Friday, January 23, 2009

Post-Partisan? That's not it!

I keep encountering or hearing about people encountering those who are cynical. Those who still have no hope, no faith, no optimism. I've been one of you. I've been ranting and raving, sure that the election would never take place, sure that the cheating would overwhelm the numbers, sure that it would never, ever end.

But on Tuesday I took off my tinfoil hat and cried.

And I gave up my cynicism.

Now, mind you, I'm going to hold their feet to the fire when I think it's necessary. And I'm determined to stay active, stay informed, stay vocal.

But I'm no longer going to be afraid. I'm not going to fear that the NSA is tapping my phone and computer (they were). I'm not going to fear that my children won't be able to get a decent education (this will change in time for them). I'm not even going to fear that I won't be able to take them to the orthodontist.

Most of all, I'm not going to be afraid to not be cynical. I'm not afraid to look stupid in my optimism. I don't think it looks stupid.

I think a lot of people out there are afraid that if they aren't cynical, they look like idiots. Well, you're wrong. Cynicism is a defense mechanism for powerlessness. We're not powerless any more, can't you see that? We are the ones we've been waiting for.

And if we stay involved, stay active, stay vocal, let the Administration know what's important to us and why and how we think they should solve problems, we are powerful. We are the change, not Obama. President Obama gives us, is giving us right this minute--go over to the website and see it--the chance to be the change. Sure, it takes people in power to ask us to participate. If they don't let us, we can't do much. But the President is asking us, is encouraging us, to take the reins of power in our own hands and make America what we want her to be.

Let's roll.


Monday, January 19, 2009

The Day Before (x-posted at

Tomorrow will be crazy again, so I thought I would put something down today. I'll be making videos for Video Your Vote and posting them here later today and tomorrow.

It hardly seems possible to believe that it is over. And of course the Bush administration still has today, shudder. But tomorrow it really will be. Over.

In the eight years since Bush was "elected," my first child grew from a toddler to a fully self-aware 10 year old. My second child has never known any other President.

Our country was hit by the worst attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor, even though we were warned and warned and warned.

We have watched our leaders rape and pillage the Treasury, spy on us regardless of Constitutional protections, torture. We have seen people who speak of "Christian values" admit to acts which would have even Jesus throwing stones.

I believe in the not so distant future, we will discover a plethora of even worse acts by these persons of no conscience, no shame.

Well, I have felt shame. I have felt shame for my country, my government, myself. We are not those people. And, yes, I thank God that those people are leaving.

What have we left? Hope. A President my children can look up to for the first time in their lives. An administration that will not necessarily succeed in everything they need to accomplish, but will absolutely work as hard as they can and use all of their intellect and empathy to improve all of our lives, not just the lives of the rich and powerful. A President with children the same ages as mine who will be asked by his daughters, what did you to to help? What are you doing about that disaster? Why is that person homeless? How can my friend go to college?

There is no bubble with kids in the house.

Tomorrow, I will be watching. And crying. And thankful. And hopeful. And then the real work begins.

If you can serve today, our National Day of Service, please do. Do it along with the Obamas, along with the Stackhouses, along with the Batsons and the Smiths and the Joneses. Let it be a down payment on the work we will have to all do to get America back to where she belongs.

"We must be the change we want to see in the world." Be the Change. Change.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thank you, Keith Olbermann

And Steven Colbert for starting it all.

And Jon Stewart for taking it seriously funny.

And Tina Fey for showing us the reality.

And Rachel Maddow for being brilliant.

And even Andrew Sullivan for getting it.

For your reading pleasure and pain, Keith's "8 Years in 8 Minutes"(click the link to watch):

George Walker Bush.
43rd president of the United States.
first ever with a criminal record.
our third story tonight,
his presidency: eight years in eight minutes.

early in 2001 the U.S. fingered Al Qaeda
for the bombing of the USS Cole
Bush counterterrorism adviser Richard Clarke
had a plan to take down Al Qaeda.
instead by February the NSC
had already discussed invading Iraq,
and had a plan for post-Saddam Iraq.

by March 5 Bush had a map ready for Iraqi oil exploration
and a list of companies.
Al Qaeda?
Rice told Clarke not to give Bush a lot of long memos.
not a big reader.

August 6, 2001
a CIA analyst briefs Bush on vacation:
"Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S."
Bush takes no action tells the briefer—quote
all right, you've covered your ass now.

next month Clarke requests
using new predator drones to kill Bin Laden
the Pentagon and CIA
say no.

September 11th
Bush remains seated for several minutes
to avoid scaring school children
by getting up and leaving.
he then flies around the country
and promises quote a full scale investigation to find
those folks who did it

Rumsfeld says Afghanistan does not have enough targets
we've got to do Iraq.
when the CIA traps Bin Laden at Tora Bora
it asks for 800 rangers to cut off his escape
Bush outsources the job to Pakistanis
sympathetic to the Taliban
Bin Laden
gets away

in February General Tommy Franks tells a visiting Senator
Bush is moving equipment out of Afghanistan
so he can invade Iraq.
one of the men who prepped Rice for her testimony
that Bush did not ignore pre 9-11 warnings
later explains quote we cherry picked things
to make it look like the president
had been actually concerned about Al Qaeda
they didn't give a bleep about Al Qaeda

July and Britain's intel chief says Bush is
fixing intelligence and facts around the policy to take out Saddam
January 03
Bush and Blair agree to invade in March
Mr. Bush still telling us he has not decided
telling Blair they should paint an airplane in UN colors
fly it over Iraq and provoke a response
a pretext for invasion

the man who said it would take several hundred thousand troops
the man who said it would cost more than a hundred billion
the man who revealed Bush's yellowcake lie
his wife's covert status
the White House liars who did it
and covered it up
not fired
one convicted
Bush commutes his sentence

then in Iraq, stuff happens:
Iraq's army, disbanded
the government de-Baathified
200,000 weapons, billions of dollars just
foreign mercenaries immunized from justice
political hacks run the Green Zone
religious cleansing forcing one out of six Iraqis from their homes
Abu Ghraib
the insurgency
Al Qaeda in Iraq

other stuff does not happen:
post-war planning
body armor
vehicular armor

the payoff?
and billions for Halliburton, Blackwater and other companies
while Mr. Bush denies VA healthcare to 450,000 veterans
tries to raise their healthcare fees
blocks the new G.I. Bill
and increases his own power with the USA PATRIOT Act
with the Military Commissions Act
public orders exempting himself from a thousand laws
and secretly from the Presidential Records Act
The Geneva Conventions
sparking a mass rebellion at the Justice Department

secret star chambers for terrorism suspects,
overturned by Hamdan v Rumsfeld.
denying habeas corpus,
overturned by Boumediene v Bush.
200 renditionings
sleep deprivation

Rumsfeld warned in 2002 that he was torturing
that it would jeopardize convictions
out of 550 at Gitmo
hundreds ultimately go free with no charges
dozens are tortured
eight fatally
three are convicted

on U.S. soil twelve hundred immigrants rounded up
without due process
without bail
without court dates
without a single charge of terrorism

it wasn't just Mr. Bush no longer subject to the rule of law
he slashed regulations on everyone from banks to mining companies
appointed 98 lobbyists to oversee their own industries
weakening emission standards for mercury
and 650 different toxic chemicals
regulators shared drugs
and their beds
with industry reps
the Crandall Canyon mine owner told inspectors to back up
because his buddy, Republican Mitch McConnell
was sleeping with their boss
McConnell's wife is Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao
her agency overruled engineer concerns about Crandall Canyon
and was found negligent
after nine miners died in the collapse there

Mr. Bush's hands off
as Enron blacks out California
doubling electric bills
after months of rejecting price caps Mr. Bush bows to pressure

the blackouts end

Mr. Bush further deregulates commodity futures
midwifing the birth of unregulated oil markets
which just like Enron jack up prices to an all time high
until Congress and both presidential candidates call for regulations

and the prices fall

deregulating financial services and lax enforcement of remaining rules
created a housing bubble
creating the mortgage crisis
creating then a credit crisis
devastating industries that rely on credit
from student loans to car dealers

firms that had survived the Great Depression could not survive Bush
those that did got
seven hundred billion dollars
no strings, no transparency
no idea whether it worked

unlike the auto bailout
which cut workers' salaries.
a GOP memo called it
a chance to punish unions

but Bush failed even when his party and his patrons
did not stand to profit
investigators blamed management cost cutting communication
for missed warnings about Columbia
Bush administration convicts include
sex offenders at Homeland Security
convicted liars
every kind of thief in the calendar
and if you count things that were not prosecuted
the vice president of the United States actually
shot a man in the face

the man apologized.

Mr. Bush faked the truth
with paid propaganda in Iraq
on his education policy

tried to silence the truth about global warming
rocket fuel in our water
industry influence on energy policy

politicized the truth of science at NASA, the EPA,
the National Cancer Institute, Fish and Wildlife
and the FDA

his lies
exposed by whistleblowers from the cabinet down
"complete BS" the treasury secretary said
of Mr. Bush on his tax cuts.

Rice's mushroom cloud
Powell's mobile labs
Iraq and 9-11
Jack Abramoff
Jessica Lynch

Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman again
Pat Tillman, again.

the air at Ground Zero
most responders still suffering respiratory problems.

global warming
carbon emissions
a Clear Skies initiative lowering air quality standards
the Healthy Forests initiative increasing logging
faith based initiatives
the cost of medicare reform
fired US attorneys
politically synchronized terror alerts

the surge causing insurgents to switch sides
that abortion causes breast cancer
that his first recession began under Clinton
that he did not wiretap without warrants
that we do not torture.

that American citizen John Walker Lindh's rights
were not violated
that he refused the right to counsel

heckuva job Brownie
some survivors still in trailers
New Orleans still at just two-thirds its usual population

the lie that no one could have predicted the economic crisis
the economists who did
no one could have predicted 9-11 except
one ass-covering CIA analyst
or thirty
no one could have predicted the levee breach
except literally
Mr. Bill
in a PSA that aired on TV a year before Katrina

Bush actually admitted that he lied about not firing Rumsfeld
because he did not want to tell the truth.
look it up.

all of it
all of it and more leaving us with
ten trillion in debt
to pay for 31% more in discretionary spending
the Iraq War
a 1.3 trillion dollar tax cut

median income down two thousand dollars
three-quarters of all income gains under Bush
going to the richest one percent
unemployment up from 4.2 to 7.2 percent

the Dow, down from ten thousand five hundred eighty seven
to eighty two hundred seventy seven
six million now more in poverty
seven million more now without health care

buying toxic goods from China
deadly cribs
outsourcing security to Dubai
still unsecure in our ports
and at our nuclear plants
more dependent on foreign oil
out of the international criminal court
off the anti ballistic missle treaty
military readiness and standards down

with two unfinished wars
a nuclear North Korea
disengaged from the Palestinian problem
destabilizing eastern european diplomacy with
anti missile plans
and unable to keep Russia out of Georgia

2000 miles of Appalachian streams
destroyed by rubble from mountaintop mining
at his last G-8 summit,
he actually bid farewell to other world leaders
saying quote—goodbye from the world's greatest polluter

consistently undermining historic American reverence
for the institutions that empower us
education, now "academic elites"
and the law, "activist judges"
capping jury awards

and Bin Laden?
living today unmolested in a Pakistani safe haven
created by a truce endorsed and defended by George W. Bush

and among all the gifts he gave to Bin Laden
the most awful, the most damaging not just to America
but to the American ideal
was to further Bin Laden's goal
by making us act out of fear rather than fortitude

leaving us with precious little to cling to tonight
save the one thing that might yet suffice:


And from me, a giant sigh of relief. Yes we did. We had to. And now we must take this audacity, this hope, this unity, this time, and make our country into what it is meant to be: a place of opportunity, a place of community, a place of love for our fellow human beings. And, no, I don't see our new President as a savior, but as a smart man, eager and willing and able to work hard to improve the lives of regular people. But we must help him. We must push him to make the real hard choices, to fight for us, to remember that he is there to work toward the common good.

We must be the change we want to see in the world.

Be the Change.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yeah, well, it's not quite easier yet.

Man, the whole new job thing is kicking my *ss.

And I'm supposed to be typing for a friend's Master's thesis research and I haven't done nearly as much as I wanted to. Nor have I spun anything since last Friday (?).

I did start socks for my daughter and even shot photos of the process so that I could write up my (no different from anyone else's) toe-up sock recipe for handspun. I'm about halfway up the foot, I think, although her feet prove to be larger in real life than they are in my imagination.

But due to circumstances WAY beyond my control, I have had zero free time this week so far. I know, it's only Wednesday, but you should see tomorrow!!

Anyway. Today I should have a couple of hours in the afternoon to spin. And I will freely admit that my work time yesterday was extremely pleasant. Tasks not onerous, Pandora on the computer playing only music I like, free lunch, why complain? And then my friend J met me for a knit while DS was in dance class. All good. Now if I could only throw off that familiar feeling from the days of full time office work of my life being: work-make dinner-fall asleep-work.


Kids to school
1-3 belong to ME!
Kids to choir practice
Homework and art project
Top Chef and knitting

Tomorrow is scary:

Kids to school
Volunteer at school
Dinner for Daddy's birthday
Another rehearsal
Fall over in a heap

Next week is better, I promose. No birthdays! (3 this week)

6 days.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Party, Come and Gone

And thank goodness for that!

It all went well at my soon-to-be-10-yo daughter's party this afternoon. Enough friends, enough cake, enough goodie bags, enough activities, enough help, thanks a million J and J and A!!!

I think a good time was had by all and the haul of presents is not insignificant.

Now back to the old and new grinds, I guess.

Another day of training at the new job. Another half hour of interviews to transcribe this evening. But tomorrow I will still have a clean house, so I get to skip my Monday housework, yay! And maybe there won't be any typing to do in the evening and I can get back to my spinning, which is totally calling out to me, if only I weren't too tired to answer.

Hope you had a lovely weekend!


Friday, January 09, 2009

11 Days to Go!

Until our long national nightmare is over! Woo-hoo!!

I've been asked to report for Video Your Vote again on Inauguration Day so I will do my best, although it will be 9:00 in the morning here AND the first real day of work at the new job. On the bright side, my new boss (and old boss while I'm wearing another hat) just sent me a thank you note that ended, "P.S. January 20th almost here!" So I don't think he'll mind if I'm watching it on the computer while I work. My office-mate is another story, but she's a very close friend and I think all will be well.

I plan to interview the children again on the way to school. That might be the best I can do until after noon.

I also plan to have the streaming video of the Neighborhood Ball on at home in the afternoon. It will be a great day!!

In fiber news, I have been spinning the gray singles and have started the second bobbin. This was the first one at about the 1 ounce point: first ounce of singles I absolutely adore this fiber, so soft, slightly sheepy smelling. And I also enjoy spinning from the fold so it's fun so far. I have another half hour if I get off the computer before the kids come home from school.

Sunday is my daughter's 10th birthday party, amazing! I've been a mother for almost 10 years. It seems both like forever and like a moment. I have less time left with her before college than I've had already. I wish I were better at this, but I try and I think they know it. They are very loving, affectionate, bright and entertaining children, and charming one at a time. They are neither shy nor easily intimidated. I have absolutely no idea what they will want to do when they grow up. They are a great frustration at times and a great joy all the time. They certainly show up my weaknesses and childishness. But at the same time, they help me keep cynicism at bay. I am incredibly grateful to have them, these two, and none other. They are mine, mine, mine and a miraculous gift.

Happy Birthday, Pie!


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Progress Report

New job (temporary) is now official, yay!

I start training tomorrow, also yay!

As soon as jet lag wore off (mostly) I started the Handspun Sweater Project™ (hereafter HSP) and interesting things were discovered.

I had already spun a sample in June or so when I ordered 8 ounces of the fiber for that purpose and entered some 2-ply yarn from it in the Fair (red ribbon).

Here's the 2-ply: Oatmeal BFL 2ply

And the 3-ply sample: worsted at 28 Nice yarn, but I want a little more twist. Worsted spun, singles 28 wpi.

So I started this time with worsted spinning at 32 wpi, to see if it was too thin at that size or if I could use it and get more yardage out of my 2 pounds of fiber.

Sample skein: worsted at 32 Nice yarn, definitely. Would be lovely at 5 spi. But at 4, it's just too thin and floppy.

Here's the swatch on 8's: worsted at 32 swatch You can't really see from this how flat the cable is and how airy the fabric. This just would not work at 4 spi, which is the gauge I got with it on these needles.

Next I spun from the fold at 28 spi for the singles and ended up with this yarn: fold at 28 The yarn is fuzzier, as expected, but a really easy spin, very soft and lofty and Aran weight, yipee!

The swatch: fold at 28 swatch The cable stands up very nicely and the gauges is still a bit off, so I will swatch again with the real yarn on 7's to see if it's perfect. But I think this yarn is the winner. And I enjoy spinning from the fold a lot, that will help my process with all this gray.


Down to the spinning today, I think.

My plan is to do 6 ounces of finished yarn a week until I'm done. I don't know if that is really possible, but it's 2 ounces at a sitting and then a day of plying a week. The spinning should take me 5-6 weeks at that rate and gets me knitting by March 1. The nice part is the sweater should knit up pretty quickly at 4 spi and I might be able to wear it before it gets too hot here. That would make me SO happy!

Wish me luck at the new job. I'm doing perfectly easy stuff at a perfectly pleasant place with perfectly lovely people. Bummer, huh? Only wish it would turn into something longer term, but you never know.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year, New Hope, New Goals

What a relief it is to know a grownup will soon be the President of the United States! And his team does NOT include torture supporters, Constitution shredders, war profiteers or idiots! Woo-hoo!

I'm not making resolutions this year, they always go by the wayside in the busyness of life with school and scouts and all. But I do have some hopes or dreams or goals that I would like to lay out in the hope that I can focus on them and not just let the time go by.

Of course, my biggest goal is to not just let the time go by!

1. Spin for a sweater, knit the sweater. This is October Frost from the gorgeous A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd. I have the fiber here, 30 ounces of Oatmeal BFL top from Paradise Fibers. I will be sampling and making one of those little cards with the single, the 2-ply, the 3-ply finished yarn to keep track over the many weeks of spinning I have ahead of me. Wish me luck in not getting too crazy and taking too many breaks for COLOR. I will be trying to only do this yarn on the wheel, while spindling colorful fibers to keep from getting crazy. Hey, I spun up enough yarn for socks on a spindle well within the Ravelympics time last summer, I should be able to get my Lame Duck Mallard done as long as I keep a spindle with me or out in the house.

I am also participating in the Spinner Central quarterly spinalong on Ravelry, hoping the people there will encourage me to finish within a reasonable time. I know I probably won't get the sweater knit up until it's too warm to wear it here in SoCal, but I won't jinx the alternate plan by mentioning it here.

2. Write almost every day for I was really good about this in November, really until the Christmas rush hit (along with everyone else, I know) but as of this morning, I will be back to the grind. I made over $10 in November and December and although the money is NOT the point, it's still nice to be a paid writer somewhere! What I really like about it is having a place to put the things I think are important about the news of the day pretty close to the time that other writers are doing the same. Better go see if Obama did a video address this morning.

3. Take every day as it comes. Carve out some time. Don't worry about the stuff coming up three weeks from now. Don't worry at all (LOL). Realize as I sit here blogging at 7 in the morning on a Saturday with nothing in particular to do or place to be that that is the nice part about today. Don't fill it up with anxiety and agita. Fill the day up with fun or relaxation or fiber or reading or quiet or cuddling. There are hours in each day for all of that, but they need to be made important. There's a grownup sitting in this chair, too. And there are a lot of things I can't control, but how the time feels, I can do that.

Meanwhile, of course, there are a million things to do. Birthday party next weekend in the house for 80,000 9 year old girls. Two other family birthdays. Starting a new job and changing my routine A LOT, I hope in a good way. But today is mostly yarn sampling, unpacking, playing, practicing for tomorrow's Offertory solo, hanging around with my family, now all together, yay!

I hope you have a lovely, lovely weekend filled with whatever you love best.

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