLY right one, I cannot wait to run away.  I love thoughtful, intelligent political discourse.

I'm not a big fan of politics, though.  Especially the kind that are related to any given presidential campaign.  And I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and grumpier, or if it actually is true, but this way too long campaign season has been one of the worst I can remember.  Not just the sniping back and forth, but the whole world view of the candidates and the lack of common every day civility.

I do believe that it's a mistake to only think about foreign policy to the detriment of thinking about the people in your own country.  Only thinking about your own country is just as bad.  The world we live in right now is truly a global community, whether or not anyone likes it.  You know the recycling mantra, "Act locally, think globally"?  Well, I think it applies to politics as well.

I am philosophically and I guess politically a democratic socialist; however, for my own person, I am actually rather conservative.  That does not mean I am automatically supportive of any candidate on either side.  I am spiritual, if not overly religious, but turned off by evangelically religious types.  I fervently believe that people should be responsible for their own actions, and their own selves.  I also fervently believe that government should help people whenever it can.

I am a one person mass of contradictions, with my own ideas and strong opinions.  I fully expect people to disagree with me, as I fully expect to disagree with them.  I am also only interested in having any conversation about it if it can be done in a civil manner.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not a huge fan of any of the presidential candidates.  I will do my research, and vote for the person who for better or worse, I think is the least of all evils.  I hope with all of my heart that whoever is elected next November will be a reasonable person who can get something done during their term.  I have to say I'm not really very optimistic about it, but you know how it is, hope springs eternal.

Sadly, I don't know the answer to how to make all of this work better.  I do wish the campaign season was not years long, but even with a shorter "official" time, I'm not convinced any of the current crop of people would be any more appealing, or civil than they are.

The other day, I read this blog post, and I think it's right on the nose about what a lot of people (including myself) want to say.  And I had to laugh at this line;

"That's just a sampling of the Democrats.  Let's not even get started on the Republicans."

Yes, I think it's funny.  But deep down, I wish it wasn't *that* funny ...

05 February 2016

Friday Letters

Hello there!  I've seen this on various other blogs over the past couple of months, and it has amused me.  Since I am in the mood to post something, but have nothing particular planned, I thought I'd give it a try.

Dear Hair ~ Tomorrow we are going to get you cut, and maybe even colored.  Perhaps you could work with the stylist so that what I tell him and what you actually do within 10 minutes of leaving the salon will be the same story, and how I look when I leave there will be roughly how I look until I go for another cut.

Dear Douchebag Neighbor ~ No, I do not want to sign your latest petition.  Partly due to your douchbag-ness, but partly because I feel that, if you want to make it "more like the suburbs," that you should move to the suburbs.  Many problems would be solved by this approach.

Dear Sweet Dug the Doodle Dog ~ Please try not to get explosive diarrhea again anytime soon.  And if you must (because face it, you're a dog), maybe wait until we are actually awake, instead of at 3:00 a.m. on a weekday when we have to go to work.

Dear Administration at Work ~ You must think we are all beyond dim if you truly believe that we think we have gotten "raises," when the only reason we are getting higher salaries is because you have increased our hours in a major way.  It still wouldn't be a popular decision, but if you would just admit the truth, you might be able to save a modicum of respect.  Though given your track record, maybe not ...

Dear Guy with the 10-month old Pit Bull Puppy Named Carmen ~ Thank you for letting me pet and cuddle your puppy, and be the recipient of so many puppy kisses!  It made my day.

Dear Samantha the Cat ~ Thank you for letting Dug sniff noses with you whenever we walk past your house and you are outside.  He is always puzzled when other cats just run away, so you make his walk an extra good one when we run into you.

Do you have any letters you'd like to write?

Have a good weekend!

02 February 2016

Don't Drive Angry, Phil

The title of this post is one of my favorite lines/scenes from the movie "Groundhog Day."

Appropriate not only because today *is* Groundhog Day, but because it works in the theme for today's Ten on Tuesday:

10 Moments/Events/Days in Your Life You'd Like to Repeat

I'm not going to mention the obvious ones like graduations, weddings, etc.  It's not that they weren't wonderful and memorable, but you want them to be that way. I want to include some of my quieter memories that show up occasionally, because they are the ones that I never want to lose.

1.  When I was four years old, we lived in Teaneck, New Jersey.  One day my dad came home from work and put a ball of white fluff on the floor - a kitten!  She had been found in the parking lot of his office, and he didn't want her to starve/get hurt/continue life as a stray.  This is the first family pet I remember.  At the time, we didn't know if she was a boy or girl, so we named her Frosty.  She was white angora.  She lived to be 16, and we all loved her, though she really only ever loved my father.

2.  In first grade, I got a stuffed dog for Christmas and I named him Augie Doggie (after a cartoon character).  My dad said we didn't want him to get lost so he made him a dog tag out of a piece of cardboard with paper glued on.  I remember sitting with him and making sure the he included all of the important information on that tag!

3.  Christmas 1967.  It was the last time we were all together as a family, with [seemingly] no worries, no sickness, and nothing terrible looming over us.

4.  October 29, 1978.  A week after we got married, we bought our first pet as a married couple.  His name was Hop Sing, and he was a yellow canary.  We used money we'd received as a wedding gift, as we had our priorities, you know!  We weren't allowed to have dogs or cats in married student housing, but we could have small pets like birds or fish.  Hop Sing was the best, and he completed our new little family.

5.  Christmastime 1978.  Our first Christmas as a married couple.  We had so much fun decorating our small apartment and getting ready to go home and visit everyone!

6.  Fall 1978.  My first time attending a Notre Dame football game in person.  The Tim went to grad school there, and at least at that time, all grad students got season tickets for themselves and a spouse for a truly minimal fee. I'd grown up in a family that had never set foot near the actual campus, but saw every game on TV (I learned people in this category were called "subway alumni"), so it was one of the most exciting things ever to actually attend the games!

7.  July 4 holiday, 1988.  We were home visiting my family, and my mother who failing rapidly from bone cancer.  When we were leaving, I told her that as soon as my comprehensive exam was over for my master's degree on July 20, I'd come back and visit with her for a couple of weeks.  She said, "I would love that."  She died on July 14.

8.  When we first moved to Washington, DC, one of my first job interviews was at the Library of Congress.  I didn't have a library degree yet, but had many years of experience as a paraprofessional.  Walking into the building to be interviewed was something I'll never forget!

9.  Also in DC, I went to tea at the White House!  I worked as an appointments secretary for a Senator, and all of us were invited to tea at the White House at the beginning of each legislative session. I was happy to go because a) tea at the White House, and b) the Reagans were out of town, and so I could go, because I HATED them and did not want to be there if they were!  It was amazing, and the tea and cookies were some of the best I've ever had.  Either because they were, or because it was all so exciting.

10.  End of May 2004.  The first time after my initial surgery when I could stand up completely straight without any discomfort at all.  It made me think that the torture of the physical therapy was actually worth it, and that I really would be OK.  :-)

Happy Groundhog Day!

01 February 2016

Happy St. Bridget's Day

Today is St. Bridget's Day, and many people post a poem in her honor.  Since she is my patron saint, it's only appropriate that I do so as well.

When All the Others Were Away At Mass

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall.  Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives-
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

-- Seamus Heaney

30 January 2016

A Slow Start - But the Year Is Young

So January was not a great knitting month for me.  It was more of a "thinking about knitting month," and though that is fine, it doesn't necessarily translate into finished projects, right?

But the year is young - I mean, tomorrow is the last day of January, and there are 11 more months to go.  This is also a leap year, so we even have an extra day.  I know I'll make progress, even if I don't meet my nebulous knitting goals.

Fortunately, other people are *doing* knitting instead of only thinking about it.  And so here we are at the end of the month, and two things are already completed for Harry's Hundred!

I shared the link for the page on one of the Ravelry groups I read, where people knit from their stash.  There was a thread within that about knitting for charity, and fortunately, a couple of people were happy to let me know how they were going to participate.

The very first thing completed was by GringaTurista (Rav link):

She made these mittens to donate to the Warm Up Cleveland Project, which - as a librarian - makes me love them even more!  After seeing these, I checked out her project page, and decided I want to try this pattern at some point as well.

And then my good friend Kim showed a scarf she had knit on her blog:

Talk about cozy-looking!  I can only imagine how smooshy and soft this feels around your neck, and how happy someone will be to have it for their very own.  

Thanks to both of these wonderful ladies for making someone happy and warm as part of this project, as well as getting things officially started!  

Goal = 100 items
Tally so far = 2 items

You know what they say - every journey begins with one step ... or in this case, two.  :-)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the rest of January!