Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Afghan Finished!

I finally got Colin's afghan finished last week! Now it's packed away in a big plastic bag awaiting the fair. Fortunately he's old enough to understand why I'm not giving it to him to use right away. :)

Details: Easy Ripple Afghan freebie pattern. Lion Brand Vanna's Choice yarn in Navy, Brick, Olive, Rust, and Purple. Addi Crochet Hook in size 6.0mm(J-10).

As you can see, it has been tested and approved by both Gracie the Tortie, and Pat the Panda.














Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Rant--June 19, 2008

Today's Thursday Rant is political. Consider yourself warned.

It is common to hear people say "I could never vote for Candidate X; he/she scares me!" Why are so many people frightened by politicians? What do they mean by "scared"? And why is this usually only said about persons running for president? Are mayors less frightening?

I remember the first time I heard someone claim to be frightened by a candidate. It was in 1988 and a young co-worker of mine said she had to vote for Dukakis because "Bush scares me!" I asked her why she found Bush frightening and she muttered and mumbled about her father always voting Democrat and the unions being in favor of Dukakis and Bush being from a rich family.

The current presidential race has now been narrowed down to two, presumptively scary, candidates. People are afraid of Barack Obama because he has a scary middle name, he doesn't wear a flag pin, and the preacher at his former church is controversial. People are, on the other hand, afraid of John McCain because he is old, because he is too Republican, because he is not Republican enough, and because his wife is too thin and blond.

Reasons why you should not be afraid of political candidates:

1. God is in control and will raise up the rulers He wants us to have. He will use these men and women to do His will (Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.) God uses means, and in the case of elections the means he uses are the voters. But He is the one true Ruler and He is not frightened by any politician. He has commanded that we fear (respect) Him (I Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.)

2. No one politician in America has that much power. (Yeah, you thought the first point was the controversial one.) We may be stuck in a stupid war that should never have been fought because it was originally the president's idea. But he couldn't implement the idea all on his own, despite what a lot of the other politicians involved would really like you to think right now.

3. Personal characteristics (rich parents, middle names, skinny wives) aren't worth fearing. I don't think my husband has any plans to run for office, but it's just as well he doesn't. In addition to having a fat wife with increasingly gray hair (fat wives are even scarier than skinny ones) he also has a problematic middle name. It's the all-time favorite middle name given to little boys born into Catholic families. But it's also the first name of not only a Soviet dictator but, even worse, a Kennedy...and who knows how many other frightening people. The thing is, we all know that when someone say "he scares me because his middle name is Hussein" what they are really saying is something else entirely. Trying to mask one prejudice with another is hypocritical.

4. Fear implies a lack of options. In America we have the government we deserve. If the only options we have are scary candidates it is because we are a scary electorate. We are concerned, even frightened, about the wrong things. We vote for the lesser of two evils because we are scared to vote outside the two big parties. We don't vote in local elections because we are apathetic...the mayors we didn't vote for then go on to become the governors or senators we didn't vote for and then to become the presidential candidates we are afraid of. We pick our presidents because they are like us, and then wonder why they don't do any better job than we would.

5. There are good reasons to vote for some candidates and good reasons not to vote for others. We should be focusing on facts and real reasons for making decisions, instead of basing our voting decisions on fear.

So, can we please consider not being "scared" of the candidates? Can we start looking at issues instead? Or could we maybe just be honest and say "I'm not voting for Candidate X because I just don't like him."

Remember, kiddos, as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Speaking of scary presidents...what's with that middle name? "Delano"...sounds Eye-Talian!! And don't EVEN get me started on Eleanor...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Links to Neato Stuff

Some links to cute stuff, thought-provoking ideas, and things in general that caught my eye...have fun browsing!

1. the shop at boygirlparty.com The graphics and drawings are so cute! This one is my favorite, but Natalie should page down a bit and find the 'edgepig.

2. I'm thinking of making some of this bubble solution for Colin, especially since it sounds like it makes better bubbles than the store-bought version. Maybe I'll track down one of those huge bubble wands, too. Sparkle Power also posts lots of neat fabric crafts on her blog, so check it out.

3. I want some of these Marble Suncatcher strings!! This looks simple enough for Colin to make, or for the two of us to try together...of course we will end up hollering for Natalie to bail us out. I think I would hang them from the Crape Myrtle in the herb garden, so I could see them from the kitchen window. A great idea from Wisdom of the Moon!

4. Wise Bread is a personal finance/frugal living site which features message boards, articles, and thought-provoking blogs. Philip Brewer is the author of this entry: Strategies for households with more than one adult, in which he asks us to stop and think about the various ways a family or household can maximize its standard of living by having some of its members stay out of the money economy. I'm using the PC terms he uses in the article...at our house this translates to "having the kid and wimmin folkses work at home" :)

5. Nancy Wilson's recent blog post: How Organized Are Your Closets? was something I really, really needed to read this week...and she mentions my favorite verse from Proverbs...Prov. 14:4.

6. How do Asians perceive American young people? Asia Times gives one viewpoint in The Day the Slacker Died. Find out the connection between American youth, the economy, and Kung Fu Panda. :)

7. Monique of My Mark Designs not only creates cute, youthful, modern cross-stitch patterns, she also made a bright stripy sleeping bag for her daughter's Webkinz platypus, Cheese. Perhaps I will not show this one to Colin; I don't really want to spend a week making little sleeping bags for his many, many pandas.

8. The Vintage Chica crocheted rag rugs from old pajamas and sheets. I found this while looking for some inexpensive way to replace our kitchen rugs....now I want to go to garage sales and look for old sheets. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Late Saturday Night

"Didn't Martin Luther saying something about..."

"Blogging??"

"No...but...Martin Luther would so have been a blogger if he could have!"

"You'll have to blog about that."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Raise your hand...

...if you think the line in the last panel should read "But that's not important right now."

Thursday Rants Public Service Announcements

Today I have a couple of rants PSAs to share, just for the education and improvement of the general public. These are both things I have seen so many times it is impossible for me to remember where I saw them, so I will not be linking specific examples. Besides that would be rude, and this is not meant to be rude. None of the people I've seen committing these terrible crimes is anyone I know personally, either in real life or through the web.

Okay, was that done in the proper spirit of the PSA? Like those "The more you know" ones they have on some TV network that I'm not going to bother to look up? The ones that imply that no one as brilliant as you would do this, but we need to get it out there because not everybody is as brilliant as you? Good.

1. Sort Your Laundry...sorta. This one is quite popular on the message boards where busy homeschool moms hang out. Someone complains about how she never has time for laundry by the time she gets done teaching little Peregrine her Latin conjugations, and a chorus of helpful voices ring out in answer: "Don't waste all that time sorting! Just throw it all in together and wash on cold!"

Which is fine, super, wonderful. IF you don't mind all your white clothes, towels, and linens turning a lovely shade of gray. If gray is your favorite color and you've always wondered why they don't make more light gray clothes, then go for it! And if you're a certain person who lives in my house who prefers that t-shirts not be perfectly pastel, you are welcome to continue throwing them in with the darks so they get grayed down a bit.

But maybe you don't want your white tees to be gray, maybe your husband would like his white shirts to stay white? You don't have to become the Sorting Nazi, you don't have to be Cheryl Mendelson or Martha Stewart, you can be a Casual Sorter. Just put the white things in with the very light-colored things, and put the dark things in a separate load. Once in a while you'll have to get a little more finicky than that to keep something fuzzy from shedding on something else, but for the most part just dividing into two categories can make enough difference to make it worth the trouble. (Full disclosure: I have four different categories not counting sheets, but that's not nearly as many categories as the experts would recommend.)

2. Press As You Go Sew. This one I see all the time on the sewing and crafting blogs and boards. Crafters can be spontaneous, creative, really fun people and I love to look at their blogs and boards to see all the neat things they cook up. But so often I see someone's photo of a finished object and it is obvious that the seams and other details were not pressed.

Again, if speed is your thing or you prefer a slapdash look about your items then by all means, don't press! There may be artistic reasons for this look that I am not aware of. But, very often I see someone showing off a finished item, say a dress or skirt, and then complaining that the seams hang funny or the collar won't lie flat. Those problems, and many more, can often be avoided by pressing. Pressing isn't the same as ironing. Pressing involves special attention to the seams and other construction areas. Pressing also involves some good hard pressure with the iron and lots of steam.

You don't have to get a fancy-schmancy expensive iron. Just go to Amazon or Epinions and read till you find an iron that: sounds fairly reliable, puts out lots of steam without leaking water, heats up quickly, and has some weight to it. Then get your Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupon and get over there and buy one. Or, even better, see if Costco sells it...because then, if it does break down in 3 months they will take it back!

While you're about it, get a beginning sewing book like this one. Or dig around on your shelves and find the ones you bought before and forgot about. Most books like this will explain the details of what you should be pressing and how, plus any special equipment you need for unusual fabrics. Set your ironing board up at table height and get a chair on wheels so you can roll right over and press when you need to. Or use the need for pressing as an opportunity to get up from the sewing machine and stretch a bit.

That's it for today. Anybody got some more PSAs to add? Should I make this a regular feature? :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Inconceivable!

One of these days I'm going to get Colin a t-shirt with Inigo Montoya's saying from Princess Bride. No, not the one about preparing to die.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Natalie just got done washing out our big stash of used ziploc and other plastic bags. We save all the ones that are not icky, wash them out, and use them again. The problem we face every time is how to get them dry.

This time she got the ball of twine from the garage and strung up a twine "clothesline" across the kitchen/dining room. It runs from the corner of the cabinets to the corner of the china cabinet, and she placed old towels on the floor beneath it to catch the drips.

Colin was sitting at the table watching the proceedings as he ate his lunch. After considering it for a while, he said "That looks very naive."

Naive??! Yes, that's what he said, I asked him to repeat it. When I asked him what "naive" meant, he said, "It means the kind of people who don't have real clotheslines."

Okay then, now we know.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Things...

Things to buy next time I'm out shopping:

•microwave-safe tea cup and saucer

•wide bandaids without kid-friendly designs

•Vitamin E, aloe vera gel, or some other pain-deadening burn treatment


Things I'm thankful for:

•my daughter, who is good at first aid

•my mother who lives next door and keeps things like Vitamin E on hand

•ice water to numb the pain

•nine other fingers to keep working with

•that it's "only a flesh wound" and is starting to feel better already


Things that I'm wondering about:

•What is it about 30 year old stoneware that makes it unreliable in the microwave?

•How is it that a saucer can be hot enough to burn a finger instantly, but the tea in the cup still not be hot enough to drink?

•What sort of tea and saucer combo would be microwave safe?

•Are my brother and his family coming to visit this weekend?

•Does the strawberry place have berries still this week?

•Do I have time to make jam if they do?

•If cats only sweat perspire through their paw pads why does Gracie get all sticky and smelly when she's outside on a hot day?

•What is it about Vitamin E that takes the pain out of a burn?

•Could it be a placebo reaction because I've had Vitamin E put on burns since I was a little kid?

•Do I need to think about that right now, or do I need to get back to work?

Silly question...it's Monday...back to work!!