Friday, November 28, 2008

Belated Happy

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I'm thankful that I have friends who want to spend time with me and who are gracious enough to invite me into their homes. I'm thankful for the good food and laughter. I'm thankful for hominy casserole, sweet potatoes, and TURKEY.

I'm also thankful that I've found some answers this year. Just recently I stumbled upon a slim volume at the bookstore, improperly shelved in the wrong section (or was it? coincidence?), and apparently waiting just for me. What I'm reading has opened my eyes to the truth about my relationship with my deceased parents, specifically with my Mother. To date, in the four days since cracking the spine on it, I have written 64 single-spaced pages in 12-point type in my journal (on the laptop) with no sign of it letting up. This is some serious purging and reframing, people.

All I can say about it right now is... there have been so many things about my life that confused me and to which I had no explanation. Suddenly, it all makes absolute sense. That sound you're hearing?

It's the pieces falling into place.

Be blessed this holiday season. Peace out.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

I DO Knit Occasionally...

...I just have nothing to show for it yet. A couple of dishcloths is about it. No Giftmas Knitting for me this year. Besides—I'm infatuated with crochet right now and the cold weather has me finishing afghans I started 10 years ago. There are three on deck: Damknit's Hexagonal afghan (OK, that's new); a ripple afghan, and... I dunno, some other thing.

What I will show you, maybe this week, is my living room. Remember the mess? The mess that later translated to complete chaos thanks to unloading a 10x12 storage unit into my home this summer?

It's clearing up.

Yes, there is still a tower of boxes and tubs to sort through. BUT they are lined up neatly against one wall rather than haphazardly blocking the picture window (and giving the neighbors something to wonder about as they walk the dog). I've consolidated some stuff, moved all the boxes of "papers to sort" into the third room (my... guest room/"library"/where Dad's desk lives) which is where the filing cabinet is, and I've sorted four tubs of HANGERS into nice neat groups contained with a zip tie and carefully packed into ONE box destined for Goodwill. (There are that many extra hangers. OMG. And that's after keeping the good wooden ones and the skirt hangers to use to hold boots.)

I had to take a break, though, because the dust was getting to me. OMG, do I ever vacuum? Apparently not. *cough cough* And I'm sore. And my cleaning lady hair, OMG. I took a photo. I can't decide if I'm daring enough to put it out there in public.

Well, I've procrastinated long enough by checking email, getting the real mail (both mostly junk), and reading all my blogs... what's left is to move a few more things off the rug, vacuum it, and then... I get to rearrange the furniture.

That's actually what inspired me to finally do this. I had taken the laptop to the couch so I could sit back and work on a project, and I realized that for the past 48 going on 49 years, the couch in the living room has ALWAYS been in EXACTLY THE SAME SPOT. The couch itself has changed, but the POSITION never has!

For some reason, that bothered me! At my old house, I moved stuff around like five times before I got it the way I wanted it (then of course I moved). I decided I don't want it flat up against the center of the wall with an end table on either side and a chair on either side of that and the view straight out into the yard.

I want it at an angle.

I want to be able to choose whether to look outside OR look at the fireplace. Which hasn't been used in probably five years and I have no idea how to build a fire (on purpose) OR if it's even safe after being dormant OR who to call about it OR how much that might cost—BUT I want to be able to LOOK at it for a change.

I figure the cherry drop leaf table can go in behind it kind of like a sofa table for now. (I'm not even sure I'm keeping it. It's lovely, but... from what I recall, we never used it anyway! My parents picked it out, so it's not an heirloom like Grandma's dining table. It's the table I was never allowed to touch, had to be careful of, and that we never used. Why did we have it?)

The end tables? Mersman. They're OK. Not my style. I much prefer the really cool retro 70s modular table I also inherited. It's blonde. It goes with my blonde stacking tables. The chairs are OK—they can form a conversation area off to the side. The long narrow glass-topped bamboo coffee table will fit, too. I think this will all work.

I hope so.

Then maybe I'll go buy that metallic turquoise paint I've been thinking of putting around the fireplace...

The thing about inherited furniture is... if it's your style, great; if it's not, you feel guilty about passing it to someone else or selling it. But what are you supposed to do, just hold onto it anyway? Cherry—not my thing. Cherry, Early American. Echh. I prefer Mission, I still like Southwestern colors (though with an update), and I like light wood. The bamboo stuff works, though. It's organic.

OK. I'm getting cold now, so I must be rested.

Thanks for stopping by, see ya later.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ten Random Things Meme

Snagged this meme from Gotta Knit... you know the drill. Do if you feel like it.

1. Magazines subscribed to:
Parelli Savvy Times is about it, now that I've let everything else lapse due to budget considerations. Before, I'd subbed to Handwoven, Spin-Off, IK Knits, and Cast-Off (TGKA).

2. Aside from knitting, my favorite pastimes are:
Reading/writing but no rithmetic if I can help it; philosophy, design, music, fibers, cats, horses, sewing, movies, blogging...

3. If I were not an unemployed person (insert your own profession), I would be:
Actively participating in legal enslavement.

Oh. Uh, well? I've tried being a rock star and a graphic artist; I'd say horse trainer, cowgirl, philosophy professor, and/or bestselling author works for me.

No wait—just make that MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR LOTTERY JACKPOT WINNER. Yup. There ya go.

4. I am irrationally worried about:
Someone diagnosing me as certifiable and taking away all my rights.

5. If I were the opposite sex:
I'd love being able to "let loose" whenever and wherever the mood strikes me, write my name in the snow, and being able to take off my shirt in the summer heat. Other than that, I'd rather be female because despite civilization's attempts to instate gender equality, there is still a good faction that believes the man brings home the bacon and personally, if I could get a job being the stay-at-home wife, I'd do it. No bacon for me.

6. The thing I miss most about childhood is:
My parents being alive and healthy and able to run things so I could just play.

7. I like to collect:
Yarn, guitars, books, cowboy boots, scarves, bells.

8. Though I’ve never been there, I feel inexplicably homesick for:
Austin, Texas. When I can, I plan to visit to find out why.

9. I’ve never really liked to eat:
Fish, organs or leaves. That about sums it up.

10. When I have nightmares, they’re usually about:
Having all of my stuff stolen and being unable to do anything about it.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Pressure Relief

How about a few silly quizzes to release some tension? OK, good. (I'm doing all right. Big philosophical post to come, maybe tomorrow.)

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Name that Soda

I named 46 US states in 10 minutes How many US states can you name in 10 minutes?

Name That Beer Label

Name That Candy Bar

Name That Movie Villain

What are your chances of surviving a bear attack?

What are your chances of surviving a 100 foot fall?

I named 6 reindeer in 30 seconds Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? (In 30 seconds)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Piping Mad

I just got back from the meeting with a new realtor at my old house. She seems OK. I haven’t signed anything yet. I'd like to meet more than one before deciding.

While I was there at the house, I got some good news and some bad news.

The good news is, I don’t have to worry about the pipes freezing this winter.

The bad news is...

...that’s because THERE AREN’T ANY.

That's right. Someone got into my house and stole all the m-----fu--ng PLUMBING.

The realtor got there just before I did, so we entered together. Everything looked fine from out front. We peeked around back, everything looked fine. Front door, locked up tight.

We go in. We look at the living room. We both cock our heads quizzically at what appear to be a few stray... feathers?!? on the carpet? Hmm. Someone track them in? Geez, people, doormat? Simple to use, wipe feet before walking into room?

Realtor moves into the dining room. I hear, “Did you leave this door open last time?

I say, “Huh?

I follow her in—

The door to the garage is standing wide open.

The door from the garage to the outside is open.

OK that explains the feathers.

Everything in the garage is fine (wasn’t much out there worth taking).

I mutter something about people not locking up after themselves but think nothing of it because if someone didn't shut either door tightly and/or lock it, the wind or the eater of feathered things could have knocked it open. At this point, I'm still running with the wild animal invasion theory.

We look at the kitchen, she suggests painting the cabinets would improve it immensely and it’s cheaper than a redo.

We go upstairs. Everything’s fine, no critters. I open the door in the odd closet in the smallest bedroom to show how the shelves come out then you get attic access if you pull out fiberglass insulation—hmm, one of the shelves is down. Open the door. Everything’s intact... hmm. Oh, well, maybe nosy buyers.

All the other rooms, fine. She suggests painting the blue room and putting in the floor, and adding the transition sections from carpet to pergo in the rooms.

We go back downstairs then down to the basement. I notice the deadbolt to the basement is unlocked... hmm. People really should lock everything up the way I had it, turn off the lights, turn down the heat, geez. These realtors who show houses...

I go first. I take her flashlight (no electricity right now until I pay the bill and reinstate it). I get down there, and in the dim light, I realize... hey... who messed up the floor? It looks like someone dumped a bunch of drywall—

No wait, that’s—

Acoustic ceiling tiles? What are they doing on the—


Then it hits me. Someone has been in my house with ill intent.

Several ceiling tiles have been pulled down and broken (ruined) along the back wall. The metal frame that held them is bent beyond repair, wrenched from the ceiling. Wires are hanging down. There are a couple of insulation chunks pulled out. I think nasty thoughts about the damage and clean up, think, “well, I suppose I’ll get some insurance out of this”, then I think that’s the worst of it but then the realtor points out what I hadn’t noticed.

All the copper plumbing is GONE.

The pipes connecting the water heater are GONE.

The sump pump is messed up.

The security system horn has been ripped from the wall.

I nearly puke.

I turn to the realtor and say, “Without doing anything to it, how fast can you sell this place?” because I have now realized the option of renting is out of the question, I want nothing more to do with this house or this neighborhood, and I want the house GONE. NOW.

She’s going to work up some figures (with and without repairs).

We discovered the garage door was unlocked. I LOCKED IT LAST TIME. I bolted it. I made sure to give it a good jimmy to make sure it was solid. The bolt no longer works. Dunno if it was broken off or sawed off. But it was easy to open it up. Meaning, they left it accessible. My house has been standing wide open for God knows how many weeks (since the last realtor got the keys) and I had no idea. I’m sick. Well, we jammed a whole bunch of boards and stuff against the top to block it from being opened and I pulled the emergency brake. Bout all I can do unless I wanna call the garage door people too. I don't know if I mentioned discovering this summer that the wire had been cut to the power to open it electrically so I couldn't use the clicker to open it anymore? HMMMMMM.

(Sidenote. Must check to see if garage door opener is still in junk drawer. Even though the electricity has to be on for it to work.)

She left. I called the insurance company and the cops.

My insurance agent said because it’s been vacant the last 30 days and it's vandalism, my claim would very likely be denied and they’d cancel my policy, so... best not to file a claim because other things are still covered.


(So... arson from the outside would have gotten a settlement, but plumbing vandals doesn’t. And arson from the inside, such as vandals going inside and having a seance in the living room that goes wrong... not covered. Good to know.)

While waiting for the cops for about an hour (growing more impatient the darker it got), I saw a truck pull in next door at the house that had been vacant since 2005. I marched right over and introduced myself. The house is being rented. Nice family. Met the Dad, waved at Mom and the kids. Parents are about my age. We talked. We exchanged numbers. He’s keeping an eye on it for me. He has guard dogs that bark when a fly lands. They’ve only been there a month. He knows people who might be able to do the repairs. He also knows people looking to buy AND rent a house. I have feelers out.

Apparently, that’s why I was put on “hold” by the cop arrival, so I could meet the neighbor. Maybe he'll somehow be the blessing.

He did mention one thing of interest. Said a kid "not from the neighborhood" came and knocked on his door at 11:35 PM the other night. Asked to use the guy's cell phone. The guy was like "are you kidding me? No." Kid says, "OK, well, will you give me a ride back to the inner city?"

Uh... that would be NO?

I have to wonder if it's related to this at all.

A very nice cop came. He hates vandals who do this, with a passion. He did a VERY thorough job of inspecting stuff. He took a sample of pipe that had broken off. He fingerprinted the garage door. He said as long as I have it locked up tight now (which I do), and they can’t get in through jimmying a window (they jimmied a screen but discovered the windows are unjimmiable), the only option would be breaking in, and that makes too much noise.

He said they probably won’t come back because they already stripped it. He’s on that beat every night, and he said he’ll watch the house and do random checks. For once, a helpful cop. He managed to lift a partial print off the garage handle. (I learned fingerprints don’t last long, especially in rain, so... it was recent. Also no chance he got one of mine from months ago.)

While we were down there, we discovered that they even took the pipe the City put in from their line. They BROKE the water meter. (I just paid the damn bill to prevent shut off this week!!!!)

So, I’ve paid over $7000 to reinstate the damned mortgage (can I renige on that? I'd like to uninstate?), I have about $1000 to pay the electric company to get IT turned on, I had about $300 of repairs already on board for paint and door and now add $2000 worth of damage to the plumbing and ceiling in the basement (at least? according to the cop). And friends, I am still not working. And as I have no credit cards to speak of (other than Home Depot), this is all coming out of the cash I got when we sold Lot #3. The money I was supposed to survive on and start back in school with.

I have to have the ENTIRE basement water system reinstalled. Not something I can do myself, go to Home D, put it on my card. Nope. Licensed plumber. AND I have to call the City of Toledo Water people to tell them to come fix their meter.

Surprisingly, I’m calm. Maybe I’m just in shock. Maybe I figure, well, let’s see—terminal illness, two dead parents, fire at the one house... yep, pretty much par for the course, this compared to that is less worse... nothing I can do about it. It happened. No sense getting all freaked out. Won’t change it.

Hey, on the plus side, besides no frozen pipes to worry about, the criminals also had the decency to turn off the main water supply. No water damage. It's a small favor.

Do you have any idea what God’s trying to teach me here? Go ahead. Lay it on me. Cuz I can’t figure it out. I think I might as well give up on going back to school or any more horsemanship stuff, though. I’ll probably wind up working two jobs—IF I can get them—to pay for all of this and survive. {sigh} Because I can’t see much of a way out.

Well, if the last piece of property in the estate—of course, a house—sold right away, maybe... it sure would help. I was hoping my house could sell to finance my education and relieve me of the financial hemorrhage, but... now? I dunno.

I’m really trying to stay positive. I’m trying to see that there could be a blessing in this. I thought, repeat, insurance... but... probably not this time, so...what? What could it be? There HAS to be a blessing. I could be incredibly frustrated right now. I’ve been trying to get this bitch of a house sold for a year now. I’ve done what I can, without any money to work with. My hands feel tied. I dunno. In this case, I almost am leaning towards feeling like a victim.

Help me out here if you have insights. I’m just gonna eat, watch my TV shows, get lost in fake problems on Grey’s and ER, and see if God tells me anything.

I’m essentially OK. So far. I have given up on it. What I mean is, I can’t sit and worry about what else might happen to it when I can’t watch over it. So, I’ve given up. What happens, happens. Cross that bridge if it arrives. Oh, well. I’m not dead, so... as long as it isn’t killing ME, oh well, I’ll deal. Whatever. Maybe I should have just let it foreclose. Makes you wonder. Maybe fighting that wasn’t the right idea. Maybe fighting to keep it safe isn’t worth it anymore.

I am SO glad I no longer live there. It’s just not safe.

My hunch is that somebody cased it. Somebody called the realtor, posing as a buyer, so they could check out the access possibilities. I called my old Realtor to find out if it had been intact last time she was there and mentioned someone must’ve cut the garage door wire to allow for access. She said she doubted that, because someone would have to be alone to do that and no realtor would allow that to happen.

Oh yeah?

When I went to look at it in 1999, I did what they advised on HGTV and asked for a few minutes by myself to get the feel of the place. My realtor obliged. I could have done ANYTHING while she was out of eyeshot. If there was more than one person with a realtor, anybody could easily distract the realtor while another slipped out to go to the car, make a phone call, use the bathroom (cut the wire, unlock the door)... please let’s not be naïve about this. I am betting that someone cased the joint, then came back later to steal the pipes. They left such a horrendous mess down there. I’m so f---ing mad. Except it’s so deep down inside it hasn’t emerged yet.

I feel doubly violated now, because it’s the second break-in I’ve experienced with that house and it always costs ME money and (thankfully) they never take anything of VALUE! When I lived there, they destroyed my front door ($700) and stole the rent money from my roommate I was going to deposit the next day ($500) and a bunch of quarters and my roommate's old video camera that was busted. They cost me all that, for what? Well, they got cash. This time they ignored vacuum cleaners and lamps and went for copper pipes. I'd rather they had stole the vacuum and lamps. But $2000 worth of plumbing repairs? Oh my GOD.

Then my Sunfire was broken into three times when I worked downtown. I mean, GEEZ! What the hell is WRONG with people?

No city life for me anymore. Nope. Not ever. My suburb is looking mighty nice right now.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank You, Dad


For your two tours of duty and for what you did to serve this country (and to all the vets out there living and otherwise), I honor you and give you thanks, Dad. Air Force Captain Dad. I sure do miss you.

(Wasn't he a cutie? This photo sat on my parents' dresser for 50-some years. It was my Mother's favorite photo. Sigh.)

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

One Word Redux

I've done this meme before, but it could use an update (thanks, Stick, for the inspiration). In other news, my cat Ophelia turns 14 today. Happy Birthday, Oph!

Where is your mobile phone?

Where is your significant other?

Your hair colour?

Your mother?

Your father?

Your favorite thing?

Your dream last night?

Your dream goal?

The room you’re in?

Your hobby?

Your fear?

Where do you want to be in 6 years?

Where were you last night?

What you’re not?

One of your wish-list items?

Where you grew up?

The last thing you did?

What are you wearing?

Your TV?

Your pets?

Your computer?

Your mood?

Missing someone?

Your car?

Something you’re not wearing?

Favourite shop?

Your summer?

Love someone?

Your favorite color?

When is the last time you laughed?

When is the last time you cried?


Thursday, November 06, 2008

To Anonymous

Oh, I might be setting myself up in the line of fire for this, but I really hope it's read with the right intention in mind because it is meant to help. That said, here goes... [donning flame-retardant suit]

I welcome everyone's opinions, I really do, because I'm a philosopher at heart and I enjoy debating things as long as it's done with respect. So it was great to have a few weigh in on the last post. I especially like it when people have the courage to own their opinions.

And then there are those who, for whatever reason, will not own their opinion, possibly for fear of being attacked over it. Understandable. However, I would hope that anyone who reads my blog would feel safe enough to express it. I'm really quite harmless. :-)

But sometimes I see or hear things that trouble me and cry out for a response. This is one of those times.

My dear Anonymous, whomever you are... you wrote:
I just hope this change doesn't cause my husband to have to close his business when the tax increases start hitting.
Well, I hope your husband doesn't have to close his business, either. I really hope he continues to be successful. I'd be surprised, however, if a business fails solely on the basis of an increase in taxes. Failure is never attributable to one factor; it usually takes a multiple of factors to contribute to something as monumental as a complete business shutdown.

So I really wouldn't worry about it that much. The man going into the White House in 75 days is smart enough to take into account the other components of the economic equation. The 30% uniform tax being proposed would only be an issue if all other components remain the same as they are right now. Yes. That would be a problem. If wages remain low, joblessness continues, prices for common things like milk and gas skyrocket again—yes. But as previously stated, Obama is smart. He has wise counsel. If taxes are adjusted AND more jobs are available AND the cost of living improves AND wages improve, we really won't notice the 30% that much. It's a fair trade off for an overall enormous improvement across the board.

And no, I'm NOT currently a member of the wealthy untouchables (were I...). I've actually been having a pretty rotten year financially speaking, but it's finally on the upswing, and I see HOPE for the first time in two years.

I am also a firm believer, with first-hand evidence, that what we focus on is what we get—so I'm sorry to say it would not surprise me if you did come back with reports of the business failing. Not because Obama is in the House, not because of tax increases—if it fails it is based on mindset.

I'm sure you'll find this offensive, for which I apologize, as that is not my intent. My intent is to teach a principle I've learned myself this past year that could really help prevent the very experience you fear. Having been in the hot seat myself, I know it's difficult to face the truth when you learn that you and you alone are responsible for your state of affairs. YOU are wholly responsible for what you experience. NOBODY ELSE is to blame, and nothing else is to blame. Not taxes, not the government, not your job, your spouse, your kids, your mother-in-law, your drinking problem, your hangnails, your dog, your school system, the weather, the neighbors up the road, the auto manufacturers, global warming—YOU.

What you think, you get. What you believe, you'll manifest. To me, it sounds as if you have already decided that your husband's business will fail, and you've chosen a possible future event as the culprit to blame it on. If that is what you choose to carry in your thoughts and envision as the end result of the election, then I'm so sorry. Not that Obama won, but that you opted to make that particular thought choice when it would have been just as easy to say,
"OK... some folks think this Obama tax increase is going to kill their business... too bad for them. I'm opting out."
It's like what Jack Canfield (author, Chicken Soup series and the Success Principles) says. "I hear there's a recession but I've decided not to participate".

I'll pray for you and your husband, and pray that your business thrives regardless of the changes afoot. I'm sorry I had to put this out in public, but I don't know who you are... you had a choice, you could have left your name, but you chose to remain Anonymous.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Palpable Relief

Obama is the President-Elect.

This morning, I woke up with the most profound sense of peace and hope. Throughout the day, I've chatted with friends and perused many blogs, and I find it astounding that:
  • this election has people in an ecstatic tizzy worldwide
  • I am not the only one who woke up feeling like "everything's gonna be all right now"
His speech last night was so inspiring that it gave me goosebumps and THAT does not happen very often. I get the feeling that this man will lead the nation with an attitude of justice and fairness that we haven't seen in a long time. He listens. He thinks for himself. And I feel that he will truly listen to the American public and make decisions for the common, greater good—that for the first time, a President will make a habit of setting aside personal biases to do what is best for ALL.

If I can see this, why can't others? I received a disturbing email rant from someone I've known for a very long time. Apparently, she's now a Republican—I never would have guessed. She is as Caucasian as they come. Her husband is Hispanic, and she has in-laws that comprise the ethnic rainbow. I guess I find it perplexing that Obama didn't get her vote. But what troubles me most is the vicious level of venom and fear that is being flung by the "losing" side. As much as we are celebrating, they are not just disappointed, they are downright freaked out. Big time. I also sadly unsubscribed from one blog because of a particularly venomous rant that accused Americans (the blogger is overseas) of hanging themselves with this choice of President, and referred to the American public (of which I am a member) as having become over the last nine years "fatter, dumber, more violent, and lately, poorer".

OK, whoa there. That's me and my friends you're talking about.

I don't know much about politics, just enough to be dangerous. But from what I know, Republicans seem to be more conservative in nature. They adhere to the tried-and-true, following well-established "protocol" in all things. They're more conservative in their religious and moral beliefs. Democrats appear to be the opposite. More liberal, more open-minded, more capable of considering alternate perspectives and ideologies. They are willing to take a few risks to make things better.

People, it doesn't matter to me what side you choose. But the people have spoken, and the majority of us want Obama in the White House. Can we at least respect the outcome and the people involved? The mudslinging should have ended with the campaign's end.

When we were getting "fatter, dumber, more violent, and lately, poorer", who was in charge?

A Republican. For eight years.

Look. We tried out Bush for four years. Then the shinola hit the fan. Then election time came around again in 2004, and we had a choice to make. I'll admit I was wavering. One newsman said that in times of economic uncertainty, voters tend to lean towards more conservative candidates. Hence, Bush won again over Kerry. I'll admit I was a bit afraid of Kerry, because he was proposing big changes, doing things differently than they'd ever been done before, and taking risks. I, like many other nervous Americans, didn't feel safe allowing risks to be taken so soon after 9-11. I leaned conservative, as did the majority. (Yes. Blame me. I'm responsible for this mess, LOL!)

Personally, I think we learned our lesson.

A wise man often says, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got". We re-elected Bush in '04. And what did we get? More of what we'd already gotten, and look where it's gotten us. There used to be three classes: wealthy, middle, and poor. In eight years, we've lost the middle class; it has been absorbed mostly into poor.

This needs to change. The middle classes, from lower to upper, need to be re-established so that there is a graduated hierarchy of success again, so that there is a ladder to climb. Once upon a time, the middle class had three options: stay comfortably in the middle; take action to move up; or, though most wouldn't consciously choose this, move down a rung or two. It was possible to ascend level by level to as high as one wished to go. Back then, having a college degree practically guaranteed protection from insufferable things such as foreclosures, layoffs, not being able to fill the gas tank, having no retirement funds. Cold comfort to the engineer with the PhD who is ringing up tires at Sears after his company folded.

Right now, there are the wealthy on one side, and the rest of us on the other, with an enormous unbridgeable gap between us caused by the economic crisis, the housing market disaster, the jobless rate. Those who are not wealthy have nowhere to go. There is no gradual "up" anymore. Redistribution has to happen to rebuild the gradient class scale.

If McPalin had won, what would we have gotten? Even more of the same. Possibly worse.

It was time for something completely different. I don't care what flavor you are, if you think you can run this country a better way by taking risks and thinking outside the box, then PLEASE. Do so.

This country NEEDS change, needs to be shaken up a little, and new philosophies need to take hold. To anyone who thinks we're Effed because Obama won, all I can say is, how could we be? We are already Effed. We couldn't possibly be more Effed as a country. And we got that way by continuing to do things exactly as they'd been done before! Hello! McFly?

I'm not really sure what the problem is. Radical change makes perfect sense to me. In fact, it seems to be our last resort—

Help us, Obama Wan Kenobi, you're our only hope.

If it wasn't working as it was, why keep doing it that way?

Yesterday, I voted for change. And change won.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Done Voted!

I guess I can consider myself lucky. I wasn't sure if I was registered in my current precinct or my old one. Thank God it was current--the alternative meant a half hour trip and very long lines in a city!

In my current precinct, voting takes place at a church around the corner. There were two whole people in line ahead of me. Gotta love the burbs of small college towns. I read my ballot three times carefully to make sure it said BARACK. (You know? I just came out as a Democrat.)

I'll admit some disappointment. No Proposition 8 on my ballot. Is that only California or something? Bummer. I was all set to vote whichever way meant I approve of letting everyone marry. Because I think everyone SHOULD have that right, regardless of whatever. Oh well. I'll keep my fingers crossed for those of you affected by its outcome.

After voting, I celebrated by buying yarn. Nothing fancy. ACKrylic. Yes. Please don't hurt me. I couldn't help myself. I saw Damknit's hexagonal lapghan on her blog the other day and had to make it. (Erin, aka Damknit, refers to it as "ugly", but I think it's pretty because the black border gives it the appearance of stained glass).

And get this—it's crocheted! Yes, the blog is becoming Crochety Banter for a little while. I emailed her for the pattern notes (which she kindly provided), and have been brainstorming color schemes ever since. Remember the baby sweater experience? And I still haven't hardly gotten anywhere with that. The grand-nieces will be all grown up by the time I finish. Oh, well. They'll just have to be GREAT grand-niece sweaters. But I digress.

In the spirit of frugality, I ransacked my yarn closet because I knew I had a bunch of close-out Caron Simply Soft in a bunch of purples and raspberries that I bought about 10 years ago. I thought would work, if I had enough. I did. And the colors are glorious. Except. I got three hexes whipped up before I discovered that while the two purples and the light grey I'd chosen were worsted, the pinks were sport. Didn't crochet to the same size and though I could adjust for gauge, I'm all about consistency.


Well, I'm not really that big on the scheme, anyway. Pink and purple. I think I wanted my bedroom painted those colors. In like 1970. Maybe I'll save it for the grand-nieces because they're more likely to see a finished product before they're in junior high.

I set off to the local El Cheapo Yarn Outlet to scour the racks for a reasonable worsted match for the pinks. I found it. But.

I also found THESE colors (in Red Heart Super Saver).

RHSS Fall Ombre Lapghan Swatches

Which lead to my coming up with THIS schematic.

Fall Ombre Lapghan Layout

You can't tell from the swatch, but the Fall Ombre contains all of these colors plus a rich deep green. I was smitten. In the layout above, the weird radial gradient hexes will be the ombre. I have no idea how it will turn out, but since hexes are crocheted "in the round", it should be pretty cool. I'll post pix of the progress.

Thank you, Erin, for the inspiration and pattern help! :-)

That's enough blogging for one day. Now to sit back and crochet hexes and watch election results. Popcorn, anyone?

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If We Can Choose Based On Looks...

...then why not on astrological signs? I did a little research, and...

Barack Obama

August 4, 1961

Joe Biden
November 20, 1942

John McCain
August 29, 1936

Sarah Palin
February 11, 1964


I know just enough about astrology to say that I'd rather have an assertive, bold, direct Leo and a sharp-witted, tell-the-truth-even-when-it-hurts Scorpio in the White House than a (no offense to my blogfriends of these signs) picky, hypercritical Virgo and a wishy-washy, can't-commit-to-a-decision-to-save-her-life Pisces.

Obama/Biden. For an Astro-Appropriate Future.


My Umbrella

What Your Red Umbrella Says About You

When faced with adversity, you respond aggressively. A part of you enjoys being challenged.

You don't back down easily. You have the confidence and character to lead.

You are outrageously brazen with you ideas, opinions, and statements.

You'll say what you think, and no one will silence you!

On a rainy day: you should continue your plan to rule the world... while everyone stays home and naps

The Umbrella Test


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Have You Ever... (A Meme)

It's going around... feel free to borrow for your own blog...

1. Gone on a blind date?
Yes, a couple. They didn’t go well. One of them was a blind and double date with the friends who set us up. They were mortified when my date proceeded to drink his dinner (whiskey, on the rocks), eat nothing, and become rude and belligerent. He then got into a heated philosophical debate with me and we were definitely on opposing sides. My friend picked up the tab on my meal as an apology and we never spoke of it again.

2. Skipped school?
Yup. Senior year was insane for me. I’m surprised I graduated, to be honest (brains aside). One time I was granted the privilege of taking the car to school. My friend and I bailed early in the morning and drove to a neighboring little town’s high school about 30 miles away to pick up her “long distance” boyfriend and another friend (for me, another blind date), and of course nobody thought to check the fuel tank, so… how embarrassing to run out of gas on the way home when we were so close to getting off scott-free. Karma, baby. ☺

3. Been on the opposite side of your country?
Yes. Lived on the opposite side of my country for a little over a year. Been to both sides of it. Hmm. Actually, I’ve been to all four sides and crossed all the borders except the Western one! (Into Mexico, into Canada, over the Atlantic to England… I guess Hawaii must be next.)

4. Swam in an ocean?
Yes. Swam in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. Stuck toes in the Pacific when I lived in California. If swimming in the Gulf of California when we visited my Uncle in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico counts as swimming in the Pacific, then I guess I’ve done that, too.

5. Had your booze taken away by the cops?

6. Lettered in a high school sport?
As if! I was a band geek.

7. Cried yourself to sleep?
Yes, especially in 2006 and 2007. I think I cried myself to sleep every night for a year after my Mother died. And every morning. The day I didn’t was the day I knew I was on the road to recovery.

8. Played a musical instrument?
Let’s see… guitar (acoustic and electric), bass, bassoon, clarinet, tenor sax, french horn and vocals. I’d say yes.

9. Sung karaoke?
Yes. But every time I do, I feel like I have an unfair advantage since I’ve also sung professionally with bands and had lessons.

10. Cheated on an exam?
No. But I’ve had others try to cheat off of me.

11. Played spin-the-bottle?

12. Laughed until some sort of beverage came out of your nose?
Yes. Let me say for the record that Coke hurts something fierce, and milk, though you’d think it would be silky smooth, hurts as well. Let me ask THIS: have you ever burped and farted simultaneously? Or laughed so hard that you did that?

13. Watched the sun rise with someone you care about?

14. Ever been arrested?
Um, yeah. I was a kid. (As if that excuses it!) OK, also once as an adult but a young stupid one who learned her lesson (reckless op! naughty girl!).

15. Gone ice skating?
This is interesting? OK… sure. I have. Took a few lessons even. Can do a salchow. Or could, when I was 10. Nowadays if I go ice skating it’s not on purpose…

16. Been skinny dipping?
Sure, lots of times. Again. In my youth.

17. Been on television?
Yes, more than once. First time, I was maybe 7? Got onto some Public TV kids’ show as the entertainment. Played Beethoven's "Für Elise" on guitar. It was going smoothly until I looked up, saw the camera, and realized halfway through that I was on TV. I froze like a deer in headlights, and completely blanked out on the place where it changes from the main “deedledeedledeedledeedle deee dah daah” part to the “dah dah dah DAHHHH… duh DAH dah daaaahhh” bridge and just sat there in stunned fumbling silence until something kicked in and I finished the song.

My Mom said I only hesitated, but in my head, I’d stopped for five minutes. That moment has haunted me forever. I’ve always been kind of relieved at the end of an evening when I’ve gotten through the entire set without forgetting a word or musical passage. Must be why I have a mental block about auditioning on bass or guitar, but seem to have no fear when it's a vocal audition.

Then I was on TV when the News came out to the mall to film our band playing. Our band had come up with the Crossover Coalition, a “movement” designed to bring unity among local bands to promote cooperative bookings and the mall concert was a promotion for that (our band and the other Coalition members). In our town, bands competed rudely for gigs. We thought if we worked together to book them, trading off who got to headline versus who opened, it would foster cooperation versus competition and make it better for all of us. My appearance on TV was a brief shot of me and the band. You could hear me singing, and the newscaster commented to the other reporters “She looks like Edie Brickell!” (He was smitten. LOL!)

18. Thrown up in front of a date?
LOL! Yup. Didn’t realize I had, until I came to. It was Halloween weekend, 1982. My college beau took me home for the weekend to party with his friends, BIG party. They liked to drink Jack & Coke. I was foolish enough to think I could keep up with them. I got rip-snorting drunk. We got back to his parents' place after the party and apparently somewhere along the way I’d blacked out… I came to, hovering over the toilet. My beau was trying to clean it up.

I’d missed. I got both of us. Blatantly. I have to give the guy credit though—it must’ve been love, because he took it like a man, and he even did my laundry, though I never quite got over the fact that he washed my favorite black jeans in hot water. They went in a size 11 and came out a size 7. Sigh.

Those days are long ago and far away. Nowadays, I'm lucky if I can swig down three Coronas before I have to go take a nap.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hey! Where'd October Go?

Hi! Sorry bout that! I am still alive. October didn't give me much to post about. Now it's November. Good grief. So let's see, what went on in October?

Cheerios and I attended our second clinic of the year with the same instructor at a beautiful farm in Michigan. This was a solid L2 clinic and it was enlightening as always. On the first day, Cheerios very graciously pointed out all my "holes" (in my savvy and knowledge). On the second day, we filled in those holes and made wonderful progress. And, I cantered my horse "in public" for the first time in years! For the first time in a clinic, anyway. Jesse said we've made great strides since the last time he saw us. I love my horse.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a trailer ride up with one of the girls from my barn. She took her mare along. They went a few miles up the road to a cross-country jumping course and jumped while I did the clinic. It worked out well.

What else?

Let's see. The Mothership, which already needs a $300 wheel bearing job (it's going bad and it triggers the ABS system which is annoying and prevents the fancy braking system from kicking in, but I still have brakes) developed a new noise right before the clinic that could only be described as (when I turned the wheel) CGGUNNKKK! followed by squeakysqueakysqueaksqueak as I bounced down the road. Turned out to be another $300 repair job—dang front sway bar broke.

Well, I did my research and found me a new mechanic who's a little more affordable than my Dad's. No offense, Dad, but... he'd probably have found him eventually. This guy's only been in business officially for a few years but he has extensive knowledge. He did a good job. No more squeaky cgunk sound. The wheel bearings I'm waiting on a bit longer. The guy gave me the run down of what I'll need to maintain in the coming months and says for a 2001 Buick with less than 40,000 miles on it, it's in great shape. He called it a "cream puff"—said it's a dealer's dream, and I should get another 5 years out of it because it's old in age but young in use. That's good news. It'll see me through graduate school.

OH. Great news! Lot #3 IS SOLD! I didn't want to post before lest I jinx it, and after all the false alarms we've had this year, I'm sure you understand. We got a good offer on a Saturday, cash, and we took it. No negotiating. Then we held our breath until the 30th. Thursday, I drove down to the closing. Relief. That leaves Lot #1 with the house and my own house in the next city to be sold.

I also took a look at the house down there to see the fire damage firsthand. Well, the bad news is, the one wall that was affected is pretty scary and the poor house, with a huge blue tarp billowing in the breeze and all the windows boarded up, she looks sad, like a war victim. The good news is, 90% of the house is still as good as it was before all this, albeit a tad messy from all the firefighters tromping around in there, and the damage is totally fixable. And it didn't smell of smoke! Not at all! It only smelled like musty old house like it always has.

The guy who bought Lot #2 has been busy clearing out brush in preparation to build. He's a nice guy. So are the folks who bought Lot #3 and oddly enough, they're neighbors already but didn't realize they were buying next door to each other. They are all so welcoming to me, it really helps make the transition easier. That Lot #2 is initiating contact just to keep in touch and keep me updated means a lot to me. I allowed him to escort me around the lot and describe the "vision". His love of the land and his excitement about the house he and his new wife are building was so infectious.

I began to let go of the sadness and guilt I'd been feeling since I realized two years ago I'd have to sell the place. I'm not losing anything; in  a way, we are blending our families together, with the common thread being the land that we love. The house there sheltered my family members for over 120 years. Now it is expanding to shelter two new families (with a third to come once Lot #1 sells). They're building dreams for their families and leaving a new legacy.

When I signed the contract to renew the listing for Lot #1 (which expired that day), for the first time, I did it with a smile on my face and happy feelings in my heart.

Now I just have a couple of little things to take care of with my other house now that I have the cash to do it (sister assumed we'd split it and I wholeheartedly agreed), then I can find a more aggressive realtor and get that thing GONE too. Or maybe I'll find a rental agent. Anybody have advice? Sell or rent?

I've made a few decisions about my future. We'll see how they pan out. When they do, I will let you know. In knitting news, I finished a dishcloth. Yes, an actual dishcloth. Not a Faux Dishcloth like some other people I know. ;-)

Hope you all are well. I'll try to remember I have a blog this month.

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