Friday, January 16, 2009

That's all she wrote.

If anyone is still actually bothering to check this blog, I'd be surprised. Somewhere in the middle of last summer, the desire to post weekly suddenly up and left, without so much as a 'see ya later'. So it's time for me to call it a day and officially end this blog.

This has been an interesting experience for me. I was never a fan of my own writing, and yet I decided to start a blog, and I kept it going for more than 2 years. People actually read what I wrote and commented on it and everything. Wow. But I guess I got it out of my system, and it is somewhat time consuming. I've noticed that I do a lot of time-consuming things, and many of them don't really do much for me. I'm on Ravelry and Facebook, and I probably don't need to check them ten times daily. I watch a lot of TV, and I don't need to do that either.

I need to eat whole foods. I need to talk to my daughter and my husband. I need to hang out with my friends. I need to create things, like yarn and garments and paintings. I need to work on my house. I need to work on me. For many people, writing is cathartic or therapeutic, or both. I think it was that for me, for a while, but no longer.

So thanks for stopping by, everyone. I'll see you around. Who knows, maybe one day I'll begin to write again. But right now, there are other things I have to do.



Saturday, December 06, 2008

Long time no blog!

Hey! Anybody still bothering to check back here? I wouldn't blame you if you stopped. It's been a damn long time. Thankfully, my last post was a wish that actually came true, and I do believe with all of my heart that perhaps this country is finally headed in the right direction.

That being said, I can't let go of what Bush has done to us over the past 8 years, so I'll be posting two articles about the interview he just did with Charlie Gibson. Both articles are posted on Arianna Huffington's blog. Enjoy! And who knows, maybe my next post will be about knitting or crocheting or spinning. ;o)

The Dog Ate My Presidency
by Stu Kreisman

Wow. I just watched GW's first "exit interview" with Charles Gibson on ABC. Was this man actually elected President of the United States twice? (Okay once)
Bush said he didn't "sell his soul for politics." No, but he did sell the country to his friends. Taxpayers were swindled out of trillions of dollars handed over to Bush's cronies for no-bid contracts in Iraq, New Orleans, the "War On Terrorism", "Faith-Based Initiatives" and countless other unknown programs that will be uncovered in the next couple of decades.
In the interview he said his biggest regret was the intelligence failure in Iraq. Taking no responsibility what-so-ever, he blamed the failure on other administrations. Regarding the economy he said he's sorry that it's happening but it's not his fault, blaming his predecessors again. He didn't feel that he was a hindrance to John McCain's presidential campaign. His biggest disappointment? That there were no WMD's in Iraq. Rats!
This is a pathetic little man with absolutely no idea of the carnage and destruction he has caused this planet. He ran the country like he ran his baseball team, the Texas Rangers, although he probably respected the sanctity of baseball a lot more than the sanctity of human life.
This guy does not have a friggin' clue. How do you walk through life so oblivious? There are still bodies floating in the streets of Galveston, he has succeeded in destroying the entire city of New Orleans, he started a war in Iraq because he wanted to, thousands of Americans died in an act of terrorism on his watch, the economy is in a shambles, good people are losing their jobs and homes, they can't afford to see a doctor and this moron smiles like he doesn't have a care in the world. This is what happens folks, when you vote for someone you'd rather have a beer with.
Good God, this man is beyond contempt. He has absolutely no respect for the country or the people. He doesn't have the capability for empathy or any self-introspection. I have a gut feeling that when he looks at himself in the mirror, he still believes that his biggest mistake was trading Sammy Sosa.
Shame on him for doing this to us. Shame on us for letting him.

Bush's Interview with Charlie Gibson Marks the Start of His Effort to Revise History
by Mitchell Bard

The inevitable campaign to revise the history of the George W. Bush presidency has apparently begun. In an interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson broadcast on Monday, the soon-but-not-soon-enough-to-be ex-president made several eye-roll-inducing statements that feel like the first salvo in a war to completely recast the Bush years.
I'm all for Barack Obama's mantra of looking forward. I was even fine with his decision to let Joe Lieberman back into the fold. But sometimes it's okay to look backwards, and we have to make sure our history is accurate so that we decrease the chances of repeating our mistakes. And the eight years of Bush's presidency were chock full of sins, mortal and otherwise. That's why I think it's essential that, as a country, we are vigilant about not letting Bush or his team of enablers prevent us from remembering what actually happened when he was president.
For example, in discussing the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Bush claimed: "I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess." He makes it sound as if he was a passive receiver of the reports on the subject, and that the existence of WMDs was the real reason he started the war in Iraq. We know now that neither of those claims are true; that the president cherry-picked intelligence information to make his case for war in Iraq, and that the weapons of mass destruction were merely a pretense for that war. As former CIA director George Tenet told Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes last April, as early as the day after the 9/11 attacks, the White House had started using the tragedy to justify action in Iraq, with Pentagon advisor Richard Perle telling Tenet, "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday, they bear responsibility," even though Tenet knew that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks.
The Iraq war must be remembered as being a result of Bush's foreign policy objectives, not as an unfortunate byproduct of Bush getting bad intelligence on WMDs.
What really bugged me about the Gibson interview was Bush's effort to portray himself as a compassionate advocate for the American people. He said at one point: "One of the things about the presidency is you deal with a lot of tragedy -- whether it be hurricanes, or tornadoes, or fires or death -- and you spend time being the comforter-in-chief." But it was Bush's disdain for government and the people it serves, as evidenced by his policy of appointing unqualified political cronies to run agencies like FEMA, that helped intensify the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the biggest natural disaster his administration faced. People died while Bush and his administration did nothing. That should be the take-away point from the Bush administration's handling of crises, not that he was some kind of "comforter-in-chief."
Similarly, Bush made wholly ludicrous claims to Gibson about trying to change how partisan Washington was. He said he "knew that the president has the responsibility to try to elevate the tone, and, frankly, it just didn't work, much as I'd like to have it work." He would have liked to have it work? This is the president whose Justice Department asked nonpolitical appointees about their political allegiances (and researched their political activities). This is the president who treated the Justice Department like his personal law firm, ensuring that it protected his administration's officials rather than the rights of the American people. This is the president whose administration outed the identity of an undercover CIA agent as retribution for her husband writing (accurately) that a claim made in Bush's State of the Union address was false. And this is the president who commuted the sentence of an official in his administration who had been convicted for lying and obstructing justice in the investigation of the identification of the CIA agent.
In short, this was the most political, divisive president in recent history, who took the approach that "working together" meant doing exactly what he wanted. For him to now claim that he wanted to "elevate the tone" of political discourse is absolutely laughable. Bush said, "9/11 unified the country, and that was a moment where Washington decided to work together. I think one of the big disappointments of the presidency has been the fact that the tone in Washington got worse, not better." But nobody was more responsible for the deterioration in the tone in Washington than the president himself.
I was also struck by Bush's effort in the Gibson interview to absolve himself of blame for the subprime mortgage crisis and near collapse of the financial system. He said:
"You know, I'm the president during this period of time, but I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived ... And when people review the history of this administration, people will say that this administration tried hard to get a regulator."
Look, by no means was Bush the only one responsible for what happened. The Clinton administration also moved to free the financial industry from regulation. But it is certainly false that Bush "tried hard to get a regulator," with recent reports (like this one from, of all places, Fox News) revealing that the administration ignored warnings about the imminent dangers posed by the rampant practice of extending of unwise mortgages. To me, the big point here is that no president (maybe even no political figure) has stood as more of a towering symbol of the leave-corporations-alone, the-free-market-cures-all approach to governing than Bush. And the recent economic collapse has been a total repudiation of this position. For Bush to portray himself now as someone who sought to limit the abuses on Wall Street is nothing short of absurd.
Bush also made silly statements in the interview on topics like immigration and how he "kept (Americans) safe for eight years" (conveniently forgetting that he was the president during the 9/11 attacks and how his administration ignored warnings that some kind of terrorist action was imminent, including a memo entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" ), but you get the general drift.
We need to push back on efforts like this interview to recast the Bush presidency. It's important that we remember that Bush is not the "comforter-in-chief," but the guy who oversaw and/or was directly responsible for illegal wiretapping, the demise of habeas corpus, the adoption of torture, denying and then ignoring global warming, failing to address America's dependence of foreign oil and failing to develop any kind of energy policy that didn't involve putting more money into the pockets of oil companies, blocking advances in stem-cell research, eschewing competence in government in favor of ideology and religion, the subprime mortgage scandal, numerous government failures in areas ranging from FEMA to mining to product safety, the politicization of the Justice Department, the shoddy treatment of veterans, deteriorating relationships with the rest of the world, and, most of all, the unnecessary, financially draining, national-reputation-staining, poorly managed war and occupation in Iraq, which will stand as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders in American history and resulted in the loss of thousands of soldiers, the disruptions of the lives of tens of thousands of military personnel and their families, the placement of U.S. military preparedness at a dangerously low level, and the expenditure of approaching a trillion dollars (including the disappearance of billions of dollars for which there is no accounting).
The colossal failures of the Bush administration should be what is remembered about Bush's eight years in office, not some feeble attempt to show what a principled guy he was.
When asked by Gibson what advice Bush had for Obama, Bush said: "One of my parting words to him will be: 'If I can help you, let me know.'" For the sake of the country, I hope Obama never calls on Bush to help with anything. After eight years of failure leading to the dire circumstances in which the country finds itself, I'm not sure we can stand any more of Bush's help.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Please vote for Barack Obama on November 4th.

Jonathan Freedland
The Guardian
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The feeling is familiar. I had it four years ago and four years before that: a sinking feeling in the stomach. It's a kind of physical pessimism which says: "It's happening again. The Democrats are about to lose an election they should win - and it could not matter more."

In my head, I'm not as anxious for Barack Obama's chances as I was for John Kerry's in 2004 or Al Gore's in 2000. He is a better candidate than both put together, and all the empirical evidence says this year favours Democrats more than any since 1976. But still, I can't shake off the gloom.

Look at yesterday's opinion polls, which have John McCain either in a dead heat with Obama or narrowly ahead. Given the well-documented tendency of African-American candidates to perform better in polls than in elections - thanks to people who say they will vote for a black man but don't - this suggests Obama is now trailing badly.

More troubling was the ABC News-Washington Post survey which found McCain ahead among white women by 53% to 41%. Two weeks ago, Obama had a 15% lead among women. There is only one explanation for that turnaround, and it was not McCain's tranquilliser of a convention speech: Obama's lead has been crushed by the Palin bounce.

So you can understand my pessimism. But it's now combined with a rising frustration. I watch as the Democrats stumble, uncertain how to take on Sarah Palin. Fight too hard, and the Republican machine, echoed by the ditto-heads in the conservative commentariat on talk radio and cable TV, will brand Democrats sexist, elitist snobs, patronising a small-town woman. Do nothing, and Palin's rise will continue unchecked, her novelty making even Obama look stale, her star power energising and motivating the Republican base.

So somehow Palin slips out of reach, no revelation - no matter how jaw-dropping or career-ending were it applied to a normal candidate - doing sufficient damage to slow her apparent march to power, dragging the charisma-deprived McCain behind her.

We know one of Palin's first acts as mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska was to ask the librarian the procedure for banning books. Oh, but that was a "rhetorical" question, says the McCain-Palin campaign. We know Palin is not telling the truth when she says she was against the notorious $400m "Bridge to Nowhere" project in Alaska - in fact, she campaigned for it - but she keeps repeating the claim anyway. She denounces the dipping of snouts in the Washington trough - but hired costly lobbyists to make sure Alaska got a bigger helping of federal dollars than any other state. She claims to be a fiscal conservative, but left Wasilla saddled with debts it had never had before. She even seems to have claimed "per diem" allowances - taxpayers' money meant for out-of-town travel - when she was staying in her own house.

Yet somehow none of this is yet leaving a dent. The result is that a politician who conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan calls a "Christianist" - seeking to politicise Christianity the way Islamists politicise Islam - could soon be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Remember, this is a woman who once addressed a church congregation, saying of her work as governor - transport, policing and education - "really all of that stuff doesn't do any good if the people of Alaska's heart isn't right with God".

If Sarah Palin defies the conventional wisdom that says elections are determined by the top of the ticket, and somehow wins this for McCain, what will be the reaction? Yes, blue-state America will go into mourning once again, feeling estranged in its own country. A generation of young Americans - who back Obama in big numbers - will turn cynical, concluding that politics doesn't work after all. And, most depressing, many African-Americans will decide that if even Barack Obama - with all his conspicuous gifts - could not win, then no black man can ever be elected president.

But what of the rest of the world? This is the reaction I fear most. For Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory. Polling in Germany, France, Britain and Russia shows that Obama would win by whopping majorities, with the pattern repeated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If November 4 were a global ballot, Obama would win it handsomely. If the free world could choose its leader, it would be Barack Obama.

The crowd of 200,000 that rallied to hear him in Berlin in July did so not only because of his charisma, but also because they know he, like the majority of the world's population, opposed the Iraq war. McCain supported it, peddling the lie that Saddam was linked to 9/11. Non-Americans sense that Obama will not ride roughshod over the international system but will treat alliances and global institutions seriously: McCain wants to bypass the United Nations in favour of a US-friendly League of Democracies. McCain might talk a good game on climate change, but a repeated floor chant at the Republican convention was "Drill, baby, drill!", as if the solution to global warming were not a radical rethink of the US's entire energy system but more offshore oil rigs.

If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush-Cheney finger. And I predict a deeply unpleasant shift.
Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start - a fresh start the world is yearning for. And the manner of that decision will matter, too. If it is deemed to have been about race - that Obama was rejected because of his colour - the world's verdict will be harsh. In that circumstance, Slate's Jacob Weisberg wrote recently, international opinion would conclude that "the United States had its day, but in the end couldn't put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race".

Even if it's not ethnic prejudice, but some other aspect of the culture wars, that proves decisive, the point still holds. For America to make a decision as grave as this one - while the planet boils and with the US fighting two wars - on the trivial basis that a hockey mom is likable and seems down to earth, would be to convey a lack of seriousness, a fleeing from reality, that does indeed suggest a nation in, to quote Weisberg, "historical decline". Let's not forget, McCain's campaign manager boasts that this election is "not about the issues."

Of course I know that even to mention Obama's support around the world is to hurt him. Incredibly, that large Berlin crowd damaged Obama at home, branding him the "candidate of Europe" and making him seem less of a patriotic American. But what does that say about today's America, that the world's esteem is now unwanted? If Americans reject Obama, they will be sending the clearest possible message to the rest of us - and, make no mistake, we shall hear it.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm here physically...

... but mentally I'm still on vacation. We were in Ocean City, NJ last week, and next week we're going back up to Lake George, where the picture above was taken. That's Banana walking down the dock. Then it's back to work and school. Yuck. But I hope to post more come September. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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Friday, July 18, 2008


I haven't made a post in two weeks, but it feels like an eternity. Things are good here. I can't believe how quickly the summer is flying by. I am getting nothing accomplished around my house, but I hope to change that shortly. I am going to start by using my basement for what it was built: to store crap that I don't want upstairs. I'll go through it later, I just want to declutter my upstairs living space and have some breathing room. I never go in my basement anyway except to clean the litter boxes, and boy I tell ya, that is a treat. I really want to begin getting rid of large things - sofas, bookcases, desks, etc. I want to reclaim the breezeway from the Barbies who have taken over. I want to tear up carpeting. I want to paint. I want to turn my house into the house I've always wanted, and I want to stop bitching about it. Sometimes I forget that I need to be proactive about making change happen in my life. I also forget that you don't need to spend a fortune to make changes. My friend Sahfi is good at redoing furniture and making it look cool, and I hope to take some cues from her.

I was exercising a lot for about a week and a half, and I need to get back into that as well. We are going to Ocean City in two weeks, and I want to try and accomplish some sort of exercise on 8 or 9 days before we leave. I also intend to go for a run on the boardwalk every day that we are down there. I can't wait. We'll also be going back to Lake George in mid-August, and this time WT will be coming with us. Yay! I think we'll be staying on the lake, and the place that (I hope) has availability has canoes and kayaks that the guests can use, so we can exercise and have fun all at once! And then it will be back to school. Dag.

My dad seems to be doing pretty well. He is building a spinning wheel. From scratch. 'Cause that's the kind of stuff my dad does. He also bought an autoharp and has been playing it every day since he got it. I am hoping he will inspire me to pick up my dulcimer and guitar and practice them. Banana and I went to visit Dad yesterday and we had a grand old time. We had creamed Spam and peas on biscuits for lunch (trust on this one, it's truly delish) and homemade lasagna and salad for din-din. A good day all around.

On the fiber front, I've been trying to get some old WIPs out of the way. For some reason, my friends find it amusing that I am knitting mohair and wool legwarmers right now. I can't imagine why they would make fun of me whilst I knit with @#$%^&* laceweight mohair. In July. In the Philadelphia suburbs, where an average summer day is about 92 degrees with 80% humidity. Makes sense to me. I am also working on a 2 x 2 rib scarf for the Banana, in pink sparkly yarn, which is just so my thing. I also need to start my Green Gable over, which I began approximately 17 million years ago and frogged because it was way big. And then I can start knitting a whole bunch of other stuff. Oh, and because I wanted a quick FO, I crocheted a fat-ass afghan and used up about 15 skeins of yarn from my stash. Woot. Because again, nothing says summer like a 20-pound afghan. Thank goodness for central air.

On a completely different note, isn't Costco remarkable? The other day, I bought a DVD/VCR player, a raincoat for Banana, socks for WT, and about four pounds of chicken. Where the hell else can you buy all that stuff in one place?? Crazy, I tell ya.

'Kay, that's it for now. If you actually made it to the end of this boring and rambling post, I commend you. Hey Anne Marie - join Ravelry. ;o)


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Communing with nature

So as many of you probably know, the Banana and I went to Lake George with our lovely neighbors John and Regina, who were very kind and generous and let us stay with them at their lake house. We had a great time!

We got to go out on the lake three times. The first day we went out on the Mohican, which is one of several larger boats that give tours of the lake. We went on the Morning Discovery cruise, which lasted a good five hours, and showed us pretty much the entire lake. It was gorgeous, and even though the clouds were threatening, we never got rained on while we were on the boat.

We communed with nature. Great blue herons were everywhere! This one landed on the dock at Blackie and Martha's, and we enjoyed watching it walk about before it took off again.

We got to go out with Wes and Charlotte on their boat. That was really, really fun. Wes is John's brother, and Charlotte is Wes' wife, and they are super people. The Banana was pleased to be wearing her Cinderella life vest.

After boating with Wes and Charlotte, we went to the Algonquin for dinner. I have seen this scene painted many a time: on the wall in Regina's classroom, as a pastel, on Regina's cast when she broke her ankle. It was wonderful to actually see it in person, and it is just as gorgeous as one would expect. We ate al fresco and enjoyed the fresh air along with our food and drink.

Here's another lovely view of Lake George. It is about 32 miles long (who knew?), and 3 miles wide at the widest point. It's easy to see when John and Regina go up there every chance they get.

The Banana enjoyed swimming as well. This little beach just opened up in Ticonderoga, and we went there several times. It was quiet, clean, and, as you can see, picturesque. I was happy to just sit on a bench and watch Banana splash and collect snail shells and build sand castles.

This is the Mohican. There are two other steamboats: the Minne-Ha-Ha, which is a bit smaller, and the Lac du Saint Sacrement (the original name of Lake George, by the way [original in that is was the first name given to it by Europeans, but I digress]), which was larger than the Mohican.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

We went for a walk behind Wes and Charlotte's house, and Charlotte showed us this charming little waterfall. The forest floor was covered with ferns and the air was clean and fresh and all was right with the world. The only thing that would have been better is if WT was there and not in Pittsburgh on business.

Upon our return, Banana started camp. I love her little pooky head, but it sure is nice to have some alone time. My dad and I took advantage of this and went to the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, which is a stunningly gorgeous public garden.

The trees are beautiful, the flowers are beautiful, everything is just beautiful (sensing a theme?).

It is relaxing and serene, and we had a lovely day to boot.

I even got to visit the Eiffel Tower! In spirit, anyway.

There is a lot of statuary at the Morris Arboretum; Dad and I think this is Jizo.

And of course, the flowers are not to be missed. Actually, you couldn't miss the flowers if you tried.

Like this one...

... and this one.

And quite honestly, what's a lovely outdoor trip to an arboretum without a few of the girls in tow? Here's Hibou admiring the roses.

Poppy felt right at home in the Fernery. Everything was her size!

Hibou found Mercury to be quite charming.

Poppy spent a few quiet moments with Buddha in the grotto at the Fernery.

All in all, this past week and a half has been refreshing, renewing, and relaxing. And I still have seven weeks of summer to go! I'm off to spin and knit and crochet and dye, and and and ...

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fab Ravatar

I'll see you guys next week - the Banana and I are off to Lake George...


Out of the mouths of babes

At 8 am this morning from my five-and-a-half-year-old:

"Was King-Kong born monsterly huge, or did he become monsterly huge?"

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