A Weird Weekend

I hope you had a lovely weekend and a Happy Easter if you celebrate it. My weekend was fine though surreal. I’m getting used to living in a universe next to “normal”.

On Wednesday N contacted us. I think he called on the telephone. That ups the alert level in a way. He’d taken his twice weekly (or maybe it’s thrice, the rules change and the updates arrive after the rules have been applied.) Covid test and failed. This kid doesn’t usually fail tests so he was thrown off kilter. Per the college rules as we knew them he was to leave campus and return home since travel via public transportation wasn’t necessary. We picked him up and had him home before the school could email us their new rules for quarantine (aka: we have so many test failures that we can’t house everyone individually so you’re on your own and we can’t feed you all so here’s UberEats vouchers. N was disappointed to miss out on those since those who traveled home were on their own for food. I think the pizza we ordered served as a fair consolation prize.

After years of playing nurse to my children I know what them being sick looks like. Both children have allergies so I’m familiar with that too. If it’s April N is suffering from his usual maple pollen allergy: most pronounced symptom is a cough. So having failed the Covid test I expected to see something, anything additional to the normal for April cough. Nothing. No fever, no runny nose, no headache. Just the usual April cough.

The email from the school included the instructions to do nothing until you hear from us again on day 5 with further instructions. And do not contact us. His one class was canceled on Thursday because more than half the class was on the failure list. He consoled himself with video games.

Yesterday aka day 5 arrived and the instructions were to come back to the school and test. If you pass you may return on day 6. If you fail you may return on day 12, no test required. In a not Easter miracle N passed his test and will return to school later today.

While our expected Easter weekend was turned upside down we made the most of what we were given. And in this universe that’s adjacent to “normal” that’s the best we can do.

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Armchair Anthropology

As I’ve said before I love to turn things over and look at them in different ways. I like to see the way things evolve and change. I enjoy observing people and how they live, what they value and what they share with the world. I think that’s one of the things that draws me to blogs, YouTube and social media in general. I also turn that interest around and apply it to myself. Introspection shall we say.

The Husband and I back when we were first married had one television so there was negotiation over what we’d watch. We both got our way on the individual must see things. We watched a lot of 30 minute sitcoms. They were popular at the time. At some point we shifted over to 60 minute dramas. We were still watching scripted programming but the storylines were more involved. The evolution from one style of program to another was slow. I don’t think we were aware that it was even happening. Isn’t that how evolution works? We then shifted to docuseries, things like Survivor, Dirty Jobs or Swamp People. Now we are watching more individual made content like YouTube and Instagram.

What I like about the content I chose to watch on YouTube (The Husband uses Instagram, I don’t.) is the passion the creators bring to the videos they made. I also enjoy seeing the different interests. The watching of YouTube is an activity The Husband and I share which in and of itself I find interesting. Our interests are vastly different but we still negotiate what we watch. While I don’t think either of us would have initially chosen to watch the videos of the other we’ve come to look forward to and appreciate the content that these people present.

I’ve read that Andy Warhol said that in the future everyone would be world famous for 15 minutes. I don’t know if that’s true but places like YouTube have given me the opportunity to “get to know” people I wouldn’t have otherwise. And to me that’s a good thing.

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My Own Backyard

I’ve been a lifelong citizen of Massachusetts. Legally I’ve always been a resident even if I did live away from 1985-1992*. I’ve always voted here and paid taxes. I am used to living in a place steeped in history (of the US variety). My ears perk up and my interest is peeked when something is Massachusetts related. I’m a fan of the Red Sox, Bruins, Patriots and Celtics not by interest but by blood. I have a keen interest in what happens in my state currently and in the past. It’s just how I’m wired. Maybe you feel that way about the place you hail from, maybe not. We are all different.

In my travels around the World Wide Web if I see something Massachusetts I take a moment to see what is being shown. I happened upon a Substack that has a Massachusetts centric view. I happened upon a piece written about the Salem Witch trials, a topic I find both endlessly interesting and completely disturbing. I’ve read quite a bit about that time and have seen a number of documentaries. I’ve visited the area and gone to some of the “attractions”. I’ve visited the cemetery. I know what I’ve read about this time and place. I don’t know the feelings of the citizens or the circumstances of each of the individual people. I know a confluence of things came together and created a perfect storm, not the only one to hit my home state, of craziness and tragedy. There are lessons to be learned. History can repeat and it’s important to remember and reflect.

This is the article. Read it if you wish. There are more articles on this substack (just go to the archive and see the list) that I found to be of value not just to the people of Massachusetts but to the people who feel the winds of the storms that originate here.

*These dates are the years that The Husband served in the Air Force. We lived in California and Maine. But Massachusetts was, is and will always be home.

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Dog whistle

Look at that I’m back again. We had some windy wild weather overnight. Lots of driving rain. The kind of weather that makes the storm windows rattle and the house groan. So yes, my sleep was repeatedly interrupted. Alas, a poor night’s sleep is bonus thinking time I guess.

I love little phrases that sound crazy but have unexpected meaning. One of those is the worm that flies at night. I have a chronic case of that. At night when tossing and turning trying to find that comfortable spot so I can go back to sleep something will creep into my mind and I’ll be forced to give it a turn over to see who, what, when, where and why it’s there. I consider what is making it pop up and how do I feel about that. I’m no philosopher but I do use my brain for thinking and often in the dark of night while counting the minutes until morning I see something in a way I didn’t before. An epiphany of sorts.

When I was a kid and I discovered that dog whistles existed I wanted one. I just thought that I’d be able to use that whistle to magically call Fittle, my apricot miniature poodle to me silently. I didn’t understand how it worked but I thought it was a tool I needed. When I begged my mother to buy me one she took the time to explain to me that while we humans can’t hear the sound it’s super loud to the dogs. She told me she’d seen people use them and how the dog’s ears would twitch and the response was best over a great distance not from one room to another in a small house. To blow the silent whistle up close would be like nails on a chalkboard to Fittle. I still hate the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

A lot of years passed until I heard the phrase dog whistle again and that time it had a very different meaning. It was a political term where a word or phrase is used to signal a certain group: a sound only they will understand and react to.

My guess is the dog whistle word of the moment is groomer. As a person allergic to most dogs but still a dog lover I am well acquainted with which breeds don’t shed and how one deals with dogs with coats that continuously grow: you hire a groomer.

I also know that word has other meanings. Basically it’s a person who over time convinces you to do something you wouldn’t have done if they’d just told you to do it outright at the beginning. Think advertising. What? I’m sure I’ve confused you. Imagine living in my head. Companies don’t come out and say buy our product or else. They convince (aka groom) you need their product. A cruise company for example will show you people having fun, fancy dining, exciting destinations and tell you about a lifetime of memories They want you to imagine yourself in the scene.

The companies want your money but they can’t just demand you hand it over. That’s robbery. They have to convince you that you want whatever they’re offering so you’ll hand your money over.

I’ll never forget the ad I saw in the back of a magazine when I was small. It was to buy a monkey through the mail. I don’t remember how much it cost, maybe $20, but I asked if I could order a monkey. (Yes, I was a pain in the ass as a kid and I probably still am.) Being sensible my parents said no. No monkey. We don’t order animals through the mail. At some point later we went to visit my mother’s friend Mary Grace. Her kids were teenagers and did pretty much what they wished. When we arrived Michael who was 4 or 5 years older than me asked if I wanted to see their monkey. They had ordered the monkey through the mail that my parents said no to. The look I gave my mother! You probably won’t be surprised that I was shocked and saddened to see the tiny sickly spider monkey (I had expected a chimpanzee) cowering in the back of the bird cage. That was a lesson right there about so many things. The least of which was truth in advertising.

Much like advertising which can be used to manipulate for good or bad, words can be used to manipulate for good or bad. It’s up to each individual to do their due diligence to learn how a dog whistle works and what they’re being sold by who. That little frightened spider monkey died a few weeks after I saw it. It should never have been offered for sale through the mail to people who had no idea how to care for it. Will we look back at the things we are being sold with the same feelings? I don’t know but I do know what’s advertised isn’t always what you get.

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Happy Thursday

The weekend is almost here.

Let’s have a little conversation. I’ve been sitting back (not on the couch since the wind seems to have shifted on that for the moment) and watching, reading and listening. I spend a fair amount of time on different views. Mind you I still have my own view but I like to see what all sides have to say about different things.

Overall I’m a pretty live and let live kind of person. Don’t inflict your stuff on me and I won’t inflict mine on you. If you don’t like ice cream I don’t care. I don’t understand but it’s your palate not mine. If I could eat it for every meal and did you probably don’t care. You’d probably mention in passing that you don’t understand how one person can eat that much ice cream*. That would be about the extent of the conversation unless you pushed it further. I wouldn’t. That isn’t me.

I’ve been following a few issues that are pretty mainstream in the media currently. The arguments on both side have merits if viewed in a vacuum. It isn’t until both sides are looked at can the flaws ON BOTH SIDES be seen. Life isn’t lived in a vacuum so in practice everything has flaws.

When I was a kid it was commonplace to be told to look at the other person’s point of view when having a dispute. The words how do you think they feel were even said. Using this method lets someone get a feel (notice I didn’t say understand) for the other side. Is this not a thing anymore? Don’t people put themselves in someone else’s shoes? I remember being told when writing an essay to put forth both sides of an argue and put facts to support your position. Don’t they teach that in school anymore?

I follow a spicy thread in a forum on Ravelry just to watch the back and forth on the different incendiary topics. There is a lot of what I’d call insulting (when you attack the person as being dumb or uninformed or attack where they get their information and not stick to the topic) and a small amount of data. It’s a big photos or it didn’t happen kind of place. For example if I said I ate chocolate ice cream I better post a photo or they’d argue with me that it was vanilla or that I’d eaten liver. Even though it was my ice cream, I ate it and tasted it. No photo then they’re right. One time I’ve seen someone say a person of the opposite position had a good point. Yes, once. And yes, one point. The needle doesn’t move there at all.

I try not to be a what about person when I argue but in a lot of cases the only point that can be brought up is the what about. In heated discussions people rarely move closer in opinion. They often move farther apart. That is the nature of having a conviction, rightly or wrongly. The what about is usually a unicorn thought. Either no one mentions it because it’s contrary to their position or it’s so unusual it’s unlikely to be an important point.

What I often see when two people (or more really) on different sides of an issue argue is a toddler flailing on the floor in a complete meltdown. There is no winner here. There is no productive exchange of ideas. Unless all parties are grownups and can listen and respond like an adult there is no point in entering the conversation.

I have no easy answers to any of the big issues. I have my own personal beliefs which I follow no matter how the wind is blowing. I have no problem with others doing the same. Where I do have a problem is when people tell me what I should believe, how I should feel and how I should behave. They want the choice to do as they wish but don’t want to give others the same choice. I do have a big problem with that.

So feel like expressing your opinion in the comments? How do you think big issues should be dealt with? Do you see any way people with big differences of opinion can get a feel for the other side? As always I’m happy to have back and forth in the comments.

*Just to clarify I don’t eat ice cream for every meal or even every day. You’d probably be surprised to know that I haven’t actually eaten any in a couple of months. It’s just a minimally controversial item that removes talking about a big topic. Imagine the horror if I talked about yarn: acrylic v. wool. There would be blood in the comments. And just so you know, my opinion is that both have pluses and minuses. My stash contains both and I use them in projects as I see fit. In my opinion you are free to do as you see fit.

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Why?

I got distracted. Where was I? It was spring break and N was home. He spent the week slinging coffee and donuts (and other morning addictives) at his job. Unfortunately there was an upset in management at his locale and it required extra patience. He picked up lots of extra hours because they are super short on staff. How does this intrude in my life? Well our usual no real schedule was turned off and N’s job/vacation plans was turned on. The alarm clock went off early (one day at 4:30!) every day and video games were played until the wee hours. It was nice to have him home, feed him some home cooking and all that but I still haven’t caught up on my sleep.

I revisited the Panic Sweater and decided to pass for now. As much as I love the idea I don’t need another project I won’t work on. I haven’t knit a single stitch. The socks are still waiting to be kitchenered. The other socks I started are just sitting along with a few other things. I’ll consider the sweater when I’m back in the knitting groove.

Now the question I posed in my title. Why? As I look around (figuratively) at all the things going on I ask why. To what end? Pick the crisis/situation and ask why. There is no place to see a well thought out response. Is it so hard to answer a simple question? The only response I can come up with as to why is we (the average human) won’t like the answer.

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It’s All Connected

I know I’ve mentioned in the past my brain works weirdly. Some of you said you’ve had similar things happen: out of seemingly nowhere a thought or view pops into your head and it gives you a momentary blast from the past. Well I had a creepy one pop up this week.

When I was in either kindergarten or first grade at the progressive catholic school (where we regularly attended the viewings of the dead nuns) I attended through 2nd grade (unsurprisingly they closed at that point) we had a screening of a movie that the entire student body (grades k-12) watched together. I have no idea why we watched Fantastic Voyage but we did. There must have been some lesson there that I didn’t get at the time. My big takeaway was fear. When the white blood cell engulfed the guy it freaked me right out. I don’t think I looked at the screen from that point on.

This memory hadn’t popped into my head in ages. I know when people talk about scary movies this is in my list but not at the top. I find Race With The Devil and The Sentinel much scarier. Anyway, the poor guy being swallowed by the white blood cell popped into my head when I was doing some reading online.

Naomi Wolf has been speaking out about the Covid situation and I have been following her gettr and substack. Her website, Daily Clout is crowdsourcing a deep dive into the 55,000 pages of Pfizer documents (200+ attorneys and 1200+ volunteers) that were recently released. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Naomi Wolf. She’s a liberal feminist who served as an advisor during the Clinton Administration. She’s also a mother and step mother who has concerns about how children have been treated during the pandemic.

How do these two disconnected bits of my story fit together? As I was learning that the nanolipid particles don’t stay in the muscle in the shoulder as we had been told they would all I could picture was the body fighting back against the invaders just like the white blood cell swallowing the guy in the movie. I recommend reading Naomi Wolf’s gettr and substack. She’s got a lot of information and links to additional people who are sharing things that are related.

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It’s A Good Thing I Have This Blog

Or I’d forget when I started these socks. On September 15, 2021 I posted that I was casting on this yarn to knit plain old stockinette socks. And they still aren’t completely done. I did finish the knitting and just have to kitchener the toes. I’ll get to them this week hopefully. The yarn is Supernova Dyeworks Desmos sock in the my other ride is a unicorn colorway.

Honestly these having been sitting for a while. I’ve got to get them off the needles (and off my back) before I cast on the sweater swatch I mentioned yesterday. I’m hoping posting this will guilt me into getting them done.

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I Dropped Off The Internet For A Bit

But I’m still in the real world. Expect a disjointed post. I’m not sure I can stick to a single topic.

I think we can all agree that the world continues to be wacky. I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I was to slap my opinion up here today. So much is bad or worse than bad. And that doesn’t include the Russia Ukraine situation. How about the bio labs? Do we even know if what we are being told is all the facts?

The Husband and I have been busy with garden planning. He is planning to enlarge the container garden so we ordered seeds. Then we went to many thrift stores looking for his choice of containers: totes aka my preferred yarn storage method. While The Husband hunted for large totes I wandered through the household section and discovered a fairy lamp (see photo above). I’ve seen these on the thrifting videos I watch but didn’t expect to see one (or 4) hanging on the shelves. They’re so cute with a little LED candle votive inside. I’m almost (but not really) hoping for a power outage so I can enjoy the glow.

I haven’t knit more than a few rows. I think about it every single day but end up reading, playing a game on my phone or watching tv. Casapinka is starting a sweater KAL, The Panic Sweater, March 19. It’s an oversized top down textured pullover done in dk weight yarn. I have in the stash yarn that would work well so I’m thinking about knitting a swatch. That’s all I’m willing to commit to.

While we are talking about yarn. One of the thrift stores the Husband wanted to visit was just around the corner from Hobby Lobby. I haven’t been to Hobby Lobby in an eon. Sadly we don’t have a local one so I have to squeeze a visit in when we are going somewhere else. Anyway I’d seen that they have a 100% merino wool called Authentic Hand-Dyed by Yarn Bee so I added it to my list of things to look at. The minute I saw meteorites delight I was a goner. The bright colors with the gray spoke to me. I think I’ll knit a cowl, eventually. Believe it or not that skein is the only thing I bought.

So how’s everything with you? Are you crafting? Are you ready for spring? I know I am.

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It’s All Coming Back To Me

I know the photo is awful. It’s dark outside and I’m compensating badly. Consider the photo proof of life of the sock.

I’ve completed the ribbing and 15 rows of the leg. That means I’ve knit 4 buttonholes which may be the easiest part of this pattern.

Way back when I bought this kit the pattern was confusing. Someone on Ravelry who knit it took meticulous notes and filled in some of the vague areas. Then the designer did an update on the pattern. She gifted those that bought the pattern with the updated pattern. Unfortunately for me I am still a little confused by some of the vague bits. I find this just frustrating enough to make knitting this unpleasant.

I’m just knitting as many rows as I can tolerate. The minute I get the urge to scream and throw something across the room I finish that row and put it away. I made it all they way through 5 rows today. These socks are going to take a while.

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