Uncle Bob
Friday November 13th 2020, 9:57 pm
Filed under: Family,Politics

I am totally going to steal my cousin Jim’s FB post because I know my mom can’t see anything there and it’s about her baby brother who died four years ago; he was the Senator whose seat Mike Lee unfortunately is now in. Plus it’s a hoot.

Note that Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Chris Dodd hashed out the beginnings of what would eventually become the ACA, part of why the Kochs and the Tea Party went after Bob so hard. He said at the time that Americans can’t compete on the world market as long as they know they’re one medical disaster away from losing everything.

Jim wrote:

“So this sounds like the setup for a joke, but it’s actually a true story.
In 2008, four Democratic senators were running for their party’s presidential nomination: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chris Dodd. Dodd was the longest of longshots, and he was getting depressed that his campaign was going nowhere. My father wanted to make him feel better.
“Tell you what, Chris,” Dad said. “When you’re president, how about you make me Treasury Secretary?”
Dodd smiled. “You got it,” he said.
This began a trend. The next time Dad saw Joe Biden, he said, “Chris Dodd just told me that when he’s president, he’ll make me Secretary of the Treasury. Do you have a better offer?”
“Sure. I’ll make you Chairman of the Federal Reserve,” Biden said.
So Dad approached Obama and said, “So Dodd’s promised me Treasury, and Biden says he’ll make me Chairman of the Federal Reserve. What can you give me?”
“How about Secretary of Defense?” Obama said.
Armed with these three offers, Dad found himself in an elevator with Hillary Clinton, and he reviewed all three of the promises from the other candidates.
“Well, looks like I have no choice, Bob,” Hillary said. “I’m going to have to put you on the ticket.”
In the last days of his life, Dad told this story repeatedly. Whenever Hillary was mentioned in conversation, Dad would say, “I’m her running mate.”
I miss my dad. That’s all.”

With fronds like him who needs anemones
Friday November 13th 2020, 12:03 am
Filed under: Knit,Politics

I know, that’s an old one, but for Rudy it fits.


I fell in love with a pattern (Ravelry link) and bookmarked it months ago, then finally bought it, then did nothing about it for days till it finally bugged me enough because I wanted to know how to do that. Also I wanted to actually do that. I had plans, tentatively, but first I had to find out what it was like to work on and whether it could ever be a brainless carry-around project.

I got the first ridge of the first scale done last night if only because a thing started is easier to continue.

And now I’ve done a lot more. Nowhere near as much as I want (it was slow) but a goodly start.

Guys. It isn’t just tightening the red rows between, it’s sideways i-cord, and then you pick up along its sides while counting and trying to space right and not only that, you don’t just push the three stitches to the other end of the needle, you have to knit them and then move them onto the other needle repeat repeat repeat all the way across. And make new stitches with e-wraps, which have to be wound really tight or they create this growing loose flappy hanging stuff between stitches but, tight, it’s really hard to jab the needle tip into. I know, you already knew that. So did I.

Their photo says do it tight.

I am definitely not making an i-cord afghan at my house anytime soon–I’ve done my time-blowing project for the year.

But it is quite pretty. And absolutely ingenious on the part of the person who thought it up: who took the natural curl of i-cord and thought, y’know? That’s what the hide of a dragon should look like.

It’s a cross between Feather and Fan lace and pool noodles.

But while we’re waiting on my phone to cough up the photo (edit in the morning: here you go), I’ll mention the Four Seasons Landscaping (spoof) account. Because, yeah.

Goodbye Alex Trebek
Sunday November 08th 2020, 11:52 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

Other than the unseasonal warmth having given away to a potential unusually early freeze tonight and I have seven unripe butternut squashes pleading for mercy out there, it’s been a pretty quiet day.

Except for the sounds of my guffawing over this news article that two people had way too much fun writing. The guy from Four Seasons Total Landscaping (not Hotel) answered the reporter about when Trump’s campaign had called. (Note: when you say, Siri, give me the Four Seasons, you really ought to listen to how Siri answers.)

Question on some future Jeopardy episode: Who is, “I was pretty happy because it got me out of Bible study.”

A new world
Saturday November 07th 2020, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Life,Politics

Four years ago I was at a doctor’s for what was probably her last appointment of the day. She always took time to really listen and really ask questions, but that meant the number of minutes late piled up. I knew that. I expected that. It meant someone else was getting the care they needed and she loved that from my point of view, it also meant I got to knit: take your time.

It was going on past 5:00 on election day.

The nurse walking by was a tall African-American woman who looked absolutely stricken, putting one foot in front of the other and just trying to get through the day without bursting into tears. I learned from her face in that instant just what it must really feel like to know that Trump, whose daddy had been in the KKK, was actually close to becoming President. After Obama, no less.

So I held up my phone and assured her, It’s looking good. It’s close, but this and this and this toss-up state, it’s blue, she’s got this.

I didn’t know her at all but in that moment we were friends.

Later that evening, though, state after state blipped and flipped and turned unfathomably red after all. I felt almost as if I had betrayed her in my inability to personally keep it how it had been.

One of the great things about all those paper ballots this time is that they are counted on machines not connected to the internet. There is no wondering about hacking, the vote is what the voter said. You can run them through again. It’s all good.

I’ve been thinking of that nurse a lot these last few days.

Chris S was the first to tell me this morning that the race had been called; the Washington Post had not yet. I ran to go look, and thanks to her got to see Van Jones on CNN. Don’t miss it. That’s it, right there.

On a different note: our grandnephew Benjamin arrived last night at 33 weeks 1 day. He is in the NICU to give his lungs some time to play catch up. He is beautiful, we are thrilled, and all those crowds today across the country and even other countries calling out windows in cities banging pans dancing in the streets honking horns singing making music waving celebrating welcoming joining dancing some more–welcome to our world, little one. That was for your future. The terrible man who hated your beautiful brown skin has lost his power. I think you’ll like it here now. You couldn’t wait to see it for yourself.

Tuesday November 03rd 2020, 11:32 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

A rollercoaster of a night. Way up, then down, watching Texas being blue, flipping red/blue/red/blue/red and holding (so far), Florida quite blue then flipping red, Ohio and North Carolina too at long last. Virginia? What’s up with Virginia?! Oh, they hadn’t counted the parts near DC yet. Blue. Phew.

For awhile there it looked like Biden might win the Electoral College and unfathomably lose the popular vote–and I thought, now, that’s the one way that would get those small states to vote to amend the Constitution to get rid of it! But as I type it is 219 to 168 EV and 49.8% for Biden vs. 48.7%. Pennsylvania says it might not be done counting mail-ins till possibly next Monday. California certainly won’t be, but nobody worries about California; we may be 1/16 of Wyomingians but we still speak up.

We’ll know more in the morning. But at least I think I’ll be able to sleep tonight after all.

One of my hopes out of this election is that we’ll get the Fairness Doctrine updated and reinstated.

The most important Tuesday this year will ever have
Monday November 02nd 2020, 11:16 pm
Filed under: Politics

If you haven’t yet, please, please, whatever it takes, VOTE! There are people offering rides. Check your state’s website on the status of your mailed-in ballot, and if it’s not recorded as received, show up and vote in person like my cousin David just had to do.

Sunday, Trump met with Gov. Kemp of Georgia and quietly shut down HealthCare.gov in that state. Nearly 430,000 people in Georgia who get their insurance through the ACA are now shut out and are being told to just go buy insurance from a broker at whatever price they can get.

All they can do is hope the ACLU or someone challenges it in court–while they wait, unable to afford to go to the doctor.

During a pandemic.

This was Trump testing the political waters to see what he could get away with and it is just the start.

The current President of the United States does not want you to be tested for Covid if you’re sick because then you might get mad at him for the 236,997 dead so far and then he might have to face the Attorney General of New York who’s waiting to hold him accountable for his many state financial crimes. Give him liberty or give us death: not a contest as far as he’s concerned. He’ll take both.


How he rolls
Tuesday October 27th 2020, 10:16 pm
Filed under: Politics

One more week. We got our votes into the ballot box on Wednesday and Saturday got emailed that they’d officially been received. One more week.

Speaking of which.

This past week Sen. Mitch McConnell R-Kentucky has had severe bruising on particularly his right hand as well as parts of his face–he looks like he took a bad fall, and it wouldn’t be his first because a year ago he broke a shoulder.

One person noted that if his hands got any darker he’d have to deny them the right to vote.

Mascara fish
Wednesday October 21st 2020, 10:30 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Politics

Cuttlefish quickly take on the colors of whatever is below them.

So just for fun I made a point of wearing colors that matched the yarns I wanted to play with while knitting mine.

They have prominent W-shaped eyelid-looking things that tend to have a lighter layer above, so after nine attempts at graphing out how to do that I finally got one I was happy with. But I did not swatch it. Maybe I should have.

I guffawed when I stopped to take a good look after the last eye stitches were actually done.

And then I had to explain to my millennial daughter what I meant by Tammy Faye Bakker’s eyelashes. My husband chimed in with, “She made Dolly Parton look not made up.”

Meantime, the ballots are good (I added a note to yesterday’s post to make it easy for me to find in four years should I need to remember re the signature question–the answer I got may be specific to my county, though), the ballots are in, and I can’t tell you how good it feels that we have done our part to make our beloved country a better and more hopeful place.

Watch those vote-by-mail envelopes
Tuesday October 20th 2020, 8:55 pm
Filed under: Family,History,Knit,Politics

Everybody in California gets mailed their ballots now as of this election. In our county, I think it’s our second time. 

My plan was to finish and show off the cuttlefish as well as the small blue jelly (which in this bad-lighting picture looks vaguely Star Wars-ish. Or like an enlarged dust mite.) I’m close, too, but then after dinner the daughter and husband pulled out the sample ballots, the phones, a laptop, and started going over the choices. With me running to the desktop in the other room from time to time.

For two hours. And this is with us having already individually read the state Voter’s Guide and various articles over time.

And then with a flourish, to make it official: the actual ballots.

No not that pen, I said, it smudges and we can’t.

Got it all done, signed the envelopes…

…And realized I’d given it my standard signature of name middle initial name.

The envelope said name name name.

Can I sign it both ways?

That got me a groan of, No! (Meaning, do NOT risk it!)

As Richard put it, you get to make someone’s day difficult tomorrow trying to talk to you on the phone while you find out if that’s how you’ve signed their book in the past. Left unspoken was, Or whether you have to wait till November 3 to hand it in in person covid or no covid so the envelope won’t matter. I said I could take it to the county office and ask for a new envelope and then hand it in right there–to be reminded that probably nobody would be there. Covid. Oh right.

So much for dropping them all off together at the official ballot box tonight. But they are filled out and they are ready and we are so ready.


Update Wednesday:

They looked it up for me. Name initial name is what’s on file for both of us, and they have both our signatures from way back when we registered to vote here in 1986 and our signatures from the most recent election, giving them both a range and any progression with age over time, and whether it was a full middle name or just the initial wouldn’t matter anyway, she said; what matters is that it looks like the same hand signed that new ballot.

We’re good.

Cousin Jesse
Friday October 16th 2020, 8:51 pm
Filed under: Family,Life,Politics

The knitting entirely eluded me so far today. It just… I mean…

My mother-in-law grew up on a dairy farm in the mountains beyond Salt Lake City; her dad, who was also the high school principal, retired by changing it to a cattle ranch.

My husband’s folks drove cross country several summers of his growing up for the kids to help out on the farm and have some of the experiences and chores their mother thought an essential part of their growing up–and she wanted them to know their Utah cousins well.

I got to know them a little, too, the first few years we were married, though in the last few decades it’s all been at weddings or funerals.

One of them married and raised a son with Tim Birt.

I found myself nodding my head at the descriptions of what a nice person their son was; he sounds just like his mom.

Richard showed me the message she’d sent to his phone this morning.

A “well regulated militia” is not crazy people in the middle of the night waving guns at strangers who want to help.

The Zoom funeral is Saturday.

The Divine is a poet
Wednesday October 07th 2020, 8:33 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

The vice presidential debate tonight.

They walked in, she, clearly comfortable in her own skin, he, face tense, wary of hers and her both.

He pushed at the first instance to see if he could talk right through the moderator and keep on going when his time was up and then did so every single time. She studiously avoided reciprocating, although she did several times note to the moderator that ‘I’m going to finish up my time that he took.’ He interrupted again and again when it was her turn, so often with baldfaced lies that, if she called him on them, he claimed them again.

The moderator kept expecting him to behave better and kept letting him keep right on talking. Every time. It was maddening. Pence was just begging for someone in the more immediate audience to yell out what Biden had only said under his breath last week, “Will you shut up, man?”

Winner of the debate: Harris, absolutely, but also the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s white hair and hung on for two solid minutes, exploring a moment and then head down and digging in.

Remember when the little bird landed right there on Bernie Sanders’ lectern at a campaign event and watched him while he was absolutely charmed by it? The two of them looking like long lost friends, and how it stayed there till Bernie moved his arm? And how the crowd roared its approval of the moment? (It was, as far as I could tell, a Pine Siskin.)

Flies eat at the decaying and rotten to recycle it back into fertilizer for the next generation so that life can continue on.

Even Nature knew who Pence is.

How it could be again
Tuesday October 06th 2020, 9:51 pm
Filed under: History,Knit,Politics

The knitting: the cowl didn’t get any further along today because the afghan did, now that the logjam’s been broken through. Man it felt good.

The blog: I got another auto-update notice and checked. Nope. Still no photo function. Sorry, hopefully soon?

The history, from Michael Beschloss:

“On a cold night, seeing a Secret Service agent outside Oval Office, John F Kennedy asked him inside but was told he couldn’t.

Kennedy brought out two cups of hot chocolate, which they both drank in the cold—years later, the weeping agent said, “That’s the kind of President I’ve been serving.”

An answer
Sunday October 04th 2020, 8:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Friends,Garden,Life,Politics

Pence thought flying to Arizona would get the Mormon vote to turn the state their way.

And on a different note having nothing to do with that…

This was General Conference weekend for the Mormon Church, broadcast from Salt Lake. There was no in-person audience, the speakers were masked while not speaking and sat socially distant, and the Tabernacle Choir was pre-recorded songs from previous Conferences.

And the song they started out with (video link) was, “Oh Say What Is Truth”. The sheet music is in the link below.

31243, Hymns, Oh Say, What Is Truth?, no. 272

1. Oh say, what is truth? ‘Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce,
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.

2. Yes, say, what is truth? ‘Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire.
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies:
‘Tis an aim for the noblest desire.

3. The sceptre may fall from the despot’s grasp
When with winds of stern justice he copes.
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm-rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.

4. Then say, what is truth? ‘Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o’er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth’s fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore.

Text: John Jaques, 1827-1900

Music: Ellen Knowles Melling, 1820-1905

There were messages of inclusivity for all and they meant all in order to measure up to the teachings of Jesus.

President Nelson said, “I grieve that our black brother and sisters the world over are enduring the pains of racism and prejudice. Today, I call upon our members everywhere to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice. I plead with you to promote respect for all of God’s children.”

One of the other things he said leaped out just for me. “We can do hard things.”

I instantly decided to take it personally for my right here and now. My back has been so bad that I couldn’t roll over and get out of bed by myself, which wasn’t helping Richard’s iffy back any. Alright, consciously loosen those muscles. No tensing from fear it’s going to hurt that makes it hurt. You can do this. And yes it will still hurt some, but it won’t get better without doing that.

Richard five minutes ago, watching me rise from a chair and turn to go in the kitchen to get a glass of milk: “You ARE feeling better!”

Better being a relative term, but, yes I definitely am and I’m not afraid of it anymore.

I will add two things: I’m still not stupid, though, and, I have very good friends. Phyl and Lee walked over, watered my wilting veggies and a few trees that needed it most, harvested the four butternut squash that were ripe and at my previously-stated insistence, took one home. I waved thanks and goodbye through the window so as not to give them my flu.

Well today was busy wasn’t it
Friday October 02nd 2020, 8:40 pm
Filed under: History,Politics

You’ve probably already heard that Trump’s at Walter Reed Hospital with Covid-19. Per CNN, he has an underlying heart condition,along with his weight and age. Melania tested positive.

Hope Hicks was on Air Force One three times this week with him and tested positive after being symptomatic just before Trump decided he was going to meet with 100 donors anyway. Because money. And seeing people who still supported him.

He is not capable of supporting them back by intuiting that it would not be good to risk making them sick. Even his own Secret Service agents have complained that he’s no longer having them tested after they work his rallies.

Kellyanne Conway has tested positive. So has Ronna McDaniel, head of the RNC.

Republican Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, and John Jenkins, President of Notre Dame, were in the Rose Garden Supreme Court nomination ceremony last Saturday where people were maskless and seated close together, and now they have it. (Nominee Barrett’s been there done that.)

Lee started having symptoms but still attended a Judiciary Committee meeting this week, as usual without a mask, before bothering to go and get tested–which means that that’s about to get interesting. McConnell was there.

There will surely be more names in DC tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

Everybody who attended the debate Tuesday agreed to wear masks and the Trump family walked in wearing them–and then all took them off. When offered masks, because, y’know, they’d specifically agreed to this and besides it’s basic human decency in a pandemic, they refused. They were not escorted out in front of the cameras but they should have been, and after today’s news maybe they would be.

The virus doesn’t go by political parties but Trump’s been working hard on that.

I wish them all well, I really do (or in a few cases I’m really trying to at least.)

One wag said that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had argued her first case before G_d and won.

Come up for air
Wednesday September 30th 2020, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Life,Politics

Mercifully, I no longer remember his name.

I woke up this morning with the thought that I now understood what last night’s debate reminded me of.

Back when my lupus was newly diagnosed, I was doing swim therapy at a pool where you had to have a doctor’s prescription to go there–so that everybody was dealing with something, everybody knew it, and people tended to look out for each other. At 31 when I showed up I was the baby of the morning group, which but for a few middle-aged car accident victims was all elderly. The pool was set up in a T shape for exercises on this side, with a wheelchair ramp going down into the water, and laps on that.

There was one notable exception to that camaraderie.

My hearing wasn’t as bad back then, but still, I left my hearing aids in my locker because you can’t get them wet so every conversation required my full attention on the person speaking to me from a near distance; having to put my glasses down next to the pool didn’t help. So I would be watching closely and hanging on every word.

There was this one guy old enough to be a WWII vet (he told me how sorry he was that he was too old to sign up for the Gulf War going on at the time, he liked being one of the boys) who really got off on that attention, and probably my relative youth. I couldn’t just catch a few words from a distance and brush him off and he caught me off guard the first time. The second time conveyed that that hadn’t been a one-off, it was the pattern: he was a full-on dirty old man who enjoyed making you squirm and when he tried the third time and it was more of the same I wasn’t going to be subjected to any more of that. We’re done here.

He took exception to that.

I was doing laps, wrapped in my own thoughts, and was just coming up for the next breath when I suddenly found myself grabbed by the arm hard and held underwater. I couldn’t believe that old man had that much strength. I tried to fight him off but was totally overpowered. He held, and held, and the lifeguard was derelict and oblivious just then. (It was not Jonathan. Just wanted to add that. And I did reconnect with him after I wrote that post, which he got to read.)

Finally, at the desperate moment when I was sure I was going to drown the guy let go and I came up spluttering and furious and he finally got the attention he’d been craving.

He wasn’t the one I had words to say to though because I wasn’t going to give him that satisfaction–although I’m rather sorry I didn’t scream for the benefit of everybody there. But I was just working too hard on gasping in the blessed air to be able to.

The lifeguard’s boss apologized over the incident and told me they’d pulled the guy aside after my complaint and told him that if he ever touched anyone there again he would be banned for life.

Word didn’t need to get around–the old ladies all already knew about him.

Then management told me that I didn’t have to do laps in a lane next to him anymore–which started out sounding good, till they added, if there’s an empty lane next to you when he wants one you’re the one who’ll have to come out. Or you can stay. If he’s already swimming laps and a lane opens up next to him you can wait till there’s another one but we’re not going to make him get out.

But he nearly killed me!

No consequences. I could not believe my ears. They said, Well, we didn’t witness it happening.

I debated calling the cops and saying I’d been assaulted but a friend who had been a cop told me that without the pool backing me up it would go nowhere. The Me, Too era was a long way off. It wasn’t till years later that I wondered if he was part of the non-profit’s funding.

Meantime, the guy complained to me in the whine of bullies everywhere, “Can’t you take a joke!?”

I moved over to the Y after that and never came back.

A few years later one of my old swim friends let me know that Dirty Old Man had moved away and I never had to worry about running into him in the grocery store again. It was an intense, immense relief.

And that’s how we’re going to feel when those votes are counted and in January if we do our part. Let’s be done with this ugly dirty cheating controlling hateful old man. We don’t have to drown our democracy in his lies anymore.

And on a completely different note, since we could all use a bit of relief after that, it’s Fat Bear week at Katmai National Park in Alaska. Vote for the biggest bruin!