Friday, October 24, 2008

Chocolate Wool For Comfort

Outside of these walls, in the news, I find myself so dismayed and frustrated I want to scream. It's not that the economic crisis is a surprise, the unexpected consequences of greed and corruption. I thought it was plain enough to see coming. I think the frustration comes from being really angry and disheartened and feeling abused by what were supposed to be fundamental American values and principles of economy. The question has been raised... are we, Generation X, angry? "Angry" doesn't even come close. Baby Boomers, and the Greatest Generation have bankrupted their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the same legislatures, bankers, lenders, CEOs and politicians that arrogantly saddled us with our bleak future are still at the helm and ensuring themselves excessive benefits at our expense. Do you really believe it's a coincidence that we are inundated with the live simple mantra, just when the light of day is beginning to shine on the ruins of our society? I like living within my means and growing veggies, by choice, but I feel ill and ominous misgivings when the government and media spout their green slogans and perpetuate a notion that we can buy and shop our way into a better economy by consuming the right kind of cr@p. John Mc Cain said he wants to legislate protection for housing prices so that home values do not fall... WTF? We are in trouble because they lied about the value of homes and stocks and material junk, and now we have to pay for those illusions, and further more we need to uphold the lies... print money, erase debts, hand billions of dollars over to the same SOBs who stole it from us in the first place....

Did I say that out loud?
Yeah, so I have issues.
And just when I think I want to give up hit something eat steak, chocolate cake and popcorn balls I turn to my yarn and start making something. Anything.

It's welfare for the rich. Do you realize that? The whole bailout and mortgage forgiveness is socialism for the elite. On the surface it seems like a nice thing to rescue people from their burdens, from the huge debt they were "dealt." But what about the greater percentage of citizens that own homes, that are making their payments? Is it "nice" to saddle them with the bill for other people's errors, mistakes, reckless spending? What happens to the renters and savers who have waited for the natural rise and fall of prices in the housing market? Protecting inflated prices does not help the poor... it ensures that housing prices remain ridiculously out of touch with reality. I believe that nothing our government is doing to bandage the problem is going to work. How much longer can people lose jobs, work for stagnant salaries, pay higher costs for staples and still be able to pay for overpriced homes?


Where's my yarn basket?
Who wants a comfy scarf for Christmas?
Is this green hat cute or goofy?
Maria wants to send it to her cousin Dominic.

It's a luxury... self pity, reading articles and browsing the Internet, roasting pumpkin seeds and staying up 'til 2a.m. crocheting chocolate brown wool in to a comforting scarf. It's a luxury and a lifeline. I need something to help me keep from completely unraveling.

How are you coping?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The More Things Change... Or Do They?

William, 14, Alex, Max and Geoff, October 2005... Disneyland

Sometimes I look back and see where we've been. I pick a year and read the archives from this week in 2002 or 2003 or '04, '05, '06, '07. This time I chose October 18-22, 2005. Regrettably, I see that not much has changed. Since then we moved again, but not to our own place. Geoff was in Hawaii again. He did look for a place for us, like he did 3 years ago, but mostly he was there to say a final farewell to a place we had held dear. Happily, the things that cheer and sustain me have not changed... except that they have grown... the children are as enthused and kind, as wonderful to be with as ever. Geoff is still intent on making our lives full and safe. I did wish for 3 hens, and I think we have hens now... is that progress? I'm not so sure.

Alex, 11 years old, upstairs in the TreeHouse

One big improvement is that the boys have bedrooms now. No more bunk bed in the kitchen/dining room/living room. It was cozy. Truthfully, I would be happy to return to smaller quarters if the space were a space all our own. Our zest for pumpkins... pie, bread, cake, roasted seeds, decorations, carving... that has not changed a bit. We still love it.

Maria, 11 months old, at the Wild Animal Park... oh, and Me, 38

We still love exploring in our community and making road trips north and east and south, and as far west as we can get. For all my longing and disappointments about housing, I cannot complain about our adventures. We have been many places and taken full advantage of our homeschool flexibility. I can see missing that, if we ever get tied up in a mortgage and house repairs. I relish the chance to complain about something new.

Max, 7, and Alex with baby Maria

I wonder what they will remember... what they will carry with them, what they will discard.

Remember last spring, when I moved all of the sewing things in to the garage? Alex and I have shared a section of the garage all summer. Surrounded by stacks of boxes, tools and treasures, he and I played and worked at our hobbies. Alex with robots, circuit boards and wires, and Maria and me with fabrics, pens, papers, chalk and thread. It's been a nice arrangement, but this week I am making a whole new mess arrangement. Alex needs more room, and we need to make better use of the odd square footage at the top of the stairs. The house is big, but there are a lot of useless spaces... we do not need a dining room or formal sitting room, or a foyer with pillars, or a landing. Now the landing is a sewing room, or it's becoming a sewing room, and soon the extra space in the garage will accommodate garage kinds of activities, like building robots, making toasters, designing rockets etc... I hope everyone will enjoy the new possibilities.

Alex's entertainment for Maria, October 2005

Our bed is green now. We still share our room with Maria, or does she share her room with us? I still love that quilt... not one that I made.

And now it is time to get William and Alex from school. It's 2008 again, and time to move forward.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Hatched

The children are well, healthy, etc. Geoff is working, but keeping a relatively philosophical and calm approach to crunch mode. The chickens have not even pretended to be hens. No eggs. The cats destroyed yet another throw pillow... note to self: do not bother with area rugs, decorative pillows or "fine" furniture. Steve, the parakeet, enjoyed last night's "Nature" episode: "Parrots in the Land of Oz." He discovered why parrots, like himself, may be Australia's toughest survivors.

As for me, well, I am still afflicted, with my yarn disorder. I've added dish cloths to my repertoire. Those are fun to make... small and quick and a fun way to play with different stitches. This morning I took Max and Maria to the park, and while they played I paid bills organized my purse filed my nails diffused a bomb wrote to my representative started an owl. Remember, in 2004, I played with some blue yarn I picked up in Oregon and I fashioned a cute little bunny for baby Maria? Well, I decided to try and create a new critter and an owl seemed like a good candidate for my simple design and method.

Basically, I just do a stitch that goes around and around, increasing slowly until I create a small pouch. After a bit I decide to decrease, so that I create a neck, and then I increase to create a head. I don't count stitches. I just kind of eye ball it, until it looks like something.

I chose to turn this inside out for the nubby appearance, rather than keep this chain stitched look. I should have been more careful and patient with the ears... counting could have helped. They came out a bit wonky, which is alright, because I was too anxious to see it finished to worry about physiological accuracy. What I did was just continue to decrease the stitches, then make little flaps for feather tufts... those cute points that look like ears. Maria helped me fill the owl with fluff, before I sealed it closed with one last row of single crochet stitches.

I made 2 wings by making 12 single stitches, for each wing, and then going around to make it a suitable size. I attached them using the same yarn. The beak is wool felt, with a blanket stitch. By this time I was totally smitten with my feathered friend. Alex helped me decide on wood button eyes, which I set on black wool. I think I could have made the circles larger to help the eyes pop a bit more... ah, but that's nitpicking, because all in all I think he's dear.

He's a H00T!

It was fun watching Maria become a believer. She kept checking on me and asking me what I was making, and it was a long time before she had much confidence in my plan. We both agreed it could be a cat or a pig, and of course it's about the same thing I did to make her bunny. Don't worry, I won't quit my day job... no, wait! This is my day job! I am so totally lucky.