Trial by foyer
Friday January 24th 2020, 11:53 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

All those Senators risking, as is stated at the beginning of each session, imprisonment for leaving the chambers during the proceedings–it’s been reported that quite a few of the Republican ones have been wandering out to the cloakroom. They say it’s hard to sit still. They say the chairs aren’t ergonomic.

Well, okay, so the proceedings do go on and on, sure.

But didn’t you guys bring your knitting? I mean, look at this–I had all of half a diamond done on this when the trial started. My grandmother-in-law knit a wool herringbone jacket during long Congressional hearings where her husband was being grilled years ago. (He was head of a government agency, it came with the job.)

You can’t make anything with fidget spinners, guys!



Next year every day in the White House won’t be worse
Thursday January 16th 2020, 12:14 am
Filed under: History,Politics

Parnas, with notes, singing to the prosecutor about a Republican congressional candidate’s offer to him to do what sounds very much a literal hit job on Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch for her determination to do her job right–the guy was stalking her physically and electronically and knew when her phone was off so she wouldn’t be able to call for help. Swearing that Trump knew every detail of all that he was saying. It gives fresh malevolence to Trump’s warning, “Maybe something bad’s going to happen to her” if she didn’t flee Ukraine immediately. Which she did.

The trial. Only the CNN camera will be allowed (because McConnell can’t get away with ditching that one.) Most reporters’ seats are being taken away and given to Senate family members. The lights are to be kept low as one approaches and no cameras or phones allowed near the chambers, much less in. Secrecy and darkness.

So very McConnellized.

But in the end he cannot gerrymander his fellow Senators.

I still hold out some hope that enough of them still have a conscience somewhere within them. History will hold them accountable, and you better believe, so will we.

When the country erupts in celebration at the conviction, all those Senators now hiding their views will be sure to point out that they’re the ones who get the credit.



Over in the guest room
Saturday January 11th 2020, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Politics

After the scouring to get the mill oils out. I get to tell the new parents that it’s already been washed in water too hot to touch.

The answer to the lace pattern pulling the edge pieces upwards after the cast-on: run in the ends only through there, and then again from the other direction. Weigh them down, add the bulk, it’ll straighten them out and make them stay straight–and they did.

And while I was doing that I worked on the back of the join areas to tug down anything sticking out and it worked. Nice and straight now all around.

I didn’t get a good picture of any of that but I did manage to capture the damp afghan in direct afternoon sunlight.

On a political note, should you be interested, my cousin Jim, formerly a Republican and definitely far to the right of me, had a few things to say. 

 



Mend and replace
Thursday January 02nd 2020, 10:59 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life,Politics

I was sitting in the little waiting room at the garage while they tested my tire–yup, a second leak close to the whitewall, too close, can’t mend it this time, they’re ordering me a new one but at least it’s partly covered by the warranty.

So.

There was a man studying what I took to be a textbook at the other end of that long table. (It was.)

I had my needles in hand–Mecha yarn for a hat that was six rows in when I arrived–and was quietly knitting away for that classic little old lady look.

About forty minutes in, he gave it a break for a moment to strike up a conversation with me. I had to make him wait till the air compressor on the other side of the wall stopped so I could hear him.

He wanted to ask my take on the election goings-on.

Which led to my asking if he had a favored candidate, (since he was pushing for me to tell him mine and I wasn’t doing so) and he got a grin on his face and pulled the sides of his button-down open Superman style to show the Superman-styled t-shirt underneath in dark blue.

I recognized that logo and grinned right back. Good for him! We need more involvement!

Turns out that he’d been volunteering as a fundraiser for Yang’s campaign.

We talked about some of Yang’s ideas that we both really like. He didn’t like it quite so much when I said that even if Yang were to lose, so often the best of a candidate’s ideas win out even when the candidate him/herself doesn’t and they do us all good by putting them out there.

I didn’t fully believe in his man, his face said. He was disappointed.

I said I hope the best candidate wins whoever it may be and I don’t even know yet for sure who that might be but I do know that every single one of them is better than…

We moved on from that and it was clear he totally loved being able to talk politics to someone who loved to talk politics, too. And from DC!

Every candidate he admired was a Democrat. And yet it just killed him that, he said, You can’t be a conservative on campus. If you say anything and people find out you’re a conservative they just totally go after you.

I agreed that we all have to be respectful of each other. Absolutely. My grandfather and uncle were Republican Senators, I said, and I quoted what Uncle Bob once told me about how the Republicans believe you should work hard, you should take care of your own, and the Democrats believe the government should help you do so. And they’re both right. The work of Congress is to come together and hammer out the differences between.

I had to add, But I cannot be respectful of some of what’s been done in conservatism’s name: separating children from their parents, caging them for seeking asylum–one of my friends got her law degree at Stanford and now works as an immigration lawyer at the border, trying to get the Feds to honor Federal law re asylum statutes. And they won’t. They don’t. She sees the effects day in day out and it’s very hard.

He agreed with me that none of that should be happening and that we need to do something.

His candidate had ideas and indeed, plans to DO things. To look at the problems and come up with solutions.

The mechanic came over to say the guy’s car was done, and the young man got up, more than a little reluctant to leave. But I knew he had a lot of other things on his mind, too.

He is defending his thesis tomorrow at Stanford.

“What’s your area?”

“Math,” he answered. I was proud of him. He’d worked his tail off to get to this point.

I sent that tall child of Asian immigrants off with, “Good luck on your thesis! I’m rooting for you!”

And that clearly made his day most of all.



Batting average
Wednesday December 18th 2019, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Politics

The older grandsons were doing batting practice on an otherwise quiet day at that facility. Note the baseball that is a blur to my camera in the moment of being hit.

The 14-month-old wanted to be a Big Boy just like them and Grampa decided he needed attention and distracting. As they paced and chatted in a cage no one else was using I went to go snap their picture.

We were at a facility near the border.

I suddenly realized this image was going to stick with me for a long time. At least Spencer had his Grampa to hold and comfort him.

 



Rose
Tuesday November 19th 2019, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Life,Politics

Thank you, everybody, for all the notes. So appreciated.

Rose came out of the vertebrae reconstruction surgery talking nonstop. She’s drinking clear liquids and the Rybka Twins (I had to look them up) whose booksigning the injured had been on their way to stopped by her hospital room wearing cheerful neon pink and big smiles.

Which meant her parents posted a photo of Rose with them with a great big grin of her own, holding up her newly signed copy in front of her face.

I think everything’s going to be okay. Time and patience and a lot of medical skill to come (there will be more surgery) and physical therapy and she’ll get there. Maybe even pick up an Australian accent just for fun before she comes home–she’s a singer, she’s got a great musical ear for it.

Today was such a relief.

That, and, I spent ten hours watching the impeachment hearings and at the end of it went, wait–I just need two more days like this and this afghan is actually somehow finally going to be done!

 



History happened today
Friday November 15th 2019, 11:10 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Did anybody else watch the Yovanovitch hearing? I was riveted.

I grew up around diplomats’ kids and watching her I felt a sense of recognition: that unflappable calm, that ignoring demands that she answer in a way that might be construed as political and thus at fault, that power in simply laying out the truth. Under fire, as the President interrupted the proceedings with tweeted derision.

I found myself remembering my then-nine-year-old neighbor Sandy next door talking about the time, while they were living overseas on a State Department assignment, that armed rebels had come to their door and her mother had told them to go away from her home and her kids and that she expected them to leave–and they did!

We need her mom to go talk to this administration.



Inviting
Saturday November 02nd 2019, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,Life,LYS,Politics

I was at Fillory yesterday, sitting at the large table there visiting with friends and knitting away as people came and went around us, when I found myself getting up to check on the yarn they were winding up for me.

Usually I start off by picking out a skein, paying for my afternoon’s entertainment with it, then pulling up a chair to knit the previous week’s ball into a hat while the staff turns the new hank into a ready-to-knit ball and then they come and bring it over to me. There’s a line at the ballwinder? I’m in no hurry.

But that all just felt too passive this time.

There was a customer I don’t remember seeing before: browsing, going to the clerk to ask a question, looking around some more, kind of hanging back from other people the whole time. She’d been in there about ten minutes.

It wasn’t the head scarf that caught my eye, it was that she seemed so unsure of herself. Maybe she was a beginner and we all looked like experts to her.

But maybe not. Her clothes and accent marked her as an immigrant, I’m guessing from Africa, and I know that rather than the welcoming country we used to be our government has of late made it harder for those not born here, no matter how they arrived, to feel at home.

Often of a Friday afternoon every seat of that table is filled, but this time there were several nice chairs open. Good. I invited her to come and sit and knit with us, if she would like to.

You should have seen the transformation in her face! She had not expected to be welcomed. She had not expected to be claimed as belonging.

Practically speaking, she probably didn’t know if it was a formal class or group or what, but clearly, intruding on it would never have occurred to her. That particular good time and camaraderie she was quietly observing over there was for others.

But we were just random people and she had every right to be right there with us. I knew that it would make our group all the better if she did.

She smiled and shook her head no.

But she was just transformed and she stayed happy and that made all the difference to me, too.



Gilroy
Monday July 29th 2019, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

The first thing I did today was to check up on them.

My friends talked a little about the festival and marked themselves as Safe.

Would that it had been so for all, like it was supposed to be. Like it should be. Like it once was and could be again, if we so choose as a society.

Vote, my friends. Vote. We deserve so much better than this.



Give it a new life
Thursday July 11th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life,Politics

I’m a one project at a time person, but huge projects beg for a little puppy of a one in the purse wagging its tail end and begging for attention and the occasional treat of a few stitches here and there. You can’t lug the Pyrenean Mastiff of wool everywhere.

This one had been ongoing for over three weeks and it was bugging me: I wanted both the longterms done now. No cowl of mine should take nearly a month. I wanted to be able to start something new.

So I sat down this afternoon and worked for four hours straight to the end of the ball. I’m reluctant to name the source of the merino/silk yarn because their politics have become known and what I would consider indefensible–some of the very peoples that they denigrate help work in the mills that make this stuff.

But the yarn was in my stash, it’s quite soft, and it was pretty. Such a lovely drape to it, too.

And now it will make someone else pretty, somewhere where it will only be about the love in its making.

It was time for it to go.



Independence
Thursday July 04th 2019, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Politics

I was ignoring the booms. He was busy, too.

It took at least a half hour of background sound before he said what I was thinking and together we headed outside. Because it is the Fourth, and because it is what we always do, and so we watched.

You can see the highest of the fireworks over the Bay from behind the neighbors’ trees. No crowds, no cars.

There was a bright red and green one that suddenly seemed for all the world like a line of Christmas lights–being shattered. The promise of the Christ Child, of compassion and love eternal offered freely to all: America’s leader wants no part of that.

We are shattered at those concentration camps where children are being held. Where the workers will be fired if they comfort and hold a child, where they are instead following orders to deny them adequate food, water, changes of clothes or diapers, warmth, sleep, everything.

Where the teenage prisoners love and tend to the small children who were before this strangers to them, and yet not one of our own people has found it within themselves to yell, with or without cameras running, Then go ahead and fire me! I dare you to tell me I can’t hug this crying baby! What is WRONG with you?!

But they don’t. For what? A paycheck? Thirty pieces of silver is a hard, hard currency.

And so those seeking asylum and comfort from us take those smaller children into their own arms while they are still children themselves and they shame us by their grace.

All they ask is that we honor our own asylum laws, as have they, and offer them a fair hearing.

And their parents back.



Thursday the multiple 13s
Thursday June 27th 2019, 10:22 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

By the time we booked our reservation at our favorite major-celebrations restaurant only the 8:00 slot was left.

Which meant being able to watch the entire second debate first.

Which definitely gave us a topic of conversation over our dinner.



Pen pals
Friday February 08th 2019, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Friends,Politics

I’m going to let my dear friend Jennifer, whom I met when she went to law school here, tell this one. And I quote:

“Last summer, a friend I was visiting held a house meeting to find ways we could take action against the administration’s inhumane immigration policies. From that meeting, @Detainee Allies emerged… and today, The New York Times featured our organization and the incredible stories we have been honored to hear, witness and hold.”

Pen pals. They simply wrote letters. To people who had sought asylum and found themselves imprisoned for it, who needed simple human compassion. It made all the difference in the world to those receiving them. Somebody out there knew they were there, and cared.



Hey, Dani, look!
Tuesday November 06th 2018, 11:42 pm
Filed under: Friends,Mango tree,Politics

Glued to the election returns, glad there will be some checking and balancing–always a good thing.

Meantime, the heat is working in the mango tree’s enclosure but, um, not so much in ours. Brrr. Hoping I can reach our HVAC guy in the morning.

So I thought I’d chill out by posting a bunch of tropical-tree pictures so Dani could see how what he instigated into being four years ago is doing. (Don’t worry about that dusting of cinnamon, that’s just anti-ant.)

I need to ask: are you supposed to let them ripen on the tree? (Why the traditional store-it-in-camel-dung method? All my camel comes in yarn form only.) I know pears have to be picked unripe or they’ll go mushy first, and every reference to Alphonso mangoes I’ve found (that would probably be two) said to let them ripen in warm temps, picked. How do you know it’s time to?

I love that I finally get to need to ask.



Double-checking
Monday November 05th 2018, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Politics

Going over the voters guide, newspaper articles, etc tonight. Again. To be absolutely sure on each choice.

VOTE!