Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Check Your Privilege

Having grown up in a Catholic family Irish on one side the concept of "Who do you think you are" and a robust sense of the starving children in China I may have escaped the sense of my privilege but not the fact of it. If you did not like what happened in Ferguson but think it will not happen to you because it's strictly a Black thing you need to check your privilege.

Another thing you should do is read Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States. Thoughtfully. When you step out to demonstrate against Wall Street, Income Inequality, Personhood, or whatever White People's Issue mobilizes you you may find that the tear gas is aimed at you. Unless you are of the 1% Ferguson is your town, Ferguson's civil rights are your civil rights.

So. If you are not already voting at every opportunity, start now. If you have something to say, say it now. Don't let your silence be taken for consent. If your elected representatives do not act in the interest and with the will of the people they serve vote them out. When the next batch proves no better vote them out too. 90% of the American people want gun control, want Medicare to be able to negotiate prescription drug prices, want to see banksters go to prison for tanking the economy and letting us pay for it, want the minimum wage to be a living wage.

And for something completely different:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I am early with my Thanksgiving thoughts, but most likely if I wait until the right time the thoughts will have run out of my head and I will end up posting some dopey platitude and running off in embarrassment.

The list of what I am grateful for gets longer every year if counted individually: that I am still driving, knitting, able to kayak and cycle for hours, able to walk for miles, able to read, cook, talk, go where I please. They are all the same thing, really. I am able. No catastrophic illness has found me, no accident robbed me of my abilities. At 65 I am a little slower but still able, and the better for the years of learning how to do things in ways that get the most done with the least amount of effort.

My mother and my siblings, my nieces and nephews are all still living, except for a baby brother gone in infancy who I can hardly remember. We are in various stages of health, but all still enjoying life. My children and grandchildren are all well. All have homes and enough to eat. We have enjoyed lives which might be difficult to our eyes but in comparison with much of the world are luxurious beyond imagination.

I am living in my own home with a wife who treats me like a queen, with two dogs, a car of my own, and space for as much gardening as I choose to do. I live in a beautiful place within 15 minutes drive of the beach, and 90 minutes from a world class city. I have enough money to afford hobbies,  the time to pursue them and friends to join in the fun.

The things I miss or wish for are fewer. I have lost some dear friends among my in-laws and there are friends around the country who I may not see for many years. My ability to travel is not infinite. The Internet keeps them in my life. I need no material thing, and there are very few things I desire that I do not have. My life is good and I am thankful.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A "Musical" Interlude

I ran across this odd Chinese music video. I don't know if I can recommend it, but it certainly has a completely new take on chickens! Yes, I still nurse a little chicken obsession although I have pretty much decided not to keep any at my house.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Work Holiday

One of my friends recently took a job that not only paid better than the previous position, but also included paid holidays. For her first paid holiday she was moving, but for her second paid holiday we went out to do something completely separate from work and more fun than staying at home. It was a sort of celebration.

Rather than settle on one thing we drove down Cape and went to a yarn store, out to lunch, for a walk on a beach, and a stroll through a cemetery.

We went to Adventures in Knitting in Harwich. I had been to their previous location years ago, but they had moved to larger quarters since and I had never gotten around to visiting there. I remembered the store as being rather tight - small rooms jammed to the rafters with yarn and basically no windows at all. The new quarters are light filled and spacious with  beautiful yarn spread out to advantage. There is a generous selection of books and lots of patterns featured near the yarns suggested to make them up. I got a few skeins of bargain yarn and one of self striping sock yarn. I keep some self striping in my stash at all times for easy knitting and have nearly run out. A couple of small skeins of Debbie Bliss merino will become mitts for gifts at some point in the future. Never mind that I just bought a couple of skeins of Encore DK at Sage the day before for the exact same purpose.

Civil War Veteran
On we went to the Hot Stove Saloon for lunch. Good pub food and pizza. Not a great selection of vegetarian dishes, but no surprises there. We drove down to the Bank Street Beach for a walk. Unfortunately there had recently been a mass crab moult and there were unbelievable quantities of crab shells. Bizarre, to say the very least. We finished up our tour of Harwich with a visit to one of the town cemeteries, taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Since it was Veterans' Day nothing could be more appropriate than a cemetery visit.

Then back home by way of Trader Joe's - no trip through Hyannis is possible without a stop in at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I was looking for nontoxic cleaning products, but ended up with a bag of pistachios instead. I did get my cleaning supplies the next day, but now have no idea where I put them. :(

Friday, November 07, 2014

Minor Housekeeping

I've taken a few minutes for some minor blog housekeeping on the sidebar. Apparently my Twitter Feed had dropped off of its own accord, and I have got a better route to my Pinterest Boards. Nothing else has changed for now, and I am still here causing a ruckus. For now I am leaving the blogroll intact. You should be aware that Whipup is a blog being carried on after the death of the original blogger. Kathreen Ricketson and her husband were both killed in a horrible accident while traveling with their children. In the aftermath some of Kathreen's friends have been chipping in with posts, keeping her blog alive. There is now a new blogger in residence there, asked to take over by Kathreen's brother. Life goes on, and although many long time bloggers have given up the fight, Whipup is still alive.

I was distressed, as you may imagine, by Tuesday's election results. Apparently around the country ballot questions with essentially progressive goals like minimum wage increases and marijuana legalization did very well, while Democratic candidates did very poorly. Clearly Democrats have been unable or unwilling to tie their names to popular (and populist) causes. I will be looking into ways to be active in the Democratic Party in my area even though, or maybe even because, responses to my Facebook posts from my right wing friends have made it clear that information alone is an ineffective way to effect change.

I'm deep into the holiday crafting, with many things finished and many still in progress. My holiday gift spreadsheet is the only sign some days that progress is being made. Less blogging, more knitting? I find other people's knitting projects on Ravelry and Pinterest so much more interesting than some of my own some days. My own projects are either rather demanding and therefore to be avoided at all cost or too simple and boring and therefore to be avoided at all cost. I am barricaded into my knitting chair by two large knitting bags on one side and a stack of books and tools on the other. Back to work I go!

Pictures today are all from  the Provincetown Harbor area, taken in September of  last year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Childhood Obsessions

We adults like to think that we are above childhood pursuits and ways of thinking, but I think that instead of outgrowing those things we just reclassify those things we loved in our minds as grown up things and just classify the things we didn't like so much as childish.

Until I was in second grade we lived upstairs from my paternal grandparents. Our apartment had two bedrooms and I had two siblings. Having us always underfoot probably drove my mother to distraction, but I learned to find time to myself by tucking myself into a corner with a book or playing in the basement where a large selection of old Reader's Digests provided unlimited entertainment.  I was an early reader and picked up anything with words in a row. Grandma had a piano and the sheet music in the piano bench as endlessly absorbing. Her active social schedule left me plenty of time to poke through her cupboards and closets with impunity. Once I even ate the pie she had set aside for her bridge club. I was a dreadfully honest child and left her a note in case there was any doubt who had done the evil deed.

While we lived there I had my first lessons in making things - sewing cards, and then embroidery. Dresser scarves were still common and we embellished ours and our pillowcases with embroidery. My mother embroidered a beautiful luncheon set of tablecloth and napkins that I still remember with pleasure.

I had my first lessons in cooking in that kitchen, learning the basics of heating up cann
ed soup and making simple dishes in the electric frying pan without burning myself. That electric frying pan served us well for many years.

I learned to ride a bicycle there, practicing on the neighbor girls new bike. I did not have one of my own yet, but the neighbor was generous enough to let me learn. We had a scooter and a selection of trikes for our own use that lived in the basement.

Both of my grandfathers were gardeners and I had my first lessons in gardening from my dad's father. The sound of baseball on the radio in the garden still brings me back to those days. I loved being outside prowling around that big yard and around the neighborhood. Most of the lots on that part of the block were very deep and featured big veggie gardens with compost heaps, fruit tress, old orchards and little wooded areas. One neighbor even had a goat.

Time has passed and my life has taken a lot of turns, but the things I loved as a child are still the things that I love and the hobbies I still enjoy. I am still dreadfully honest and tend to say what I think much more often than is socially acceptable. Sorry Mom!

 I'm pulling random pictures from my archives (a fancy word for "on my computer"). I take a lot of pictures and since I am posting frequently I feel free to feature some nice ones that I think I may not have posted before even though they have nothing to do with the post.Click on them to make them bigger; if you want to see more follow the link to my Flickr gallery. And a random entertainment from the Tonight Show.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How You Know You Are in the Right Place

Nickerson Park
Because of my knitting groups I have met a lot of different people who are living on the Cape. Some are "Cape Codders", born and raised here. There are some of what I call "Summer People", snowbirds who don't stay here for the winter. Then there are some people who are here by accident, mainly military spouses, mostly Coast Guard. The accidentals are generally year round residents for a few years. I am always surprised how many of them do not like living on Cape Cod.

I guess there are a lot of things not to like, and I do grouse about a lot of them. The summers bring a boatload of tourists who outnumber the residents four or five to one in July and August. Cape access comes in the form of two smallish bridges that back up something awful and clog the roads.  If you need to go off Cape and come back you have to time your trips across the bridge for times of slightly reduced traffic. There are few main roads to get around on, so the summer traffic sends the residents to the back roads and a trip to Falmouth must be structured so you never have to turn left.

Even though we are within fairly comfortable driving distance of Boston Cape life, especially in winter, is fairly rural. The sidewalks roll up at 6:00. The Cape is not cosmopolitan - ethnic restaurants other than Italian are thin on the ground. Movies do not play for long here; see it right away if you plan to see it at all! Major retailers are a small part of the economy, so you may have to make more stops to locate oddball items. Gasoline and most other things are a little more expensive on this side of the bridge too.

Income inequality is very noticeable here. Many of the Summer People are extremely wealthy, and many more others are poor. Lots of jobs are seasonal and winters are hard for many. Drugs and homelessness are  major issues. Professional jobs here are few and most ambitious young people have to leave the Cape for their careers.

Sandwich Harbor
For me, many of the drawbacks are positive things. Being able to go out to the beach for an hour any time I like is wonderful.  From the day after Labor Day to the end of June the beautiful beaches are nearly empty and used only by locals. Locals go out in any weather to enjoy the beaches and peaceful conservation lands. When natural beauty is so readily available it takes the place of many more expensive pursuits. The marine climate that many find unpleasant is very good for gardening and the sandy soil while nutrient hungry is not difficult to work. The light on the Cape is like nowhere else, as many painters have discovered. When the weather is nasty it is so dreary, but when the weather is fine it is like nowhere else.

I like the quiet, and since I am fortunate enough to be able to go to Town (Boston) whenever I want I don't feel trapped by the rural atmosphere. Since I grew up in small town Ohio near Cleveland I am accustomed to living in a quiet place with access to city life. For a middle aged lady who can't run very fast I like the (possibly illusory) feeling of safety in a quieter place.

I am posting a lot this week as an experiment. Sometimes I feel like unless something exciting has happened I do not have enough to justify a weekly post. The stakes seem lower for (nearly) daily posts. If nothing thrilling happens today a boring post will do until something amazing happens. I might feel OK about a rambling or speculative post with more dog pictures. I might ramble on about ongoing knitting projects. We'll see if that holds true. I am not sure if more frequent posts will result in more or less traffic - my family is in any event used to my rambling ways and tunes me out or not according to the content. I don't know how long the experiment will continue.