A Few Disconnected Things

Today I’ve got just a couple of things rattling around in my head.

First I sometimes forget when I ramble on here that some of our international friends don’t know the meaning of the “slang” terms we use in our everyday life here in the US. I’ll try to do better. In the comments on my February 16th post I give my definition of the word cancelled. If you don’t know what it means, lucky you, give it a read. I tried to explain it in a neutral way. I’m pretty anti cancelling so that bias probably shows.

The FBI is investigating Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York because of the lack of honest reporting of the death numbers from nursing homes. That is something. I’m not convinced anything will come of it. At least more attention has been brought to the situation.

Here is a quick little topic I’d love to discuss. I’ve said many times that I love when people express their opinion. It’s true. I love when people share how they feel about things. Not only do I learn about views that are different than mine but I also learn about the person doing the talking. Right or wrong of me, I will make a judgment on them. Sometimes I’m really surprised. Sometimes I’m not. Seeing what they say and how they say it tells me a lot about them as a person. It doesn’t change the way I treat the person but it does raise a warning flag.

Here is an example Rush Limbaugh died yesterday after a year long battle with lung cancer. When I first heard the news I had two thoughts: his poor family must be devastated but his pain is gone. I felt the same way when Ted Kennedy died after a battle with brain cancer. I don’t think about the politics first. My compassion is with the family and the pain the person endured. Twitter is full of people celebrating Rush Limbaugh’s death. They are happy he is dead. They are putting the words out. It tells me a lot about them.

I don’t know how we can come together as a society without a shared compassion for something so basic as loss. There are situations where if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all is the right thing to do. Don’t parents teach that anymore?

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WIP Wednesday: My Way Edition

This is Channah by Tera Pavlikova. Since the return of my mojo I have been working on this shawl pretty steadily. Honestly my mojo isn’t smoking but it is a low flame so I keep knitting in an effort to get the fire roaring. I love when I can’t wait to work on my current project so much that I want to get my chores done so I can get to it quickly.

When I reach this point in a project, when I have a good idea how the designer writes a pattern and how I feel about the pattern I often go take another look at all their patterns. I’ll add the ones I like to my favorites and maybe one or two to my queue.

How do you find new designers and projects? Do you have any you’d like to recommend?

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What Is Going On?

Are you watching all that’s going on this week? It seems like a bit of unexpected all over this country.

I caught the after the impeachment interview done by the lawyer where he had words with the newscaster. He’s right. Any “massaged” (my word not his) evidence is wrong. It would never be allowed in a courtroom, why should it be allowed in the senate. Now this lawyer, a democrat who donated to Biden, is being harassed and has had to hire security for himself and his family. All he did was the job he was hired to do. What is wrong with that.

There is snow and freezing temperatures (like well below freezing) in Texas. Millions are without power and heat. People are sleeping in their cars. The emergency warming buildings are losing power. Warming prayers to them. I have to ask, where is the help for these people? They need generators at the warming buildings to start. Then a good look at why their power situation has no sort of back up.

North Carolina had a tornado. This isn’t tornado season right? There have been earthquakes in India, Pakistan and Japan. With everything else going on these were barely a blip on my radar.

On Friday the Supreme Court will start hearing the election fraud cases that were filed back in 2020. This after Windham NH discovered when doing a hand count that all of their Republican candidates were shorted about 300 votes by their voting machines. It didn’t change who won because the margin was larger than this number of votes. NH officials are electing not to look into this. Evidently a little fraud is fine just like tampering with a little evidence will soon be fine too.

Governor Cuomo held a press conference where he continued to not accept responsibility for the death of the nursing home residents. An apology and accepting a little responsibility when the decisions were his would go a long way. It wouldn’t correct his mistakes but would show that he at least has some compassion for the families. You’d think a guy who wrote a book on how he was doing such a great job with the pandemic and won an Emmy for his press conferences would realize just how big the target he painted on himself is. Or maybe he doesn’t.

It seems Florida has had a very different Covid experience than New York. They have the second highest number of elderly in the country (Maine is number 1 in elderly residents) but fall more towards the middle in deaths. They’ve had a very good rollout of the vaccine. And all the while never shut down or required masks. They have done well as has South Dakota. Maybe Governor DeSantis and Governor Noem should write books.

There have been two actors publicly cancelled this week for stating an opinion. I don’t watch either The Mandalorian or The Bachelor. I don’t know either of these people. I like when people express their opinions. We all have our own view. We all can say what we want. How do we learn and grow if we don’t hear other opinions?

I have so many questions about things. Why do so few people do the right thing? Why is no one standing up for others? Is God trying to send us a message? Is anyone listening? What can we do to help? How do we fix things when everything seems so broken?

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Not Fudging Any Facts

In one more row I will move on to the 7th section, a lace one, of the Channah shawl. The plain stockinette sections work up so quickly. I had wanted to finish that last row last night but by 9:45 I was too tired to knit one more row.

The voice in my head is sure that edge is going to be tight. I’ve tried to think loose thoughts and leave a wee bit of extra yarn. I didn’t do a yarn over after the first stitch because I might be a little close on the quantity of yarn. I’ve had these thoughts with everything I’ve knit. I’m not going to worry about it. There are bigger things to worry about in all honesty. When wrapped around my neck, or whoever’s, it will not be visible. It will be pretty and keep a neck warm and those are the things that matter.

How are your projects going?

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Behavior Modification

Boy I’m really running late today. It’s been a long one.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you enjoyed some time with your special someone. Myles and I have hung out a lot. I gave my children each a heart box of candy. The Husband and I hung out too.

Let’s remember: These are my thoughts and opinions. Agree or disagree, your choice. Feel free to comment or not.

Way back in high school I took a psychology class. I had been toying with the idea of majoring in psychology in college and thought I’d take the class just to make sure it was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. It was a lot of fun. The teacher wasn’t a “book” teacher so we did a lot more than read the chapter and answer the questions. We had rip roaring conversations and talked through a lot of studies. There were projects. We even had to do volunteer work. It was one of my favorite classes.

One of the fun things we did was little experiments with our friends. Sometimes with permission and sometimes on the sly. I remember doing one that involved yawning. We were to yawn at some point when talking to someone to see if we could get the other person to yawn. They do tend to be contagious. I can’t remember the details but I know we had to keep track of how many yawns were returned. It was a very simple way to modify a person’s behavior. Over time we were allowed to come up with other little experiments on our own. One kid decided to try to start a trend. He began wearing his t-shirt, the music band ones, backwards. It took a few days but eventually a handful of kids were doing it. It was interesting to see how people would just go along.

I learned so much in this high school class that when I went to college, even though I majored in accounting, I took an abnormal psychology class. It was interesting but not as much fun.

I find myself thinking about the psychology of the pandemic. How we are all being changed whether we want to be or not. I see changes in the way people behave towards others. At first it seemed like a kindness to move away from others. People would still smile and speak. I see that slipping away. People now move to the other side of the street, even though all are wearing masks. It is even more rare to get an excuse me at the grocery store. I worry about the children. How will they be well adjusted if they never see a stranger smile and are repeatedly told to move away from this person or that person. I’m concerned for our society.

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About The Numbers

Well I washed all the color from the shawl with the lighting

I am running late today. My morning and early afternoon were cluttered with things to do. Then once I was home I wanted to finish the 5th section of the shawl before I shared it with you. Then I did a few more rows just because I was in the mood.

So I’ve started the 6th section of nine with a few more final rows beyond. This section started with the 86th row. I’m about to do the 89th. The full shawl is 186 rows so I’m not quite at the half way point in the rows. I am beyond the half way point in the number of stitches per row.

It’s funny how the numbers can be juggled around to convince ourselves of progress. Sure it looks bigger. As long as rows are knit, and not tinked back, progress is being made. But it sounds so much better to have more than half the increases done. More than half the number of stitches that will mark the last row.

I imagine I’ll count each of these half way points and the 3/4 points as I make my way to the final bind off row. Anything to feel the forward motion.

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As The World Spins

Back when I was a kid my mother and grandmother used to watch their stories on TV in the afternoon. They watched As The World Turns and Days Of Our Lives. Often they’d knit or crochet and have a cup of coffee. All of this went over my head. It seemed so boring. Why would you watch stories about people’s lives. I didn’t understand until Dallas and Falcon Crest (I loved that one!) that some lives are more exciting than others, particularly when they string all the drama together with very little cooking, cleaning and laundry.

Life is starting to look a lot like those stories. A lot of drama is being strung together with very little in between. Of course the drama in real life has real life consequences and pain.

I’ve noticed a new trend on Twitter. Maybe it isn’t new but it’s caught my eye. People post videos of themselves talking to their phone in their car. I’d call these car confessions if I was creating a TV show. They’re quite compelling and for the most part raw and honest. The three that struck me were all discussing the same topic. When I saw the first one my heart broke.

Two videos were mothers talking through tears. They’d been to the pharmacy to pick up insulin for their type one diabetic children and the prices have jumped by 900% – if my math is right (for one $36 to $360 and $100 to $1000 for the other per month). The third video was a recent college graduate who has seen a similar increase in the price of his insulin. This guy was mad. All these people know that without the insulin the person will die.

I know life isn’t fair but this was a completely avoidable situation if the original EO had just been left in place. There are things these people can do: contact your doctor. See if an alternative brand is available or if they have some samples to get you through while you readjust your budget. Contact the drug company. They often have coupons. Many companies are willing to help people who can’t afford their medications. Contact your senators and congress members. Tell them you want a reinstatement of that EO. They can write a new law to return to the lower prices.

The other tragic trend is photos of children who have committed suicide because of depression brought on by the isolation from the pandemic. These tragedies can be prevented if the kids can get their normal routine back. Kids need to go back to school. They need a social life. I read a statistic a couple of weeks ago that said 33% of people will have a new mental health issue by the time we get through this pandemic. This sounds like a much bigger problem than the pandemic itself. Keep an eye on the young people in your life.

Finally there are growing reports that Andrew Cuomo’s administration hid the actual number of deaths in nursing homes. One of his aides came forward and made the admission. All while there was a field hospital and a hospital ship available for Covid positive patients. But those were not used. In my state we had a large number of deaths at the veterans hospital and in nursing homes. I was quite forgiving at the beginning of the pandemic knowing that none of us had lived through this sort of a health crisis. When the numbers began to increase in the fall and my governor spoke of putting Covid patients into nursing homes I sent him an email chastising him for not learning from previous mistakes. These people need to be held accountable. Once is a mistake but to repeatedly do the same thing is intentional and when it involves life and death it is murder.

Remember I mentioned the Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. I hope the year of the ox, which begins today, will be a much kinder and gentler year for us all.

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WIP Wednesday On Thursday: The Plumber Edition

Yesterday is the first day in months that I’ve felt the urge to pick up my knitting during the day. I was able to get through the first lace section and start the next section in the afternoon. After dinner I nearly completed that stockinette section.

I think I needed a bit of a distraction while waiting for the plumber. We noticed over the weekend that there was a leak under the bathroom sink. It was a small leak, fortunately, so we just discontinued using the sink until we could get an appointment with the plumber. We were given a wide window for arrival and then received two calls from the office because the plumber we had been scheduled with was hung up on the previous job. The second call offered to send a different guy who was finishing up a job and could come immediately. We said sure. I love when a company keeps me updated when things shift. He arrived, assessed, picked up a part (50+ year old sink needed special part) and was done in just over an hour and a half. Totally painless.

Today will involve a couple of errands but then a free afternoon. I bet I’ll feel like knitting. Seeing progress always gives me the urge to see more. While I knit I think I’ll watch a little TV. There is a great fiction I started watching the other day. No not that one on CSPAN. I’m rewatching the Harry Potter movies. They’re perfect for watching while knitting. I’ve seen them enough times that I can look down at my knitting now and then and not miss anything on the screen. Also my tension stays nice and loose. I can’t say that about that other fiction that’s playing out.

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Lies And Damn Lies

If you’re just here for the knitting come back tomorrow. I haven’t yet finished the lace section and I’d like to be beyond that point before I share again.

I think we all know what a lie is. I also think we can agree that there are lies that do no damage and are meant to be a kindness. Telling the exhausted new mother that she looks beautiful probably isn’t quite true but we do it because it would be rude to tell her how tired she looks and that no one will notice the dark circles under her eyes. There are other lies, I’ll call them damn lies that undermine credibility. We are taught as children that lying is wrong. Often we are told stories to underline the point. I remember being told The Boy Who Cried Wolf when I was young. The message there is very clear: if you lie people will doubt what you say even when it’s true. Do people still tell their kids these stories?

I am particularly sensitive when it comes to words. I annoy my family by pointing out that words matter and we should only say what we mean and mean what we say. When H and N were little I was careful with my word choice. I didn’t say what I didn’t mean and if I said it they knew it was true. For example if rowdy behavior wasn’t reigned in and I said if you do that again we are leaving and they did it again we left. Once they knew I meant what I said they knew what to expect.

I hold people to a high standard particularly when they are in a position of authority. If they specialize is something I expect them to be giving me facts from that position and to have no ulterior motives when they deal with me. When that trust is broken I have a very hard time trusting them again and by extension the organization they represent.

Here is an example from real life. When my mother was sick (she had an aorta aneurysm) she was transferred from the diagnosing hospital to a larger local hospital because the smaller hospital didn’t have a thoracic surgeon. After spending a couple of days in the larger hospital and forming a plan to move forward the person who handles home care stopped in to get my mother to sign some paperwork. The woman said company X would handle the care. My mother said that she would like company W. The woman said no it would be company X because company W doesn’t go to your town. My mother explained that company W had spent 5 years caring for her husband and they most certainly served her town. The woman then said that it wouldn’t be possible. My mother, who had basically been given a death sentence and wasn’t up for an unnecessary fight, said my daughter will be here soon. Talk to her. Well, when I contacted the woman I think she expected me to be like all the other children of patients who she’d dealt with. She told me that company X would handle the home care. I said that is not what my mother wants. We want company W. She tried to tell me that company W wouldn’t serve our town. When I said they had 6 months before and we had a long term relationship with these nurses. She said the nurses would be gone that they don’t retain employees. I knew I was not going to win with her so I asked to speak with her supervisor. She scurried off only to return a few minutes later without her supervisor. Suddenly now we could have company W. She’d set it up. I told this story to the nurse who came for the first visit with my mother, the same nurse who had cared for my father for 5 years. A person we trusted who was tasked with teaching me, a business minded person, to change an IV bag that connected to the port in my mother’s chest. The nurse took the time that day to call her supervisor to tell her what had happened to us at the bigger hospital. I never got any more information on what happened beyond that. I was too busy dealing with all the things that are required when one is caring for a loved one with a critical illness.

I have wondered why this woman lied. Obviously my mother was entitled to whatever home care company she wanted but this woman lied repeatedly to get her chosen company a job. She was not only willing to lie to a vulnerable patient but also to a healthy stressed person. My guess is she was told to do this and she did it all the time. But why? Does the hospital have an arrangement of some sort with company X? This was the first red flag I got from this hospital that maybe patient care isn’t their first priority. There were a number of others. I wouldn’t take Myles there based on my mother’s experiences. I wanted to complain to the person in charge but as my mother said what would they do to her if we complained. Once my mother died I had other things to deal with so I didn’t complain. I regret that now. Not just for us but for all the other people who felt they had no choice but to go along.

There are a lot of people who lie these days. I see it. I know they’re lying. I’m sure you see it too. I have no idea how to deal with this. I do know that I no longer believe them once I see their lies even when they’re telling the truth. I wonder about their motives. How about you?

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A Look At The Lace

I’ve done like 7 rows of the lace and while it is ok, it doesn’t look as nice as the photos in the pattern. Blocking might be part of it. I am following the instructions. It has a decrease that looks a little lumpy to me: slip two stitches knitwise at once, knit the next stitch and then slip the two slipped stitches over. Adding to this is the fact that the stitch before is a yarn over. It just seems a little weird to me. Not perfect and neat like the photo in the pattern.

From the pattern. Lumpier than I thought.

Speaking of weird. The edge stitches are a set of 3 which are knit 2 stitches, kfb on the right side and purl 2 stitches, pfb on the wrong side. Forgetting the rolling that is likely to happen on the edge (I’m not worrying about it because there aren’t that many rows. That could come back to bite me though.) that pfb isn’t something I’ve done before. I looked on YouTube to see what this actually looks like and I happened on a video that said to do pbf instead because it’s less awkward. So that is what I’m doing. Have you got experience with this stitch? Which do you do?

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